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To Bangkok Conference programme

65th IFLA Council and General

Bangkok, Thailand,
August 20 - August 28, 1999

Code Number: 131-103-E
Division Number: VI
Professional Group: Library Buildings and Equipment
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 103
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No

To create an atmosphere of Books for the readers, Readers among the books On the new building of the Zhejiang Provincial Library

Cheng Xiaolan
Lin Zuzao

Zhejiang Provincial Library
Hangzhou, China


This paper introduces the situation about Zheijiang Provincial Library as a large comprehensive Public Library at the provincial level, especially the features of the new building opening to the public since the end of 1998, and also describes the advantages of computer integrated system to serve the readers.


Zhejiang Provincial Library is located in the city of Hangzhou, a paradise on earth city and the capital of Zhejiang Province. Due to its long history, rich collection, modern equipment and beautiful environment Zhejiang Provincial Library is an ideal place for obtaining knowledge and information. The mission of this library is to serve the readers, and the whole society, and to play an important role in China's modernization.

The Zhejiang Provincial Library was founded in 1900. It was not a private property as other libraries at that time, but was established by the Hangzhou city government to serve the public. In 1903, the Bibliotheca Major of Hangzhou was extended as Bibliotheca Major of Zhejiang merged with the Zhejiang Official Book Bureau (a provincial publishing house) and was renamed as Zhejiang Provincial Library. It was the first library established at provincial level in China. Now, this library has one main library and three branch libraries. The present new main library is located at Shuguang Road, Hangzhou city and was opened to public by the end of 1998. The Daxue Road Branch Library in Hangzhou was opened in 1931 and is for the Zhejiang Provincial local material collections now. The Gushang Road Branch Library was established in 1912 at Gushang Island in West Lake in Hangzhou, and is for rare books and ancient materials now. The Jiaye Branch Library was built in 1924, which is located in Nanxun Township (about 120 km northwest from Hangzhou), is for rare books and woodprinting blocks (about 130.000 pieces).

At the present, the Zhejiang Provincial Library has a total collection of about 4 million volumes of books, including 835.000 volumes of ancient books and more than 300.000 volumes of foreign language books. The most valuable collection of the library is the Complete set of the Si Ku Quan Shu (about 36.000 volumes of rare books), which was compiled during the reign of Qianlong Emperor (1736-1794 AD) in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD).

The Floor planning and the Structure of the new library

The new central library building is situated on the south of Shuguang Road. It is close to the beautiful West Lake and is surrounded by the districts of the government administration, education, culture, sports, scientific research, historical site and beautiful scenic spot in the city of Hangzhou. To follow the regulations of Hangzhou's Urban Planning Bureau, and to match this area's scenic view, the library has the structure of a sunken courtyard, presenting a multilevel space formed by the underground area, ground area and the slope of Baoshi Hill which rises as the back ground of the building. The whole building is in perfect harmony with its all sides surrounding environment.

The new building of the Zhejiang Provincial Library covers an area of 4.19 hectares with a total floor space of about 33.000 square meters. It countains many reading areas with altogether 1.670 seats, a 700 square meters exhibition hall, and a 516-seats lecture hall. The future collection of the library is estimated to reach 4.5 millions volumes of books.

The floor planning of this new building is three rectangles forming a triangle. The east and southeast part is for the reading area. The west part includes the lecture hall, exhibition hall, multimedia service and academic information exchanges areas. The south part holds closed stacks, technical service and administration area, and the central part is for the entrance hall, catalogue, on-line searching and circulation areas. Most of the building is of 2-3 floors and part of it has 4 floors. The building increases its height gradually from the north to the south, following the the ascent of the Baoshi Hill.

The foundation of the building uses reinforced concrete and the original natural stone base. The design of the whole building structure adopts the so-called three-unity module, that is same level of floor, same distance between columns and the same floor loading. The construction of the new library building also follows the principles of utility, flexibility, efficiency, economy, safety and artistic view and the whole building also leaves space for the future development of the library.

The overall arrangements of the various departments of the library such as reference, electronic publication reading area, open stacks for reading and circulation, closed stacks, catalogue, multimedia service, microfilms, academic exchanges and administration is in accordance with the function of the different departments. The distribution of these departments in the library building also considers the flexibility and compensation of their respective functions.

As a modern, comprehensive and large-scale public institute, the Zhejiang Provincial Library provides its users with a comfortable environment that combines science, knowledge and arts and services, which that meet the requirement of the crossing new century. The library building is bright and well ventilated, and the artistic decoration in which provides a relaxed, quiet and natural atmosphere.

When the readers enter into the library lobby, everyone can enjoy the natural light from a long strip of light beet (2M X 73.8M) over head.This natural light comes directly into the lobby, from which the reader can walk into different parts of the library. The building is divided into several large rooms (around 600 m2) used for the various functions of the library, especially in the reading area, and there is almost no barrier between these rooms. Some of the rooms are separated only by glass walls. Readers can see clearly what is in the next room, and they can freely walk into other rooms. In this way, we can creating an atmosphere of Books for readers and readers among the books .

Implementation of the PDS (Premises Distribution System) in order to create a good condition for library modernization.

Through hard investigation and long term research (5 years ago), we decided to use the PDS in order to create a good condition for library modernization. We made the whole system into six subsystems. That is, outlet subsystem, equipment subsystem (mainly in the computer center area), vertical (backbone) subsystem, management subsystem, horizontal subsystem and working area subsystem. In order to build the information highway for our readers and the librarian, we use the cable of V non-maskable pair and fiber-optic and set 734 points for terminals. All these points distribute in different parts in this new library building, but emphasized on : computer network center, catalogue center and circulation counter, electronic publication reading center, multi-media center, technical service department, fire-fighting and security management, and office automation system. One thing we should point out that every column in the reading area and technical service area, we set one information point in order to be used for the future.

The new building is equipped with modern library automation system with software INNOPAC which integrates the public and technical services of the library through about more workstations in the whole building. The network server of the library enables our readers both in and out of the premises to access the digitized resources on the web, including bibliographic database of library collections, daily news and some other retrieval information. The electronic computer management system is of advanced level, high reliability, unrestrictivness, safety and extensibility. This system has the online catalogue as its center, combining acquisition, cataloguing and circulation all into one unity. It satisfies the needs of both the readers and the librarians at the same time. Il shows the great advantage of the modern equipment and facilities, and it offers readers various functions of cultural and education service.

Combining the traditional and modern service for our readers.

Zhejiang Provincial Library aims at the creation of a modern library which uses the modern equipment, computer service and intelligent management. The library serves its readers in different aspects . The automatic circulation system offers easy access to the readers. In most of the reading rooms, the readers can obtain search books on the open shelves or read at the desk at leisure. Most of the books are available to the public, and the open stacks give the readers an impression, and create an atmosphere of books for the readers, readers among the books . The readers can really feel they are in the ocean of books. Reference librarians always try to fulfill the needs of the readers who encounter difficulties when searching information. The Information and Reference Center also helps readers retrieve information when the readers cannot come to the library personally. The library also conducts various activities to help the readers gain further understanding of books and the society. The Multi-media service Department offers the reader a colorful presentation of the world. The electronic publication reading room provides the readers fast access to various information. Interlibrary Loan system is linked to other important libraries in the country. All these library resources and facilities serve the needs of the readers and send knowledge and information to people everywhere.

The Zhejiang Provincial Library pays special attention to the needs of disabled people who come to use the library. The are passageways, toilets and reading seats specially designed for the disabled reader, and they are all marked with attracted signs.

The library has central air-conditioning. A special air-conditioning system is installed in rare book storage area, microfilm room, computer center, multi-media service center, etc. The whole building is equipped with fire and disaster prevention systems. There is also a theft detection system. To protect against leaking and moisture, the book storage area, rare book storage, microfilm room and computer rooms are all protected by double walls and insulating layers. The outside walls also have an additional layer on insulating material to provide further protection.

The new building of the Zhejiang Provincial Library is the largest project of cultural construction in Zhejiang Province. The library initiates open service 365 days a year. It has attracted many visitors from home and abroad. The new library receives an average of nearly 3.000 readers a day and over 5.000 readers a day on weekends since it opened to the public. It will continue to serve the public and to meet the information needs of a new age and give intellectual support to Zhejiang Provinces' development.

About the authors

M. Lin Zuzao, research librarian, has been workink in Zhejiang Provincial Library since 1971. He his a Standing Committee member of RARE section in IFLA and Standing Committee member of the Society for Zhejiang Provincial Library Science, etc. He has an abundance of published papers on library buildings and equipment. He also was in charge of the new building of the Zhejiang Provincial Library of more than 33.600m2 with modernization of library services and PDS of cabling system for computer networking.

Ms. Cheng Xiaolan, associate professor, BA, library science, Wuhan University of China, now is deputy director of Zhejiang Provincial Library, vice chairman of Zhejiang Provincial Society for Library Science, member of China Association of library science, the chief editor of Library Science Research and Work in Zhejiang Provincial Library and the Society. She has published more than 40 papers in home and abroad on library science, library management, library networking. She was also in charge on the Library automated system with INNOPAC in the new building of the provincial library.


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