Words from Our Readers
Chapter I: NLC and Modern History of China
Chapter II: A Treasury of Chinese Culture
Chapter III: Center of Bibliographical Records
Chapter IV: Comprehensive Services
Chapter V: Advanced Technologies
Chapter VI: R & D and Human Resource Development
Chapter VII: Training and Exchanges
Chapter VIII: New Technologies and Advanced Culture
Chapter IX: Services in the New Century
An Organization Chart of NLC
The National Library of China is my university.
Although I would never graduate from this university, I can benefit from it all
The National Library of China is a sacred place I go often, where I feel enlightened and nourished.
People should spend two thirds of their lifetime in the social university with the library as a center for self-education and further education.
With innumerable indefatigable teachers and insatiable students, the National Library of China is my alma mater in my deepest heart.
Whenever I am asked to write my curriculum vitae, I am always tempted to write down the names of libraries in which I have been a reader. To me, libraries play a role no less important than universities, and therefore can be counted in my records of education.
The National Library of China (NLC) is a comprehensive research library and a national repository of publications, with the functions of the collecting, processing, storage, research, utilization and dissemination of knowledge information. NLC is also a national center of bibliographical records, a national center of digital libraries and a center of R&D in library science, researching and applying modern technologies and playing a leading role in standardization, digitization and networkization in the library community in China. NLC provides services for the central government, priority readers in research, educational and production institutions, and the public. NLC is also responsible for the training of Chinese librarians, research and development in library and information science, the fulfillment of cultural agreements on behalf of the Chinese government, and the promotion of exchange and cooperation with libraries in China and all over the world.
The predecessor of the National Library of China is the Metropolitan Library of the Qing dynasty. At the beginning of the 20th century, when reform and Western learning were becoming influential, some people of insight presented a memorial to the emperor of the Qing dynasty to open libraries and universities to carry on national culture and learn advanced sciences. On September 9, 1909, the first year of his reign, the Xuantong emperor granted to build the Metropolitan Library in Guanghua Temple in Beijing and appointed Mr. Miao Quansun to be the imperial librarian. After the Revolution of 1911, the library was taken over by the Ministry of Education, Beijing Government, and began to be open to the public on August 27, 1912. In 1916, the Metropolitan Library began to receive legal deposit copies of Chinese publications. This indicates that the library began to function as a national library. In 1917, the Metropolitan Library was moved to Fangjiahutong Street. In July 1928, the Metropolitan Library was renamed the National Library of Peiping and was moved to Juren Hall, Zhongnanhai. In August 1929, the library was merged with Peihai Library of Peiping into the National Library of Peiping. In 1931, new premises were built for the library in Wenjin Street, which now comprise a branch library of the National Library of China. Thus, the library became the largest and most advanced library in China. Among early planners and managers of the library are Xu Fang, Jiang Han, Xia Zengyou, Lu Xun, Liang Qichao, Chen Yuan, Ma Xulun, Cai Yuanpei, Yuan Tongli and Li Siguang.
After the founding of the People¡¯s Republic of China, the National Library of Peiping was renamed the National Library of Peking on March 6, 1950, and was renamed Beijing Library on June 12, 1951. Among former directors and present director of the library are Feng Zhongyun, Ding Xilin, Liu Jiping and Ren Jiyu. To meet the rapidly increasing social needs, Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People¡¯s Republic of China, proposed and granted to construct a new building for the library, which is now located beside Baishiqiao Bridge. In 1987, the new building was open to the public, with the Chinese name in Deng Xiaoping¡¯s calligraphy. On December 12, 1998, the State Council approved that the Chinese name of the library is changed to Zhong Guo Guo Jia Tu Shu Guan (National Library of China). This means that the library will take more important responsibilities in the new century. On April 16, 1999, President Jiang Zemin wrote the calligraphy for the new Chinese name of the library.
The National Library of China has a large and comprehensive collection, including items in foreign languages and many rare books. As of the end of 2003, NLC has a collection of 23,730,000 volumes/items, with an annual increase of 600,000-700,000 volumes/items, ranking the fifth among national libraries all over the world.
One of the earliest collections in NLC is that of Royal Jixidian in the Southern Song dynasty. The earliest-dated collection is that of the inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells in the Shang dynasty. NLC¡¯s special collections of treasures include a million volumes/items of rare books, epigraphs and rubbings, ancient maps and atlas, Dunhuang manuscripts, books and maps in the languages of ethnic minorities, manuscripts of notable authors, revolutionary historical documents, local histories and genealogies. Among earliest editions in foreign languages, there are incunabula printed in Europe during 1473-77.
The National Library of China has the largest collection of Chinese publications in the world, collecting all books published in China. NLC also puts emphasis on the acquisition of unpublished materials in China, and has a large collection of publications in library and information science, a center of Chinese yearbooks and a special collection of publications of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao regions. NLC is also a depository library of Chinese doctoral dissertations, recognized by the Committee of Academic Degrees, the State Council.
NLC has a collection of publications in foreign languages dating from the 1920s, the largest of its kind in China. As one of the depository libraries of UN publications, NLC collects publications of international organizations and foreign governments.
With the development of various information media and electronic network services, NLC has been collecting numerous items of microforms and AV materials, about 100 CD-ROM databases and more than 8,000 titles of electronic publications.
After many years of efforts of the staff members, the National Library of China has formed a characteristic structure of collecting, processing, storage and document supply with emphasis on both collection and utilization.
NLC also puts emphasis on preservation and conservation. With traditional rare book conservation techniques and modern microfilming technology, our staff members are doing restoration and conservation for important items and rare books.
The National Library of China has the function of being the national center of bibliographical records, publishing China National Bibliography, national union catalogs and catalogs for collections in NLC.
NLC has been compiling National Union Catalog since 1929, especially since 1957. In October 1997, NLC established the Online Library Cataloging Center, to organize computer cataloging nationwide, manage a union catalog on the network and promote the sharing of bibliographical records and document resources.
NLC is responsible for the compilation of more than 30 titles of bibliographies, such as China National Bibliography, General Bibliography of Books During the Period 1911-49 and National Bibliography of Ancient and Rare Books, thus creating a bibliographical system reflecting the collections in the National Library of China.
With the development of computerization of the National Library of China, various kinds of bibliographical databases and subject databases are being created and improved. Jointly with other libraries in China, NLC created the China National Bibliography Retrospective Database (1949-87), which, together with the China National Bibliographical Database (1988 to date) created by NLC, comprises the largest-sized and widest-covering China National Bibliographical Database. With 806 members (as of 2003), the Online Library Cataloging Center has become a center of creating, processing and distributing bibliographical records, providing MARC records of Chinese books to customers all over China.
The characteristics and functions of the National Library of China are described to be transformed from ¡°Treasury of Knowledge¡± to ¡°Fountain of Knowledge¡±. NLC is providing good services to the central government and the public in the following aspects:
To undertake the function of social education and cultural exchange, the National Library of China holds various kinds of exhibitions and lectures in the humanities, social sciences, arts, sciences and technologies.
The National Library of China began its library automation in the middle 1970s, and began to use a mainframe integrated library management system in 1989 for the development and application of library automation. Since 1995, NLC has concentrated its resources on network construction, software development and data processing according to National Library of China Network Development Plan, 1997-2000.
With the advanced Gigabit Ethernet technology, the National Library of China began to use its library-wide network with 3000 nodes connecting all subsystems in the library in February 1999. By opening the National Library of China website, connecting the State Council, Peking University and Tsinghua University with 100 MB leased lines, connecting ChinaNet, CERNet (China Education and Research Network), CSTNet (China Science and Technology Network), Beijing Cable TV Network, the National Cable TV Network and CNC (China Netcom) with fast lines, NLC has become a center of network information resources.
In October 28, 2003, the integrated library management system Aleph500 began to be put into full use in the library, thus enabling it to become one of the advanced libraries in the world.
The National Library of China has a human-based human resource development policy to create a good environment for improving the quality of staff members and supporting young experts in their career development. In 1997, NLC drafted Human Resource Development Plan, 1997-2005 to train and recruit competent librarians for the future development of the library.
As a research center in library and information science, NLC is responsible for many research projects, among which 12 were awarded by the central government or relevant ministries, including Chinese Library Classification, Chinese Thesaurus and ¡°A Study of Standards for Attributes of Chinese Characters¡± winning first and second prizes of the National Award for the Advancement of Science and Technology. NLC compiled China MARC Format and other standards in library and information science. The Wenjin Integrated Library Management System developed by NLC staff members was used in NLC for acquisitions and cataloging of Chinese books and circulation desk, and is now widely used in about 100 other libraries in China. NLC is responsible for several projects related to digital libraries and has completed the Pilot Demonstration System of Digital Library, which is a basis of the project ¡°China National Digital Library¡±.
NLC holds conferences and seminars to introduce and study modern library management and applications of information technology. The already published three issues of Tong Ren Wen Xuan (Selected Papers of NLC Staff Members) reflect results of research and development by our staff members.
With the function of professional training for Chinese librarians, especially those in public libraries, the National Library of China has a division in charge of education and training for staff members in NLC and librarians in other libraries, providing courses in librarianship, modern technologies, modern management, etc. NLC is also promoting standardization and networking of library services, promoting cooperation among libraries, research institutions and universities, and promoting resources sharing at national level. The National Library of China Publishing House (Beijing Library Press) has published more than 1,500 titles of monographs in library and information science and bibliographical studies, and is publishing Journal of the National Library of China (Quaterly), Documents (Quarterly) and Journal of Library Science in China (Bimonthly). The secretariat of the China Society for Library Science is located in the National Library of China.
NLC is an important cultural institution of our country, fulfilling cultural agreements on behalf of our government, receiving visiting heads and delegations of foreign governments, promoting exchange and cooperation with libraries and cultural institutions all around the world and taking part in academic activities of international organizations. We have publication exchange relationship with more than 1,000 libraries and academic institutions in more than 120 countries and regions. With ISSN China Center in the library, we take part in international information exchange and resources sharing of bibliographical records of serials. We have cooperative partners in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, USA and other countries for staff exchange, technical exchange, resources sharing and exhibitions.
With the wider application of computer and network technologies, the National Library of China actively introduces high and new technologies to become a modernized library, a national knowledge base and an information center.
Digital library is an important component part in national information infrastructure and national knowledge innovation system in many countries in the world, and is becoming an important area for financial resources. The development of digital libraries in the world indicates that national libraries should become the cores of the development of digital libraries in their countries. Since 1995, NLC has been keeping track of the latest development of digital libraries in the world. In 1998, the Ministry of Culture approved the project ¡°China National Digital Library¡± of our library. By now, we have already built a sizable amount of digital resources and provided some of them for public access. In November 2001, the State Council officially approved ¡°National Library of China Phase II & National Digital Library of China Project¡±, which is an important component of the national information infrastructure and is a part of the Tenth Five-Year Plan of the country. With a budget of 1.235 billion RMB yuan and a total floor space of 77,687 square meters, it has already begun to be implemented.
Since 2002, NLC has been responsible for three key national cultural projects: National Cultural Information Resources Sharing Project, Chinese Rare Book Facsimile Reprint Project and Rural Area Book Distribution Project. Thus, NLC plays a more important role in the development of advanced culture and distribution of knowledge.
Mao Zedong had the No. 1 library card of the National Library of China; Zhou Enlai approved the construction of the new building; Deng Xiaoping wrote the calligraphy for the name of the library; and President Jiang Zemin visited the library on December 22, 1998, and called on the Chinese people to study hard. These historic events reflect the special attention of the three generations of central government leaders to Chinese librarianship. We are sure that Chinese librarianship will develop rapidly in the 21st century, and the National Library of China will have a bright future.
In the history of China, every social progress gives impetus to the development of librarianship. At the turn of the century, with the coming knowledge economy and implementation of the strategy ¡°Developing China with science, technology and education¡±, there will be a better environment for the development of Chinese librarianship.
Under the impact of social and economic development, library, or ¡°treasury of knowledge¡±, will realize the digitization of document resources and the networkization of service patterns. This is not only a revolution in information industry, but also a new stage of the development of librarianship. Digital library will become the direction of the development of future library.
Development of digital libraries will enable the brilliant Chinese culture and all achievements of human beings to become common wealth of the mankind, and the National Library of China will become a real ¡°library without walls¡±.
With the history of 95 years, rapid development in the last 55 years since the founding of the People¡¯s Republic of China, reform and modernization in the last 25 years, the National Library of China is ready to meet new challenges and make greater contributions.
CPC & Trade Union Division
CPC Discipline Inspection Committee / Supervision Division / Audit Divison
Library Director Office
Retired Employees Division
Planning & Finance Division
Operation & Coordination Division
International Cooperation Division
Administrative Management Division
Acquisitions & Cataloging Department / Online Library Cataloging Center
Stack Management & Reading Services Department
Serials Department / ISSN China Center
Rare Book Department
Reference Department / NLC Branch, United University of the Capital
The Branch Library
NLC Publishing House (Beijing Library Press)
National Microfilming Center for Library Resources
Secretariat of China Society for Library Science
NLC R&D Institute
National Center of National Cultural Information Resources Sharing Project
Office of Leading Group for NLC Digital Library Development
Construction Engineering Office
Division for the Supervision & Management of NLC State-Owned Assets
China Digital Library Corporation Ltd.
Tuxin Sci-Tech Development Corporation
Total Number of Staff Members: 1336 (December 2002)
Adviser: Ren Jiyu
Editor-in-Chief: Li Zhizhong
Supervisors: Liu Huiping, Suo Kuihuan
Scriptwriters: Tang Gengsheng, Zhang Yan, Xu Jingsheng, Cao Haiying
Translator: Gu Ben
Photographers: Li Liang, Wang Tong
Designers: He Jie, Wu Yong, The Central Academy of Arts and Design
Producer: Beijing Rise Design Workroom
Revised in 2003
Address: 33 Zhongguancun Nandajie, Beijing 100081
Tel. (86-10) 88545024
Fax: (86-10) 68419271
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