First Public Libraries Law Enforced in China

By Mei Manuel, January 06, 2018 23:01 PM


China makes a big statement on January 1st as the country has just enacted its very first law on public libraries.

The new law enacted requires all governments - from county level or higher - to set up public libraries that are free to use by the public and come with reading services or spaces.

These libraries are expected to hold public lectures, promote reading, hold training and exhibitions and other cultural service programs.

The library law was drafted in April and reviewed under an executive meeting of the State Council. It was then voted after a vote on the National People's Congress Standing Committee on November 4.

The public library law follows an earlier law which focuses on public cultural service guarantees nationwide.

Aside from opening new libraries and putting up events to promote culture, the library law also details the legal framework of the guarantee law which ensures the function of public libraries would be able to deliver cultural services to the people. Main branch libraries would also be established to ensure all public libraries are connected.

Rural areas would also be taken into account with the new law, opening libraries in these areas. Digital technology would also be integrated into the library system in order to help improve the library experience.

The law also ensures cooperation between public libraries and those located in universities and research organizations to ensure the boks offered are up to date.

Book disposal is also being discussed in the new law, as well as local rules for these public libraries.

The role of the National Library of China had also been highlighted in the new law, citing that it should also support and guide public library systems and improve the archives of the country.

According to the recent statistics done in 2016 by the National Bureau of Statistics, at least 3,200 public libraries are scattered in China and receives 647 million visitors.

The National Library of China is also preparing to create an international library alliance between countries included in the Belt and Road Initiative.

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