Books are only the tip of the information iceberg now that so much information is available online. Public libraries in Shanghai have developed rapidly in the past few decades and play an important community role. Check out some of the city’s most popular and well-designed libraries in town.
Shanghai Pudong Library
Covering 60,000 square meters of floor space, it is one of the largest libraries in China. The library’s blueprint shows it was designed to look like a huge sixsided bookcase divided into eight floors — two underground and six above the ground.
In addition to a reference section with 2 million books, the library also contains digital books, an exhibition space, and an area for lectures and other functions. The goal is to be a “next-generation”library in China.
From the outside, it looks like an abstract stone floatingon a green slope that connects to a park.
Shanghai Qingpu Public Library
The library lies in the middle of an manmade Xiayang Lake in Qingpu District. Covering an area of 8,000 square meters, it is modern with a contemporary design, cutting-edge facilities and decent environment.
There are six reading rooms where people can choose from 330,000 books and 800 periodicals. The rooftop garden is nice for sitting back and enjoying the beautiful plants around. There is also a reading room for kids. Equipped with computers, children can read digital books.
All reading rooms are spacious with comfortable sofas and every reading lamp uses energy saving bulbs.
Shanghai Jiading Public Library
Named “Best Public Library in the World” by Interior Design magazine, it combines various local characteristics that reflect the district’s way of life. Boasting a book collection of more than 200,000, the library has two floors.
With wooden ceilings, high walls, and clean reading desks, it is equipped with an audio-visual hall, a station for borrowing multimedia materials, a 24-hour self-service section, a room with reading equipment for the visually impaired and a 500-seat theater. There is also a parent-child reading area with a forest theme.
An ID card or passport and a 100 yuan deposit are necessary to get a library card.
Thames Town in Songjiang has been created to look like an English town. After exploring the place, rest those weary legs at Zhongshuge. The bookstore’s décor is a mix of Chinese and Western elements. Nice quotes in different languages are on a glass wall covering the facade.
The two-story building has a central court surrounded by bookshelves. The pillar in the middle is covered with mirrors to reflect the theme of “reading in heaven.” Cushioned seats are set between bookshelves for people to sit and read or get lost in their own thoughts. There is a meeting room on the second floor.
Qian Xuesen Library
Located on the Xuhui campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, it was inaugurated on December 11, 2011 to mark the 100th birthday of Qian Xuesen, the school’s alumnus, a famous rocket scientist and the father of China's space program.
The library is a tribute to Qian’s career spent in the Gobi desert developing and testing atomic bombs and satellite-carrying rockets. It houses more than 76,000 manuscripts and books written by Qian. The library was named a Patriotism Education Base by the Shanghai government last year.