|Description||The Shanghai Library is a large, modern and multi-functional public library, covering a floor space of 83,000 square meters. The library consists of a main building and a support building. The main building consists of two towers and an annex. The two towers are 11 stories or 55.6 meters and 24 stories or 106 meters high, respectively. The library boasts a collection of 13.2 million volumes of books. There are altogether 3,036 seats in the reading rooms and in addition, there is an 842-seat conference hall, a 500-square-meter exhibition hall, and a 300-plus-seat seminar room equipped with mobile multi-channel simultaneous interpretation facilities.
Brief History （from http://www.library.sh.cn/new-eng/)
Shanghai is a metropolitan city with well-developed business and industry, and it is also a city that holds the leading place in China's arts, sciences and education. The city has a relatively short history, but its first library dated back as early as 150 years ago.
In 1947, shortly after Shanghai opened its door to the world as a port city, the Library of the Xu Jiahui Catholic Church was founded. With a collection of 200,000 volumes in both Chinese and Western languages, it was the first library established in Shanghai that had certain features of a modern library. Shanghai East Library, the first library run by Chinese opened in 1925.
In 1950, the Shanghai Cultural Heritage Managing Committee began a campaign to collect books and immediately received donations from many scholars and celebrities. In about one year, this collection amounted to more than 200,000 volumes, of which some were rare books. The committee also started to buy books from abroad.
In 1952, by the time when Shanghai Library was founded, it had a collection of more than 700,000 volumes. In 1953, the Shanghai Cultural Bureau began to take charge of Shanghai Library, and in 1958, the Cultural Bureau decided to merge The Library of Historical Documents, The Shanghai Sciences and Technology Library, and the Shanghai Newspaper and Periodical Library into Shanghai Library. Shanghai Library has hence become the second largest comprehensive public library in China, on account of its collection, its services and the librarians' professional skills.
When first established, Shanghai Library was located in the former "Racecourse Building", which had an area of 30,000 m2. There were altogether 150 library staff, serving the needs of the general readers as well as the industry, business and government organizations. The library also provided the Union Catalog of Chinese Books and interlibrary loan services, offering professional training to smaller libraries, and held various activities such as exhibitions, book discussions, seminars, etc. The library published many reference books, too. As a result, Shanghai Library has greatly helped the development of library profession in China and the scientific research in this field.
With the rapidly increasing number of publications, the library acquisitions exceeded the capacity of the building in the 70s, which affected the shelving, and hence, the circulation. In 1983, the 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 the new library construction. With this great concern of the municipal government, the new building laid its first foundation stone on September 1, 1993.
In 1995, Shanghai Library and Institute of Scientific & Technical Information of Shanghai (ISTIS) merged together to serve the general public, the academia and the government with its combined facilities and resources. The new building opened to the public in the next year, and soon became a landmark of the city. 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.
According to the statistics of early 2004, Shanghai Library boasts a collection of 49.98 million items, more than 160 million of which are in circulation. The library is open to the public throughout the year, and each day an average 8,000 readers visit the library.
Shanghai Library is also the headquarter of Shanghai Central Libraries, a citywide library network in which the members are coordinating each other in acquisition, circulation, resource building and sharing, and staff training. This system consists of altogether 34 district and county public libraries, university libraries and special libraries (Y 2004 figure). Meanwhile, by carrying out inter-library loans with OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), the British Library and the Library of Congress of America, Shanghai Library is actively engaged itself in overseas cooperation, making the resources sharing across the boundaries of industries, regions and countries possible.
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".|