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62nd IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 25-31, 1996

China's Primary and Secondary School Libraries:
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Jia Xiaobin, Du Yunxiang, Si Aiqin, Zhang Xiaoyan


This article has systematically reviewed the development history of China's primary and secondary school libraries since 1949, given a detailed introduction and analysis of their present status quo of development, the new changes in particular since the reform and the opening up in 1978, and look into their future development.


1. The history of development

Primary and secondary school libraries (hereafter referred to as school library) are an indispensable component part of China's library service. The development of China's school libraries has roughly gone through six periods: remolding and reconstructing, an all-round construction, severe damage, recovery and adjustment, reforming and blazing a new path, and stable development.

1.1 Remolding and reconstructing (from 1949 through 1953)

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the people's government has successively taken over the primary and secondary school libraries across China left over by the Kuomintang government and carried out under the leadership of the Ministry of Education the scheme to remold and reconstruct them in a big way: setting up Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as the guiding thoug ht for running them; adjusting the proportion of the collection of books by adding a large number of revolutionary books and books on new knowledge and by getting rid of books of unreasonable reactionary contents; having changed rules and some

regulations and unscientific service measures; having reorganized the leading contingent and added new professional staff and established a number of new libraries across the country. Generally speaking, the libraries at that time were small in size with a limited collection of books and poor facilities. However, they had one thing in common: all of them had a full-time or part-time administrativ e staff who were full of enthusiasm. All of them began lending books and providing reading service within their power. Through years of efforts, the school libraries had completed in succession the remolding of the guiding thought and orientation of running libraries. They had embarked upon a new road of development and shaped up an elementary form of the school libraries of New China.

1.2 An all-round construction (from 1954 through 1965)

Since 1954, the school libraries, having completed a thorough remolding, had entered into a new period of an all-round construction. In order to promote the rapid development of the

libraries across the country, the relevant departments of the Central Government issued in succession the directives on strengthening the construction of libraries and drafted some concrete plans. For example, in July 1956, Mao Zedong put forward the slogan "March Towards Science!" Then the government convened a national conference on the library and passed <<A Report on Clearly D efining Library Policies and Tasks and Assisting with Great Effort Marching Towards Science>>. On September 6, 1957, the plenary secession of the State Council approved <<the National Co-ordination Plan for Books>>. In December 1957,The State Commission on Science and Technology and the Ministry of Culture formulated a draft on <<The 1963--1972 Development Plan for Science and Technology>> (the Book Section). The Ministry of Education issued exclusively <<A Directive on Guiding the Primary and Secondary School Students to Read Juvenile Books>>, requiring the schools to provide their students with more reading-rooms and to guide them to read more good books, etc. Under the guidance and promotion of the above mentioned policies and measures, the sc hool libraries in China developed greatly. Over half of the primary and secondary schools in big and medium-sized cities had set up libraries. Some of the primary and secondary schools in towns and villages and in national minority resident areas had also set up some new libraries. Their collection of books had increased by a great extent. They had attached importance to the basic vocational work of book classification and cataloging and persisted in lending books and providing service to the reading public. The authorities in charge across the country had paid attention to the training of the library staff. They had set up and opened a series of spare-time schools and training classes for the management of libraries to train the on-the-job staff and strengthen the professional staff. In addition, in some big and medium-sized cities, the public libraries had set up some cooperative networks of libraries including the school libraries. Through more than ten years' efforts, the number of the libraries and their book collections had increased by a large extent and the readers' work had been full of vitality.

1.3. Severe Damage ( From 1966 through 1976)

During 1966-1976, the so-called "Great Cultural Revolution" had greatly damaged the construction of China's school libraries. The great majority of them had been forced to close down. Library faculties had been damaged severely. Books, periodicals and other reading and reference materials had been stolen. Some were robbed. Others burned. Still others missing. The losses were great. The purchase of new books and their classification and cataloguing had virtually stopped. Many members of the professional staff were subject to labor reform and physical punishment or forced to leave their jobs. There was a chaotic administration. The working staff dared not insist on the penalty and compensation rules. There was no limit to the book-keeping period by the reader nor to the number o f books the reader could borrow. It is not uncommon that the reader borrowed the books without returning them. The training of the staff had completely stopped. The cadre continent had experienced serious damage. The decade of 1966-1976 saw the standstill and going backwards of the school libraries.

1.4. Recovery and Adjustment (From 1977 through 1979)

Upon the end of "the Great Cultural Revolution" in October 1976, China's school libraries began to straighten things out and correct the misconduct during this period. They had begun to adjust the professional staff and strengthen the leading staff, revise rules and regulations, check up on the collection of books and sort them out. Through an overall re-organization and re-formulation of rules and regulations, the school libraries had gradually returned to their normal track of services. During this period, the Central Government and the authorities in charge at the provincial level and below convened a series of meetings and drafted a lot of policies and measures favorable to the recovery of school libraries and their development. Through three years' adjustment and re-organ ization, China's school libraries had basically recovered and further developed to a certain extent. There appeared some new co-operative networks in a number of big and medium-sized cities, such as " the Co-operative Centre of the Secondary School Libraries" in Zhengzhou, "the Co-operative Networks of the Secondary School Libraries" in Hangzhou and Qingdao, "the Co-opera tive Group of the Secondary School Libraries" in Xiamen, etc.

set up an Administration under the Ministry of Culture for Library to administer uniformly the libraries all over the country. In May 1981, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League jointly held in Beijing

1.5. Reform and Blaze a New Path (From 1980 through 1992)

1980 through 1992 witnessed the period of great development of the school libraries in China, which shows itself as follows.

a. The authorities in charge at all levels formulated and implemented a series of new measures for the promotion of the development of the libraries.

In May 1980, the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China passed a resolution on <<The Report Outline on Library Work>>, having decided to set up an Administration under the Ministry of Culture for Library to administer uniformly the libraries all over the country. In May 1981, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League jointly held in Beijing a national forum on the juvenile library and passed << A Report on the National Forum on the Juvenile Library>>, urging every province, county and locality to strengthen the building of the school libraries, increase the number of reading-rooms and make exclusive budgets on books. In November 1982 , in "the Sixth Five-year Pl an", the state made concrete demand on strengthening the building of the libraries. In July 1985, the Ministry of Propaganda and the Ministry of Culture passed << A Report on Improving and Strengthening the Library Work>>. In January 1989, the State Educational Commission held a national conference on school libraries and set up a Preparatory Group for the National Association of the Primary and Secondary School Libraries. May 1991 saw the formal publication of <<the Classification System of Books in China's Libraries>> (The Version for Juvenile Libraries and School Libraries). August 1991 witnessed the promulgation of the statutory <<Regulations on School Libraries (Reading Rooms)>>, specifically defining the concrete problems concerning the buil ding of school libraries. After that, each province promulgated its provincial statute in accordance with its specific local conditions. Due to the scientific policy and the effective measures, China's school libraries had developed rapidly and made great achievements in every area.

b. The size of the library is enlarged. The conditions of the library, improved and the collections of books increased by a great extent.

During this period, the number of the school libraries in China further increased. In accordance with the State Educational Commission's sample investigation in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Changde, Changzhou, Hangzhou, Xuzhou, etc., 70% of the secondary schools had had libraries. Their average collection was 13,500 books. The average number of administrative staff was 2.5 persons. 40% of the pri mary schools had had libraries or reading-rooms. Their average collection was 3,100 books. The average number of administrative staff was 0.5 person. Take Beijing and Nanchang for example. During this period of twelve years, the total collection of books in 840 secondary school libraries in Beijing had increased by 70.4% and in 3375 primary school libraries, by 87.7%. The total collection in 37 s econdary school libraries in Nanchang had reached 530,000 books, increasing by 191% compared with those of 1979. The total area of library buildings had reached 4423 square metres, 2.5 times as many as those of 1979. The number of the administrative cadres was 91 persons, 2.1 times as that of 1979. The conditions for the library had been improved obviously. The same is generally true to other pro vinces and municipalities, such as Hunan, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Henan, Jiangxi, Tianjin, Shanghai, etc.

c. The vocational work of the libraries had been highly effective.

In this period of over ten years, the internal administration of the library, the infrastructure, the service measures and quality had improved to a certain extent. For example, work system had been formulated and improved. Collection of books and their catalogue adjusted and improved. Close shelves system turned to open shelves system. Service time lengthened, etc. The library had activel y assisted the school in teaching and learning, taken initiative to provide the teachers and students with teaching reference materials and organized the students to take part in outside class activities. Some libraries had offered courses on instructing the students to read, recommend a list of books to them and helped them to use the library to improve their ability in self-studying. The reader services had been full of vigor.

d. The co-operative network in an area had been developed rapidly.

During this period, the co-operative network among the school libraries in an area had been further developed. By the early 1990s, scores of co-operative networks have been established in succession among the school libraries in big and medium-sized cities in China, such as in Nanchang, Xuzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Xiamen, Zhengzhou, etc.

1.6. Stable Development (Since 1993)

Since 1993, China's school libraries have entered a new period of stable development. In accordance with the requirements of <<Regulations on the School Libraries (Reading Rooms)>>, each library has actively renewed its facilities and added its collection of books; improved its rules and regulations and administered scientifically; intensified the training of its professional staff a nd strengthened its cadres; improved the working style and service quality; standardized the basic work and promoted modernized construction; Strengthened the inter-library co-operation and realized the resource sharing. In a word, it has made many new achievements and progress and is marching towards regularization, standardization, co-operative networks and modernization.

2. The Status Quo

Through over forty years' development, China's school libraries have practically formulated a system with a preliminary scale. Most of the million and more primary and secondary schools of all types in China have established their own libraries or reading-rooms with full-time or part-time administrative staff,with a certain amount of book-purchasing fee, some basic equipment and facilities and a relatively complete set of rules and regulations. They have generally provided book-lending and book-reading services, and played a positive role in assisting the schools with their education, teaching, learning and research work. In economically better developed cities, towns and villages with better educational foundation, they have carried out a series of resources sharing activities, such as joint cataloguing, inter-library lending, co-operative purchasing, etc. They have classified, catalogued and shelved books in accordance with the uniform standards of the state and managed them scientifically. In addition to the lending services, some libraries of larger sizes have given after-class reading instructions, reference advice and secondary documents and done other information researc h work. A few key school libraries in each area have bought typewriters, Xerox machines, computers and audio-visual equipment and preliminarily realized the management with computers of books and reading and reference materials. The library normally pays great attention to the professional training and contiuning education of the staff. Mary places and areas have held in succession the training c lasses on the vocational knowledge of libraries. Through training, the majority of the staff have mastered the basic vocational knowledge and skill, and are competent in their work. Taken as a whole, the school libraries have embarked upon a road of scientific and stable development. However, China is a developing country. Each area is different from any other. The development of the school libr aries is unbalanced. There are great differences between areas. There is a general shortage of funds. The document providing ability is generally weak. The service media are generally backward. The overall service level is on the low side and not satisfactory to the needs of the readers. In the great majority of school libraries, there still exist many shortcomings in the leading system, administ rative methods, service measures, fund-supplying, collection development, basic vocational work and personnel education, selection, employment, training and continued education, which need solving with great efforts.

2.1 Achievements and characteristics

2.1.1 Most of China's primary and secondary schools have established libraries or reading-rooms.

Through more than forty years' development, all the primary and secondary schools in China that possess the conditions have established successively libraries or reading-rooms. Through the statistics this writer gathered on the data from such places as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Yiyang, Chengdu, Jiaozuo, Shenyang, Changde, Xuzhou, etc., it can be inferred that by 1995, about 75% of the secondar y schools and 49% of the primary schools in China have established libraries or reading-rooms. 90% of them have not only books, but also newspapers, and periodicals. The number of library administrative personnel ranges from 0.5 person (i.e. one part-time person) to seven persons. The average number is 1.5 persons. The average building area of the library is more than 100 square metres, some reac hing several thousand square metres with reading-rooms exclusively for the teachers or the students and with teachers' reference rooms. They have a collection of over 10,000 books. Take Number One Secondary School of Fuzhou for example. Its library occupies an area of 1000 square metres with a collection of 80,000 books. It has five reading-rooms for different purposes. The Secondary School attac hed to Beijing Normal University has a collection of 160,000 books, over 200 kinds of journals and magazines and 45 types of newspapers. It has five full-time administrative personnel who have all gone through training on the vocational knowledge of libraries. The library construction area of Number 45 Middle School of Tianjin Municipality reaches as many as 2600 square metres, etc.

2.1.2 The development to a certain degree of inter-library co-operative networks

Since the end of the 1980s, the co-operative networks of libraries in the schools have developed rapidly. In accordance with the data from all over China, the following provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities have established school library co-operative or coordinative organizations of one type or another. They are Hunan, Sichuan, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang, Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai. These organizations have been established mostly at municipal and county level, some at provincial level. Their establishment has vigorously pushed forward the development of the library cause of China's primary and secondary schools. The leading system of the co-operative and co-ordinative organization of China's school libraries. The scope and activities of the inter-library co-operation and co-ordination

2.1.3 Regularization and Standardization has already been initiated.

Ever since the 1980s, China's school libraries have been carrying out in succession a series of activities of reaching a set standard and of assessment and effectively promoting the standardized building of the library. Especially since the promulgation in 1991 of <<Regulations on School Libraries (Reading-Rooms)>> and the publication of << The Classification System of Books in China's Library>>(The Version for Juvenile Libraries and School Libraries), the regularized and standardized establishment of China's school libraries has entered into a new stage of development. <<Regulations on School Libraries (Reading-rooms)>> is a statutory document covering the standardized establishment of China's school libraries. <<The Classification System of B ooks in China's Libraries (The Version for Juvenile Libraries and School Libraries)>> is a standardized classification system for the schools libraries in China. With their promotion, the regularized and standardized establishment of the school libraries has developed rapidly. Up till now, 70% of the school libraries in China have reached the state standards and requirements in the construc tion of library buildings, the setup of equipment and facilities, fund-providing, collection of books, personnel training, etc. In the field of classification and indexing of documents, by the end of 1995, most of the school libraries in China have completed the application of <<The Classification System of Books in China's Libraries (The Version for Juvenile Libraries and School Librarie s)>>. Of them, the school libraries in the following provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, i.e., Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Liaoning, Shandong, Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin, have preliminarily realized the regular and standardized classification and cataloguing of books.

2.1.4 The training and the continuing education of the professional staff has practically become a rule.

The chief source of China's administrative staff of the school library comes from the teachers and the administrative personnel of the school. Many of them have received standardized education from normal colleges or universities. They have experiences in teaching and administration. However, they usually lack vocational knowledge of the library. So they have to receive training and continuing e ducation in this respect. The Chinese government has always attached importance to the vocational training and continued education of the administrative personnel of the school libraries. <<Regulations on School Libraries (Reading-Rooms)>> promulgated in August, 1991 stipulates definitely that the library workers and staff must have basic library know-how. The educational administrati ve departments at all levels must carry out and implement the vocational training program of the school library staff. The colleges for teachers' advanced studies of each province, autonomous region and municipality should take the leading role in their vocational training. With the promotion of the <<Regulations>>, the training and continuing education of the library staff in China h as developed rapidly and gradually become a rule and achieved great successes. So far the majority of the administrative staff of the libraries in the primary and secondary schools of cities and towns in China have attended vocational training of one kind or another. Take Jiangsu for example, by 1994, 99% of the administrative staff of the school libraries of the whole province have attended the vocational training once.

a. The chief types of vocational training of school libraries in China include the following:

b. The leading system of the training work includes the following:

In addition to strengthening the vocational training of on-the-job staff, the normal schools all over China have now generally opened courses on <<the Basic Knowledge of the Library>>, requiring students of all other specialties to generally master the vocational knowledge of the library and become "an expert in one thing and good at many" and engage themselves after gradu ation either in teaching in the schools or working in the libraries. This is a new trend in the training of school library staff in China.

2.1.5 New changes in China's school libraries since 1978.

a. The basic function of the library has been transformed from book-collecting to book-opening to the teachers and students. Its chief manifestation is to turn the close-shelves to the open-shelves and pay attention to reading instruction, reference advice and information research work and set up co-operative networks with great efforts.

b. The administration has been transformed from empirical management to scientific management. It shows itself chiefly as follows. Every area has set up the authorities in charge of the library, generally formulated library rules, made the development plan for the library, formulated and amplify necessary rules and regulations and preliminarily realized the standardization of document classific ation and indexing.

c. The personnel management system has been transformed from the fixed wage , salary and life employment to the competitive system and optimize grouping of working staff. The system of grading technical personnel and giving them appropriate titles and vocational examination and assessment has been adopted.

d. Service medium is being gradually transformed from manual ones to automatic ones.

e. The training and continuing education of professional staff is being transformed from non-planning to planning.

2.2 Existing problems and shortcomings.

2.2.1 Unbalanced development and great differences between areas.

China is a country with vast territory. The economic, cultural and educational level of development is different from area to area. The building of school library is unbalanced. Over 80% of the schools in the big and medium-sized cities and in the economically developed areas along the coast have set up libraries. Even 100% of them in a few particular areas have set up libraries. Furthermore, t heir construction scale and level are comparatively bigger and higher. However, about 70% of them in the economically backward areas with a low level of education have not yet set up any libraries. A few village schools have neither libraries, nor books and reading or reference materials. The average number of books for each student in those schools is only one to two books, or even less than one book or none at all in a few schools. This unbalanced development from area to area is one of the major problems in the course of the development of the school libraries in China.

2.2.2 The general low level of administration

The low level of administration shows itself in two ways. One is that the system of administration is not clearly defined. The other is that the internal management is not scientific. For a long time, the school authorities in charge of the library in China have never been uniformed. Some has been under the administration of the schoolmaster's office. Some under the teaching section. Still some under the research and teaching section. There have established no exclusive leading organs in the municipal, provincial and state educational administrative departments in charge of the school libraries. Besides, the internal management in many of the school libraries in China is chaotic. Their rules and regulations are incomplete. Their purchasing of books is without plan. Many things are done according to experiences. The collection of books is of poor quality. The composition of the books in the collection is out of proportion. The stock arrangement is not scientific. The classification and cataloging of the books is without uniformed criteria. And the vocational work is irregular. Take for example Tieling City, Liaoning Province and Jiaozuo City, Henan Province. 16 out of the 17 sch ool libraries in Tieling City have not adopted the state classification system of books. None of them has a standardized card catalogue. Only 49 out of the 243 school libraries in Jiaozuo City have adopted the classification system of books, taking up only 20% of them.

2.2.3 The low efficiency of the libraries, which have not produced the expected result from the after class reading of the students in the primary and secondary schools.

There is a generally low efficiency of the school libraries in China. Most of the libraries have an unproportional composition of the books in the collection, which lacks orientation and is of poor quality. The base work is weak. The collection is not scientific. The shelving is chaotic. The form of service is monotonously single. The service is of low level. More attention is paid to collect ion than to service. The hours of service are few. The circulation of books is low. Some of the libraries even do not loan books to the students at all. Sample investigation shows that the average service time offered by the school libraries in China is about four hours a week, which has frustrated to a certain extent the after-class reading interest of the broad population of the school students .

The result of investigation shows that the books for outside reading by the school students are obtained in the following order: first bought by the family, then borrowed from other students, third borrowed from the school library, fourth borrowed by the parents, and last obtained through other channels. From the investigation can be seen that China's school libraries have still a long way to g o before they can satisfy the need of the students in their reading.

2.2.4 Shortage of funds and the weak foundation of the libraries.

Shortage of funds is a problem the school libraries generally face in the course of their development. Although for a long time the school libraries can obtain their funds through many channels, the average total amount of funds of over 80% of the school libraries is less than 1,000 yuan per year. A few libraries can get only less than 100 yuan. The shortage of funds has greatly limited the de velopment of the school libraries, causing many of them to have a weak infrastructure, shortage of buildings, poor equipment and slow development of modernized construction. Many of them have got only one room with no space for storage, no reading-room, no catalogue cases, no reading desks, to speak nothing of computers, Xerox machines or audio-visual equipment.

2.2.5 The overall quality of the professional staff is not high.

Taken as a whole, the administrative personnel of the school libraries in China have a poor professional knowledge and low level of professional skill. Since they have been transferred from teaching to the library, many of them have only gone through the primary stage of training in library vocational knowledge. As a result, many of them can only do some simple library work. Some of them even do not know what the classification system of books or what library catalogue is. They find it difficult to classify, catalogue, shelve, collect and circulate books independently. Statistics show that the average number of school library administrative staff per school in China's big and medium-sized cities is two and a half. 90% Of them are full-time workers and 10%, part-time workers. 70% of them have gone through professional training and 60% of them have received education of secondary technical schools and below. The average number of administrative staff in small towns and village is only 0.6 person per school. 30% of them is full-time and 70% is part-time. 20% have gone through professional training and 80% are women. 15% are old, weak, sick and disabled. And there is frequent tran sference from job to job.

3. The causes to limit the development of the school libraries in China

3.1 The authorities in charge have an insufficient understanding of the role which the school library plays in the basic education.

The Chinese government has long been paying great attention to the primary and secondary school education. However it has not had a deep understanding of the importance of the school library in the school education and social education, which has resulted in the general negligence of the construction of the school libraries. Some authorities in charge have never regarded the school library as an essential part of the school education and teaching and learning. Many school leaders have only attached importance to the first-line work of teaching and learning and put the school library on a secondary position. Consequently, the library fund is always short and even used for other purposes. Some schools list the library staff as personnel not on the permanent staff and assign their jobs wit hout regularity and frequently transfer them from post to post. Some even exclusively assign the old, weak, sick, disabled and unqualified teachers and breast-feeding women to work in the libraries and turn the library into "a collecting station" of all kinds of rejected people. This kind of understanding and handling have greatly limited the development of the school libraries.

3.2 The universal existence of going exclusively after the proportion of students entering schools of a higher grade.

The administrative departments in charge of education have long customarily regarded the proportion of students entering schools of a higher grade as a chief criterion to grade the teaching and learning level of a school, which has driven many schools to go after the proportion of students entering schools of a higher grade and neglected broadening students' field of knowledge and cultivating th eir skills of various kinds. The students are required to devote all their time to their text books and homework.They are kept from after-class reading. No doubt, this practice is unfavorable to the building of the school libraries.

3.3 The flooding of the concept of no use in reading books.

Since the 1980s, with the development of commodity economy and the establishment of the system of socialist market economy, there has appeared in China on the one hand a group of "earlier rich people", who have received a low level of education on the whole and yet have been admired by the social public because of their wealth. On the other hand, there is an odd feature in the society that the more education you have received, the less pay you can get from your work. In other words, the less education you have received, the sooner you will take part in your work, and the more wages you can get from your job. The existence of the above two phenomena at the same time has caused people to have a misconception of learning knowledge. The concept of no use in reading books has sprea d to the whole society, which has a very strong negative effect upon the school students. The teachers are not concerned about the students' making use of the library. The parents do not support their students in their after class reading. The students themselves do not have enthusiasm in their studies. The development of the school libraries has lost an internal impetus.

4. The Development trends.

Although there are many problems in the development of the building of school libraries in China, which are confronted with many difficulties, the Chinese government has truly paid more and more attention to the construction of school libraries. The State Educational Commission promulgated in 1991 a statutory <Regulations on School Libraries (Reading-rooms)>>, having stipulated concrete requirements on the construction of school libraries in every respect. After Deng Xiaoping's tour of South China in 1992 and the convening of the Fourteenth National Conference of the Communist Party of China, the concept of science and technology being the first productive force began to strike roots in the hearts of the people. People's understanding of the importance of the school library has reached a new level. The State Council promulgated in February 1993 <<The Outline of the Reform and Development of Education in China>>, setting up the strategic objective of the school library construction in China. In March, the government work report further clearly stressed the importance of the school library construction. In April, the State Educational Commission held an inaug ural meeting of the National Working Committee of the Primary and Secondary School Libraries, putting forward detailed requirements on the work of the school libraries. On September 28, 1995, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China passed <<the Proposal for Formulating the Ninth Five-year Plan (1996-2000) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Term Target f or the Year 2010>>, definitely put forward the national policy of building up the nation through education and vitalizing the state through science and technology. These series of significant measures will greatly promote the building of China's school libraries, which is developing rapidly in the direction of regularization, standardization, Co-operative network and modernization.

4.1 Trend one: Standardization, regularization

Since the promulgation in 1991 of <<Regulations on School Libraries (Reading-Rooms)>>, many local rules and regulations on them have been promulgated in succession. And a series of activities have been organized for them across the country to reach the criteria of standardized construction and assess their achievements. In order to unify the classification and indexing of the documen ts in the school libraries across the country, the Ministry of Culture and the State Educational Commission issued in 1992 a special directive requiring all schools to use <<the Classification System of Books in the Libraries of China (the Version for Juvenile Libraries and School Libraries)>> to classify and catalogue the books in the library. They organized a series of training cla sses of all kinds in different parts of the country on the book classification knowledge. Through years of efforts, many school libraries have reached successively the state-set standards in the construction of the library buildings, equipment and facility setup, the scale of book collection, vocational operation and professional training. Looking into the future, China's school libraries will c ertainly have further development in standardization and regularization.

4.2 Trend Two: Co-operative network.

The Co-operative networks of the School libraries in China have already acquired some development. Up till now, co-operative networks have been established at the provincial or municipal level in Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Henan, Zhejiang, Xinjiang, Liaoning, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, etc. The State Educational Commission has also set up a National School Library Working Committee to impliment the unified leadership over the establishment of co-operative network of school libraries across the country. Some provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have successively set up school library working committee locally to lead the construction of co-operative network of school libraries in their own respective regions or area. With the gradual deepening of the economic constr uction and educational reform in China , the construction of the co-operative network of school libraries in China will get greater development.

4.3 Trend Three: Modernization

In the historical course of all walks of life marching towards modernization across the country, it is an inevitable trend for school libraries in China to march gradually towards modernization. At present , the school library cause in China has a weak foundation, shortage of space, poor facilities and backward service measures. It is far from meeting the need of social development and education al reform. In order to meet the challenge of the new century, the school libraries have to realize modernization gradually. Having entered the 1990s, the administrative authorities at all levels in charge of education and the primary and secondary schools have begun to put the building of modernized school libraries on their agenda. The State Educational Commission, the National Working Committee of School Libraries, the Planning and the Financial Departments, the Equipment Departments, and library vocational departments of each locality across the country have already begun to formulate plans and prepare to renew equipment and facilities for school libraries and fit them out with typewriters, Xerox machines, micro, audio and visual equipment and computer hardware and software. The schoo l libraries in China are marching towards modernization.

5. Conclusion

Through the joint efforts of the Chinese government and the Chinese people for over forty-six years, most of the million and more primary and secondary schools in China have had their own libraries (reading-rooms). On the whole, the school libraries have reached a certain construction scale. The great majority of them have successfully provided book-loaning and book-reading services. Some of the m have provided after class-reading instruction, reference advice, information abstract and deep level service. They have better satisfied the need of the broad masses of the teachers and students for documentary information, which has vigorously pushed forward the education, teaching and learning and the research work of the school. Of course there are still many things which are far from being satisfactory, such as unbalanced development, the great differences between regions and areas, the weak ability to provide adequate documents, lack of scientific administration, the low efficiency of the library, and the service level awaiting to be improved. On the whole, China's school libraries still have some difficulties and defects in the system of leadership, service means, fund-providing, infra-structure, scientific administration, the selection, the training and continuing education of professional people. In spite of these difficulties, the school libraries in China is still bright and encouraging when you look into their future. The Chinese government has already made the national policy of vitalizing the state through science and education and giving the school libraries a go od development policy and legal protection. China's school libraries are marching towards the development of regularization, standardization, co-operative network and modernization.


1. Li, W.S. "Education Reform and the Building of the Primary and Secondary School Library", <<Library Forum>>, Feb. 1994

2. Li, K.M. The Co-operative and Co-ordinative Methods of the Secondary School Library in China, <<Juvenile Library and Primary and Secondary School Library>>, Feb-March 1995

3. Dai, X.G., Zhang Q. On School Library and Information Service Work in the University Library of Henan Province>>, Feb.1993

4. Song, B.W. The Investigation Report on the Primary and Secondary School Libraries ( Reading-rooms) in one District of Beijing, <<Juvenile Library and Primary and Secondary School Library>>, Jan. 1993

5. Wang, J.H. A Brief Glance At the Twelve Primary School Libraries (Reading-Rooms) in Hangu District, Tianjin, Ibid. May 1994

6. Fan, F.S. News Report on the Acceptance of the Standardized Construction of the Primary and Secondary School Libraries in Jiaozuo, <<Journal of Henan Library>>, April 1994

7. Wang, Y.Z. Some Measures Taken To Strengthen the Construction of the Secondary School Libraries in Xuzhou, <<Journal of Jiangsu Library>>, March 1993

8. Shao, W.Q. Strengthening the Co-operative Network And Developing the Library Cause of the Primary and Secondary Schools, ibid. March 1994

9. The Personal Quality the Primary and Secondary School Library Staff Should Possess, ibid. May 1994

10. Tao, G.G. A Few Problems Concerning the Secondary School Libraries Need Solving, <<Library Work>>, Jan. 1986

11. Chen, N.G., On the Development Trends, Key Work and Renewal of Ideas of the Secondary School Library, <<Juvenile Library and Primary and Secondary School Library>>, April 1989

12. Duan, M.Q., Investigation Report on the Status Quo of the Secondary School Libraries (Reading-Rooms) in Nantong City, <<Journal of Jiangsu Library >>, April-May 1988

13. He, H.S., Investigation Report on the Secondary School Libraries in Anhui Province, <<University Libraries in Anhui Province>>. May 1989

14. Zhu, J.Z., On the Construction of the Primary and Secondary School Libraries in the Big and Medium-sized Cities in China>>, <<Juvenile Library>>, Jan. 1984

15. Zhang, Y.L., On the Administrative System of the Primary and Secondary School Libraries in the Countryside, <<Juvenile Library and Primary and Secondary School Library>>, May-June 1989

16. Suggested Version of Rules and Regulations on the Primary and Secondary School Library, Jan. 1985

17. Yao, H.E., Qian Z.L., The Vocational Qualification of the School Library Staff, <<Juvenile Library>>, March 1984

18. Information on Five Secondary School Libraries in Tianjin and Beijing, <<Library Work>>, June 1955