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Brief History
Shanghai is a metropolis with well-developed business and industry, and also holds a leading place in China's arts, sciences and education. The city has a relatively short history, but its first library dates back as early as 150 years ago.

In 1847, shortly after Shanghai opened its door to the world as a port city, the Library of the Xu Jiahui Jesuit mission was founded. With a collection of 200,000 volumes in both Chinese and Western languages, it became an early modern library established in Shanghai. Shanghai East Library, the first library run by Chinese, opened in 1925.

In 1950, the Shanghai Cultural Heritage Managing Committee launched a campaign to collect books and many scholars and celebrities were thus mobilized, making large donations. In about one year, the collection grew to more than 200,000 volumes, of which some were rare books. Meanwhile, the committee started to buy books from abroad.

On July 22nd 1952, the first large municipal public library with a collection of more than 700,000 volumes was founded at 325, Nan Jing Xi Lu (Nanjing Road West), and was inscribed by then Shanghai Mayor Mr. Chen Yi. In October 1958 Shanghai Library merged with the Shanghai Municipal Library of Science and Technology, the Shanghai Municipal Library of Historical Documents and the Shanghai Newspaper Library, making itself the second largest comprehensive public library in China, in terms of collection, services and professional expertise.

When originally established, Shanghai Library was located in the former "Racecourse Building", which had a floor space of 30,000 square meters. There were altogether 150 library employees, serving the needs of general readers as well as enterprises and government departments. The library also provided the Union Catalog of Chinese Books and interlibrary loan services, offered professional training to smaller libraries, organized various activities such as exhibitions, book discussions and seminars and published its own reference books at the same time.

With the rapidly increasing number of publications, the library acquisitions exceeded the capacity of the building in the 1970s, which affected the shelving, and hence, the circulation. In 1983, Shanghai Cultural Bureau began to make research and proposals for the construction of a new library building. In 1990, then Shanghai Mayor Zhu Rongji urged the leaders of Shanghai Library to focus their attention on the planning of new library construction. With this great concern of the municipal government, the new building laid its first foundation stone on September 1st, 1993.

In October 1995, Shanghai Library merged with the Institute of Scientific and Technological Information of Shanghai (ISTIS), resulting in an advanced, comprehensive public library, the first ever in the country that combines public library services with SciTech and industry information research functions. The new building opened to the public a year later, and soon became a landmark of the city.

The new building of Shanghai Library opened in 1996. It was the country's first library facilitated with comprehensive information technology and also the first to implement modern overseas library automation management software.

Currently, the library computer management information system consists of two platforms, the one-card-through information system platform of the Shanghai Central Library and the Shanghai information service platform. With a single digital library resources and service system, the library has established five cluster systems and ten application systems, including public service cluster, digital resources cluster and electronic resources cluster, portal website group, internal office automation and public service network, and security system cluster. It is equipped with more than 160 servers, including 8 mini-servers, more than 130 network devices of various types, and 19 storage clusters. The available online storage capacity exceeds 360TB, and the offline storage capacity is about 227TB. There are also more than 1,600 computers and over 3,100 network nodes.

The “one-card-through” information system of the Shanghai Central Library has achieved the full coverage of the three-tier network of city, district and county and neighborhood libraries, linking the city's nearly 250 libraries and more than 280 service stations. The amount of books available for circulation with the "one-card-through" system is over 9.3 million, and the annual circulation is more than 36.76 million. There are 686,000 valid reader cards. The Shanghai Central Library has become a public library book circulation service system with the largest number of clusters and service capacity. In recent years, RFID technology has been applied in the central library. The Main Library and a number of branches of the Shanghai Library have launched self-service registration and 24-hour automatic library services.

The Shanghai information service platform oriented towards enterprises, government organizations and scientific research institutions has conducted the digitization of resources related to competitive intelligence and industrial research, established a public intelligence service knowledge base with independent intellectual property rights and highlighting intelligence navigation functions, and formed the public intelligence service capabilities integrating "science and technology, industry and culture". The annual addition of original intelligence research articles has exceeded 1,000 articles, and the amount of annual visits is more than 10 million.

In the area of digital library construction, the library has established its own metadata storage of digital historical documents and digital object data integration, providing readers with rare books, manuscripts, genealogy resources, Sheng Xuanhuai’s Archives, books and journals published in the Republic period and North China Daily News. There are a total of 3.79 million metadata records and 45.9 million full-text pages. It has become one of the largest self-built digital repositories in the country, with 232TB of all kinds of self-built digital resources.

The Shanghai Library has also launched "My Library”, a personalized service system, providing interfaces in Chinese, English, and Japanese, as well as services to mobile devices and cell-phones. By the end of 2012, the mobile APP client installations reached nearly 20,000. The system has adopted data mining technology, adding such brand new application functions as book loan history search and personalized book recommendations. Reader can trace their book loan history since 2008. The number of readers using "My Library" has reached 300,000. The monthly amount of al kinds of service SMS sent out is over 86,000, and the average amount of E-mails sent out in a month reaches 160,000, with an increase of 35% over last year. The application function of the "My Library” system and the breadth of coverage has a leading position in the domestic libraries.

By the end of 2011, the Shanghai Library launched the “Public Digital Reading Promotion Program”, forming a cross-platform digital reading experience, covering such mobile terminals as PCs, iPad /Android tablets and mobile phones. The system has now incorporated 300,000 e-books, 10,000 completed online books, 1,000 serial online novels, 8,000 electronic journals, and 60 electronic newspapers. In February 2009, the Shanghai Library became the first library in the country to loan e-book readers. So far, it has established a mobile reading device experience service and circulation system, with 2,000 e-book readers and tablet PCs in dozens of varieties. The e-book loan service in launched at the same time at several branches of the Shanghai Central Library, including Jiading District, Putuo District, Changning District, Xuhui District and Qingpu District libraries, further expanding the digital reading service coverage.

The construction of such support and management information systems as office automation system, public service network system and information security management system has not only enhanced the management level of the Shanghai Library, but also ensured the normal operation of the library's information security and information systems, and maintained the excellent results of opening 365 days in a year with trouble-free operation since the opening of the new building.

Visiting address: 1555, Huai Hai Zhong Lu (Central Huai Hai Road), 200031, Shanghai
Tel.: 021-64455555; Fax: 021-64455001

*Shanghai Library can be reached by taking bus line 26, 911, 945, 926, 920, 830, 96, 15 and 548 to Gao'an Station or Shanghai Library Station; by taking metro line No. 1 to Hengshan Rd. Station; or by taking line No. 10 to Shanghai Library Station.
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