The government of Chaoyang district of Beijing opened eight self-service libraries by the end of last year, the largest group of such public libraries in the capital city.
The libraries, which are mainly located in Chaoyang’s commercial and cultural zones, are linked to Beijing’s public library service system. Readers can borrow books from and read books in these libraries for free. They are able to return their borrowed books to any of the eight libraries, as well as to other public libraries in the district.
The libraries cover a combined area of more than 40,000 square meters and provide a total of 30,000 books, as well as simple reading areas.
One of them is in the Beijing Children’s Hospital East Branch, the first public library to open in a hospital in China. Another, at Zuojiazhuang, has special facilities for visually impaired people.
Li Kai, curator of the Chaoyang Library, said the self-service facilities allow people to take part in running them and make it easier to borrow and return books.
“The city is lacking public reading spaces,” he said. “The purpose of building these libraries is not only to inspire but also to gather people.”
Li said Chaoyang district will build more of these libraries and stock books according to readers’ needs.