In 1996 the new Shanghai
Library moved to its present premises, 1555 Huai Hai Zhong Lu (Huaihai
Road Middle), and officially opened to the public on December 20th,
1996. The new location covers 3.1 hectares of land, with a floor
space of 83,000 square meters. It styles itself in the shape of
pyramids with escalating cubic blocks, which symbolizes the solid
foundation of cultural heritage and the endless efforts by human
being in pursuit of knowledge.
Equipped with user-friendly facilities, including reading rooms,
research carrels, exhibition halls, auditorium, seminar rooms,
audio-visual rooms, the new library creates a spacious, quiet and
comfortable environment for reading and learning.
Shanghai Library cherishes the motto of “Reader First”, and keeps an
open-minded service philosophy. Anyone over 14 years old, either
local residents or domestic and overseas visitors, are entitled to
registration as members of the library. The library is open everyday
throughout the year and hosts 9 million visitors every year.
Shanghai Library is one of the ten largest libraries in the world in
terms of its floor space as well as its collection: it is home to
extensive holdings of altogether 50.95 million items, ranging from
the latest technical reports, patent and standard files, to the
ancient artifacts; from paper copy, sound and video recordings, to
The historical documents constitute the special treasures of the
library, including 100,000 manuscripts and letters, around 5400
local records dated before 1949, 18,000 titles of genealogical files
(342 family names), over 8,000 copies of imperial test papers,
150,000 pieces of epigraphs and rubbings, and 1.7 million old books
(25,000 titles amounting to 170,000 volumes are rare editions).
Among these precious collections, 531 items are ranked as
first-grade National Cultural Antiquities and 470 items are of the
second-grade. There are more than 300 titles of block-printed
editions prior to the Song Dynasty, 224 titles of ancient
hand-written sutra before the Tang Dynasty and the Five Dynasties
Period, and the earliest item dates back to the year 518 AD (“The
Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra”).
More than 50,000 pieces of letters, diaries, inscriptions, pictures
and rare documents from a galaxy of famous Chinese people since late
Qing Dynasty, including Ba Jin, Xiao Qian, and Fu Lei, are housed in
the “China Cultural Celebrities Manuscripts Library”. And many of
them are being digitized.
Shanghai library is equipped with an advanced computerized
automation system: the nodes of the Local Area Network reach all
corners of the building, and the integrated management software
governs the main library processes and services, including
acquisition, cataloging, circulation and book searching. Giga
resources of the library and the city, home and abroad, are
accessible via the iPAC cataloguing system. A cybernated
book-carrier system allows delivery of resources kept in the closed
stacks from the 6th to the 23rd floors to readers at the counter on
the first floor in just 5 to 20 minutes.
Shanghai Library is also the headquarter of Shanghai Central
Libraries, a citywide library network whose members are coordinating
with each other in acquisition, circulation, resource building and
sharing, and staff training. This system consists of altogether 37
district and county public libraries, university libraries and
special libraries. Service points are established in fast succession
to cover city’s communities and neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, by carrying out inter-library loans with 65 overseas
libraries and information institutions, such as OCLC (Online
Computer Library Center), the British Library and the Library of
Congress of America, Shanghai Library is actively engaged in
international cooperation, making resource-sharing possible across
boundaries of sectors, regions and countries.
In addition to the conventional functions, the library is also
providing in-depth research services. Far beyond a home of books,
and not just a modern information center, Shanghai Library is aiming
to become a portal of knowledge navigation. A group of experienced
librarians has been teamed up to provide 24/7 online reference
services, namely, “Cooperative Reference Online Service (CORS)”. The
research arm of Shanghai Library, acting as a think tank, conducts
research and consultation for clients of governments, institutions
and business to contribute to the social, economic and cultural
development of the city.
The “Window of Shanghai”, an integral part of “China Book
International” Project initiated by the Information Office of the
State Council, has donated more than 10,000 books to foreign
libraries and related institutes in 22 countries and regions, aiming
to promote Chinese history, culture and civilizations.
Diverse social events such as serial public lectures and exhibitions
are organized to enrich citizens’ cultural life and to satifisfy the
information and cultural needs of society.
With Digital Library project making steady progress, users can enjoy
an increasing number of digital and online resources including
Shanghai Pictures, Shanghai Local Records, Rare Books, Local Opera
Music, and Documentary films of Popular Science, Chinese Newspapers
and Journals, Chinese Books between 1911 and 1949, Library Journal
and SciTech Proceedings.
Shanghai Library aims to deliver the knowledge that helps stimulate
the wisdom and ignite the aspiration, through its excellent services
and sincere cooperation. Shanghai Library is now trying its best
towards the objective of becoming a "World-class City Library".