Visiting a library in China…

Checking out, originally uploaded by Helen K.

I know that you are all wondering if we visited a library while in China. Well…. yes we did. If you just want to wander around library in Shanghai, like we do in Australia, well you can’t.

We managed to visit the Shanghai Library which is a very large building with a number of floors, in the french concession quarter. To visit any of the rooms, you really need to have a “Reader’s card”. However, to be frank I really didn’t want to attempt to even explain to the people at the application counter, all I wanted to do was wander around and take a couple of photos, and we were short of time, so I will admit that we didn’t even attempt participating in the red tape process.

However, after we put our bags through the security check and into a locker, we did manage to get into the chinese books section , which also lead into the library shop. We ignored the “insert reader’s card” sign and two staff sitting at the entry (people on the door had no english – one for us!). There were lots of books in Chinese. I’m sure they were good, but the covers were unappealing and had very few pictures.

Each section had its own check out area, which was staffed by a lot of people. There were more than you can see in the photo.

The Library shop, was not your ordinary library shop. It sold nothing to do with libraries, but books about China (in chinese of course), plates, paintings, books, traditional CD’s, and tourist books about China. Surprisingly Kym bought one, as the map was better than the one we were using.

The lack of language is certainly a barrier when on holidays in China and Japan when searching for libraries!

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