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(English version by Chen Wuji)
The public library service in Shanghai has made tremendous achievements,especially in networking development since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The article comprehensively and objectively reviews the history of the founding and the development of the three-level (municipal,district or county and street or town) public library and children's library systems, looks forwa rd to its future and describes the tortuous problems in the process of networking development. The article also introduces the formation and the current situation of the centre of the network, Shanghai Library the second largest library in China, and presents the architecture and setup of the new building of the library.
Because of the social turbulences, frequent wars as well as economic depressions, the cause of public libraries was considerably backward before 1949. As an international metropolis, Shanghai had only a municipal public library at that time. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949, fundamental changes have been taking place for the cause of public libraries in Shang hai under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and people's regimes established. Great developments have been achieved within aspects such as facilities, professional ranks, management, education and theory, etc. Great successes have been scored in either the providing of social education or services for politics, economy, scientific research and culture. Especially, great achievemen ts have been resulted for the development of public libraries' networking and ultimately, the establishment of the three-level network of public libraries in Shanghai region. Facilities of public libraries which were left-off after liberation could definitely no more adapt the needs for Shanghai's development after the founding of new China, further more such situation would be more intensified as the carrying out of socialist constructions and the developments relating to socioeconomic, research and educational causes. Therefore, the people's government of Shanghai while recovering, rebuilding and developing Shanghai's economy, adopted vigorous measures to develope the facilities of public libraries in Shanghai region. From the preparation of Shanghai Library at municipal level in ea rly 50s up to the forming of the network of public libraries at municipal, district or county as well as street or town levels in 1982, during thirty-three years', period, people's governments at different levels and the vast library workers of Shanghai region have made unremitting efforts for the establishment of the three-level network of public libraries. 1. The Establishment and Development of the Three-Level Network of Public Libraries for Adult.
After being catalogued and registered by the Library Section, registries of these books taken over or collected were specially sent to mayor Chen Yi who was extremely busy with his daily routines for examining and approving. In order to provide worthily referential books and journals which were necessary for Shanghai's economic constructions and scientific researches, although economic blockade w as suffered and financial problems were in tough conditions then, the city government still allocated special funds to invite 15 scientists and scholars then in Shanghai and formed a committee of book selection which was managed by the municipal Management Committee of Cultural Affairs in charge of the selecting and subscribing of books and journals in foreign languages. Shanghai Race Club locat ed at 325, Nanjing Road (W) was finally rented as the library housing. Besides, more than hundred school graduates were hired from the society to undertake library vocational work after training. Thus, a new type of a public library at municipal level was born on July 22, 1952 with 5,000 square metres in area, 700,000 volumes of stock holdings and 150 staff members. The municipal Management Co mmittee of Cultural Affairs continually took over plentiful orientalistic books and various kinds of journals and newspapers of the remote past from the Library of Royal Asiatic Society (North China Branch) which was known as the best one for its collection of orientalism, as well as a number of libraries' stock holdings from the Pacific International Society etc., making the stock holdings of Sh anghai Library be further supplied. In 1955, books from the Storage Building of Xu Jia Hui Catholic Church were totally merged into Shanghai Library. This storage building collected more than twenty thousand titles of Chinese ancient books which amounted about 120,000 volumes. Among them, there were many books in respect of those of agricultural science, nearly 3000 gazetteers and famous rubbi ngs (from stone inscriptions), pictures, newspapers and magazines from different provinces, and also, bound volumes of the earliest newspapers in China such as Shanghai Xin Bao, Hui Bao and North China Herald (English edition) and so on. Especially, Shen Bao was almost preserved completely from its first day edition to its end. Besides, there were more than 80,000 volumes of foreign ancient clas sics, including Latin, French and German rare books at ancient times and, all kinds of books, famous encyclopedias, religious classics published since the century. All these greatly enriched the stock holdings of Shanghai Library.
During the early time of the founding of the people's republic, although the finance of the municipal government was in tough condition, it still allocated funds to assist private libraries. Feeling the serious attention paid by the Chinese Communist Party and the people's government towards the librarianship, many creators of private libraries donated their libaries to the state one after anothe r. From 1952 to the early time of 1956, the Cultural Bureau under the municipal people's government took over or accepted 7 private libraries in succession, and merged or rebuilt them respectively into three professional public libraries, namely, the historical documentation, scicnce and technology and periodical ones in accordance with their characteristics.In October 1958, the Cultural Bureau o f the municipal people's government decided to merged the three professional public libraries mentioned above into Shangahi Library. Thus, a large, comprehensive public library at municipal level was preliminarily shaped with its complete categories in stock holdings, 20,000 square metres in area of library housing, more than 4 million volumes of book holdings and 304 staff members. After the T hird Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Shanghai municipal government while vitalizing the city's economy, scientific research and culture, developed vigorously the public library by paying serious attention to "material key elements" of the development of librarianship which focused on library housing, stock holdings, personnel and funds etc., along wit h the implementation and the continuous deepening of the reform and open-up policies. In addition to an increase inereasing the funds of librarianship annually, 10,000 square metres' stack-room was newly built during the period from late 70s to early 80s and ,4000 square metres' stack-room used for turnover was extended from originally the eastern bleachers of the Race Court as well.
After forty-four years' efforts Shanghai Library has been developed and become the second largest library in China with 36,740 square metres in area, 8,350,000 volumes of stock holdings and nearly 700 staff members. Among 1,300,000 volumes of the ancient Chinese book, there are 150,000 volumes of rare book which many are unique copies across the country. The 400,000 volumes of Chinese paper bi nding book which go back from around the Revolution of 1911 to 1949 are dominated with literature works and Shanghai local documentations. Some of the revolutionary documents in early times occupy the first place with a variety of categories throughout the country. Shanghai Library also collects musical and dramatic records or tapes at all times and from all countries, as well as microfilms, mic rofiches and rubbings from metal or stone inscriptions. There are over 20,000 Chinese newspapers and journals published before 1949; more than 13,000 foreign periodicals within fields of science and technology; over 19,000 Chinese newspapers and journals and more than 17,900 foreign newspapers and journals both currently issued in its stock holdings. The library has compiled more than 1,000 dif ferent bibliographies, abstracts and indexes over the years. So far, it consists of Dept. of Ancient Chinese Books, Dept. of Modern Documentations, Dept. of Chinese Books' Acquisition and Cataloguing, Dept. of Foreign Books' Acquisition and Cataloguing, Dept. Newspapers and Journals, Dept. of Professional Reading, Dept. of General Reading, Audiovisual Library, Dept. of Reproduction and the Print ing Factory, etc. Further more, the Shanghai-San Francisco Friendship Library, Wen Da Information Company and its affiliated information service agencies like Seminar (workshop) Centre, Data Processing Centre, all provide excellent services to its readers or clients. The highly tasted Wen Da Bookstore and the popularized Displaying and Sales Hall of Books Newly Published in China opens 84 hours a week, providing comprehensive services for readers while receiving more than 2,500 readers a day.
Protecting ancient books and other special collections appropriately, while conducting scientific researches for their exploitations and utilizations; carrying out international exchange for publications as well as foreign-related cultural exchange programmes. Besides, under the leadership progleadership of the Cultural Bureau, it may take concerted actions with cultural bureaus at district or c ounty level to establish and develop the network of public libraries in Shanghai region. At present, Shanghai Library is the centre of the three-level network of public libraries for adult in the region. Under the leadership of the Cultural Bureau, its Dept. of Professional Guidance takes its responsibility to coordinate all the vocational operations of libraries at district or county level. Als o, it is the member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the depository library of the United Nations' publications and one of the centres for book collections within the whole nation. Nowadays, it is marching towards the centre for documentary collection, documentary searching, interlibrary coordination and cooperation, as well as for the research of library and information science in Shanghai region. The development of public libraries in Shanghai must catch up with the development of such an international metropolis along with the deepening of the reform and open-up policies. The municipal government of Shanghai decided to build a new modern and multi-functional public library with large scale in Shanghai. In 1983 the Planning Commission under the State Council approved to build a new Shanghai Library with 80,000 square metres in area. In 1990, thanked to the cordial concern of the then mayor Zhu Rongji and other municipal leading cadres, the project of the new library was formally implemented. On march 25, 1993 the foundation stone laying ceremony was held. The whole project is going to be completed in 1996.
The new Shanghai Library is a large modern and comprehensive public library with multi-functional roles. The whole architecture consists of the main building and the subordinate one. The main building consists of two towering highrises and some side-rooms connected with them. The heights of the two highrises are respectively 55.6M and 106M with 11 floors and 24 floors above the ground. The ma in building is divided into A,B,C and D four sections. Section A is going to be reading rooms and stack rooms for departments of modern books and journals, ancient Chinese books, microform materials etc. and the administrative department of the library; Section B is going to be the lobby and the multi-functional hall; Section C is going to be reading rooms for both new Chinese and foreign languag e books, general stack rooms, computer rooms and acqusition and cataloguing departments for books, newspapers and journals etc.; Section D is for rooms of equipment and facilities, an exhibition hall, a room for academic activities, rooms for audiovisual materials and their compiling and recording, a lectural hall and stack rooms of open shelves, etc.. The subordinate building is for life facili ties. There is a main entrance to the new library on Huai Hai Road(M). There is also an entrance leading to the lectural hall, the exhibition hall and rooms for audiovisual materials along Gao An Road. The new library is surrounded with afforestation, flower terraces and sculptures. In the southern area of the architecture there is a big garden decorated with a pool, rockeries, flowers, plants and meadow and so on. The allocation and overall arrangement of the new library is reasonable. The division of noisy area and silent area is quite clear and definite. The momentum of the whole architecture is fully magnificent while the environment is peaceful and fine. There are 38 reading rooms for different uses, 24 reference reading rooms, 8 research studios with audiovisual materials and altogether 3,036 seats in the new library with totally amounted 13,200,000 volumes of book holdings for the stack capacity. Among them:23 reading rooms are for both new Chinese and foreign language books with 800,000 volumes of them open shelves; 11 reading rooms are for ancient Chinese books and those of modern history with 10,000 volumes that are open shelves; one is open shelves' lending sta ck with a capacity of 300,000 volumes of Chinese book; 4 are audiovisual rooms of different kinds. Besides, there are a lectural hall with 842 seats, a multi-functional hall with 300 seats, an exhibition hall with 500 square metres in area and, a room for academic activities with 320 seats which installed the movable simultaneous translation equipment with multiple channels while can provide ser vices for activities of international academic exchange programs. The new library is going to be equipped with various kinds of advanced equipments and facilities in order to improve its means of operations, raise the level of scientific management and working efficiency, so as to give full play to the multi-functional roles of a modern library. These equipments and facilities mainly are: Compu ter Systems. An integrated library management system including sub-systems of acquisition, cataloguing, circulation, periodical and enquiries for the catalogue of stock holdings; a storage and searching system for the processing of secondary documentation and the full-text technology; a storage and searching system for diagrams or characters; a multi-media system; a system for interlibrary joint cataloguing and inter-library loan as well as an executive management system, etc.
In early stage, there were totally over 1,645,800 volumes of stock holdings, 193 staff members in those 14 district libraries with annual acquisition fees of 244,800 yuan.
Similarly, there were altogehter over 52,500 volumes of stock holdings and 79 staff members in those 11 county libraries with annual acquisition fees of 61,140 yuan. Since at that time, there was no financial ability to build new library buildings and most of these libraries had to be settled down in residential areas with worse conditions. But anyway, public libraries at district or county leve l were established. They provided services mainly for the Party and govrnment authorities as well as enterprises or institutions of their localities, meanwhile, met with necessities of learning scientific and cultural knowledge for the masses.
After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Party, the second high tide of learning scientific and cultural knowledge was formed in Shanghai since the founding of new China. Large numbers of readers at middle age and young who were eager to improve their cultural accomplishments poured into libraries at district or county level. Meanwhile, the problem of lacking space fo r libraries at district or county level became conspicuous than ever before due to the fierce increase of both readers and book holdings causing by the unprecedented boom of publishing brought about by the cultural rehabilitation. On the bases of economic recoveries taking place gradually, governments at municipal and district or county levels successively collected 9,631,000 yuan to newly build library buildings in 6 districts and 10 counties, while extend 2 district library housings with totally 32,880 square metres in areas. At the same time, cultural authorities at municipal and district or county levels enhanced the fundamentally vocational operations of these libraries completely: launched an extensive campaign for checking out and readjusting stock holdings within libraries at d istrict or county level; changed the origional Classification Scheme for Medium and Small Sized Libraries into Classification System for Chinese Libraries; amplified their official catalogues and public catalogues; established various operational rules or regulations, clearing out responsibilities for each staff member and, formulated Working Regulations of Libraries at District or County Level in Shanghai; expanded circulation serviecs and conducted trainings for professional staff members. In order to facilitate readers for borrowing books, governments at municipal and district or county levels paid special attentions to the densely covered allocation of the network at the secondary level. Breaking up with the old situation of one administrative area, one library, therefore, a new f ramework was formed with one administrative area, several libraries by increasing service extension according to readers scattered.
Up to 1988, there were 18 district libraries and 19 county libraries (including branches) in Shanghai region. With the deepening of reform and open-up policies, Shanghai's economic, scientific research and cultural boom, as well as the rise of its citizens' cultural qualities, a group of library buildings at district or county level and libraries of residential areas have been newly built up, du ring the period from 1988 to 1995. After the division of the readjustment of administrative areas at district or county level for several years, currently, there are 20 district libraries and libraries of residential areas, 6 county libraries, altogether, with 80,239 square metres in areas; 890 staff members, 6,700,000 volumes of stock holdings, 16,839 titles of newspapers and journals subscribe d, 9,196 reading seats, about 239,000 borrower's ID cards isscced, 6,545,498 readers received annually and with the annual book circulation capacity at 16,311,400 volumes.
The tasks of libraries at district or county level are mainly the popularization and deepening of social education, the overall raise of the scientific and cultural knowledge of citizens, and the full exploitation of documentary resources so as to provide services for local economy, research and culture. Libraries in different districts or counties all carry out various and flexible services with their own characteristics which have been well received by numerous citizens and readers. Under the leadership of governments at their localities, libraries at district or county level also establish departments of professional guidance which not only cooperate cultural bureaus at district or county level to provide professional guidances, but also in charge of cooperations and coordinations am ong public libraries at street or town level of their localities.
In June, 1958, a street library with social assistance was founded at local Dongxincun and became the first one of its kind in Shanghai. Later, within a period of two months, 14 same libraries were established relying on supports from respective community neighbourhoods. The party and government leaders paid special attentions and propped up such newly emerging things. The Cultural Bureau of t he municipal government held an on-the-spot meeting in Putuo District, spreading the managing experience of the civil library of Dongxincun Street towards the whole city. After the meeting, 836 such kind of civil librarics emerged in the city area. In October, the Civil Library of Maqiao Peole's Commune in Shanghai County was born, and 61 civil libraries at commnune (later changed as town) lev el were set up one after another in suburban areas of Shanghai region. But half a year later,some civil libraries at street or lane level could not maintain their regular operations any more because of lacking regular funds sources, unstable situation of staff members and unreasonable choices of library location, etc. Facing such difficult situation, the Publicity Dept. of the Party Committee o f Shanghai municipality and the Culural Bureau advocated to carry out readjustment and consolidation works among civil libraries at street or lane level in each district in 1959, while closed 234 libraries and consolidated 602 ones in the readjustment acts. It was stipulated that the main sources of civil libraries at street or lane level should be payable from readers in accordance with the pri nciple of ˇ°everybody reads books while everybody buys booksˇ±, meanwhile the government concerned provided certain financial assistance. Also, it was determined such kind of libraries should receive dual-leadership both from cultural management authorities of district government and their street administrative bodies. In order to strengthen and do the works of civil libraries well, the Cultura l Bureau of the municipal government held working meetings related in successive years and solved problems emerged just in time. In 1962, Regulations for Vocational Operations of Libraries at Street or Lane Level in Shanghai was formulated. Since then, it made the cause of libraries at street level have rules to follow and led it onto the correct path. With the continuous efforts of the governm ents at municipal, district or county, as well as street or commune levels, civil libraries at street or commune level had taken their roots in both the urban and suburban areas of Shanghai at last. They took collective enterprises and institutions, mass organizations, residents and, especially youngsters at their localities as service objects, and played an important role which could not be rep laced by libraries at municipal and district levels for popularizing knowledge of science and culture among labouring people, enriching cultural lives of local residents, cultivating youngsters to be useful and, publicizing general and specific policies made by the party and government. In 1962, Meifangli Library of Putuo District was chosen as a national model unit and its representatives attend ed a national conference of outstanding workers within cultrual and educational fields which was held in Beijing. In 1965, 443 civil libraries at street or lane level with social assistance (including 96 street libraries and 347 lane libraries) were set up in Shanghai with totally 1,040,000 volumes of stock holdings and 536 staff members, while receiving over 100,000 readers daily. But such phas e had to be suspended until after 1974 because the beginning of the Great Cultural Revolution.
In 1979, cultural bureaus at municipal and district levels conducted a complete readjustment towards civil libraries at street or lane level in collaboration with street administrative bodies of their localities. It solved problems such as rational distributions, funds sources, professional ranks and leadership enhancement, etc. Based on the readjustment, each district library also helped stree t libraries of their own do their fundamental operations well timely: such as jointly checking out stock holdings;unifying the use of Classification Scheme of Medium and Small Sized Libraries; comprehensive training for professional staff members and so on. Along with the deepening of economic reform in the countryside and the cultural demands consequently brought about, village book rooms (origi nally at commune level) were recovered as well. In 1984, the Cultural Bureau of the municipal government decided to establish civil libraries with social assistance at town level in city's suburban areas. In recent years such libraries at grassroots level are making further developments fully along with the development of the national economic situation and the increasing desires for knowledge of science and culture among residents in both metropolitan and suburban areas of the city. Through years of troublesome knitting by governments at municipal, district or county, as well as street or town levels, meshes meaning libraries at street or town level have been spread every corner of Shanghai region, forming a situation of stars scattered all over the sky. Currently, there are 370 libr aries (or book rooms) at street or town level with totally more than 28,000 square metres in areas, 900 staff members, 3,800,000 volumes of stock holdings, 32,800 titles of newspapers and journals subscribed, and 9,900 reading seats, receiving 7,630,000 readers annually while with 14,033,000 volumes of circulation capacity. These hundreds of libraries perform actively in every corner of both met ropolitan and suburban areas of the city Shanghai, and have made important contributions for publicizing policies put forward by the Party and government, popularizing and raising knowledge of science and culture of local residents, enriching cultural lives of the elderly people, promoting family reading activities and, raising civilization of the whole society etc., meanwhile, they have played a role which can not be replaced by libraries at municipal and district or county levels.2. The Preliminary Establishment of the Three-Level Network of Public Libraries for Children .
Beginning in May 1950, the Temporary Joint Committee for Relief in Shanghai allocated funds monthly to assist this library in order to bring this only juvenile library into full play. With fixed funds source, the juvenile library started devloping its vocational works actively within the city range. In September 1952, the board of the juvenile library decided to contribute the library to the go vernment. The Cultural Bureau of the municipal government accepted it in November, and since then, changed its name as Shanghai Children's Library. The Cultural Bureau highly valued the development of the library, extended two times of its area, increased its personnel up to 31 staff members the early next year and, comprehensivly enhanced itsly fundamental construction of professional work fro m the beginning of 1954. Through years' efforts by the end of 50s, the Shanghai Children's Library had become the largest and most influential one in China from originally a lane-typed library with small size. There wered 200,000 volumes of book holdings, over 5,600 titles of excellent children's reading materials collected both from domestic and 30 foreign countries including many original edi tions. There were 3 reading rooms with a capacity of 750 readers. Therefore, it preliminarily qualified as a children's library at municipal level. In July 1957, a special meeting on working experience exchange among several provinces and cities was held in Shanghai which mainly summarized working experiences of Shanghai Children's Library in order to promote works of the national children's li braries to develop further. The same year, Shanghai Children's Library became the only library of its kind in our country which opened to the international community stipulated by the state Cultural Ministry. The library was merged into Shanghai Library in November 1960 and, became one of its affiliated department. But the whole vocational works and services of it still remained independently as a library at municipal level towards outside. After 1978, the education for childeren was re-valued by the society, the Cultural Bureau of the city government made specific efforts to further enhance the works of Shanghai Children's Library by enriching its stock holdings with large quantities, adjusting its cadres step by step, as well as expanding its service scope.
The speciality of the works for children's libraries was gradually recognized by people along with their rapid developments in Shanghai and relative theories came forward. Early in 1987, Shanghai Children's Library recovered its independently organizational system formally. It undertook all the professional guidances and organizational works of reading activities among public children's librarie s (or book rooms) and those of its kind in the city of Shanghai. After the establishment of its central status in the network of Shanghai public children's libraries, it was also defined as the chief library of the Cooperative Committee of Public Children's Libraries in East China Region. At present, with 3,118 square metres in area, 215,880 volumes of stock holdings, 410 titles of newspapers an d magazines subscribed and 513 reading seats, the organizational structure of the library consists of Circulation Dept., Reading Dept., Acquisition and Cataloguing Dept., Activities' Centre for Children Before School Age, Foreign Language Reading Room, Audiovisual room, Computer Room, Dept. of Professional Guidance and Room for Professional Studies, etc.. There divided into two parts with middle school and primary school levels respectively for Circulation Dept. and Reading Dept., mainly providing services for readers from children before school age to second grade students of junior middle school as well as for teachers and juvenile workers. Nowadays Shanghai Children's Library establishes 18 service windows, receives 124,130 readers annually with 685,160 volumes of book circulated.
In order to put into effect the spirit of the symposium, give full play to the function of street libraries for providing services towards children and promote the development of children's libraries at street level, the Cultural Bureau of the municipal government held an on-the-spot meeting relating to the work of city's street libraries in Nanshi District in June 1981. The meeting asked each d ifferent district and county to learn from leading cadres of Nanshi District at different levels as well as library workers for their valuation of the works of children's libraries, while at the same time, their spirits and methods of serving children by every possible means. Meanwhile, an outlay was granted to Nanshi District to prop up the development of public libraries and children's librar ies at street level. A leading cadre of the Financial Bureau of the municipal government also delivered a speech at the meeting to support the development of public libraries and children's libraries at street level financially, making authorities concerned and all the library workers who attended the meeting very excited. After the meeting, various districts and counties vigorously went into a ctions, they overcame various difficulties and set up over 80 children's libraries at street or town level. In 1982, the Cultural Bureau of the municipal government also held a citing conference which especially cited advanced groups and individuals of the city's children's libraries in an attempt to promote the swift developments for the cause of children's library in Shanghai region, spread adv anced experiences and urge the network of children's libraries to be established as soon as possible in every district or county. Also, it was stipulated that governments at the corresponding levels would subsidize funds for the operations of each street library and children's library at street level.
By the end of 1982, network of children's libraries in Shanghai region was finally established. At present, children's libraries or their service extension have radiated to 74 streets and 62 towns within the city range while receiving 1,922,600 young readers annually with 3,247,200 volumes of book circulated and 1,404 times of reading guidances' activities conducted, which has greatly facilitated the library utilization for young readers of the city, enriched their extra curricular readings, while making libraries themselves the cradles for numerous children become useful. Up to now there are 557 public libraries in Shanghai region. The form of the three level network of public libraries makes the coverage of Shanghai public libraries and their service extension occupy a leading posit ion in the country. It not only indicates the development level of Shanghai public libraries, as well as its cultural prosperity and progressive civilization, but also provides experiences and patterns for the development of public library in the whole country.We believe that along with the further boom of Shanghai's economy and culture, and the widespreading information service business, the th ree-level network of public libraries in Shanghai will be further strengthened and the cause of it will be better developed than ever before.
2 Files of Shanghai Library
3 Statistical materials of Shanghai Children's Library.