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The NLC's Long History 


The NLC developed out of the Metropolitan Library. In the beginning of the twentieth century, against the background of reform and Western learning spreading to the East, scholars of insight strongly recommended the Qing government to establish libraries and schools, in the hope of promoting national culture and importing advanced science and technology. On 9 September 1909, the Qing government approved the establishment of Metropolitan Library, which was located in Beijing Guanghua temple. The Metropolitan Library was open to the public on 27 August 1912. It officially started to receive legal deposit copies of domestic publications in 1916, marking the launch of the library's performance of some of the requisite functions of a national library.

In the past more than 100 years, the Metropolitan Library was renamed National Peking Library and Beijing Library successively. On 12 December 1998, it was renamed National Library of China (NLC). As the third largest national library in the world, covering 280,000 square meters, it embraces three components: NLC North Area, NLC South Area and NLC Ancient Books Library. The NLC has vast collections including traditional documents and digital collections via allocation, social donation and librarians purchasing. It assumes the responsibility of providing services for national legislative decision-making institutions, scientific research, education and production institutions, library community, and the general public.

Miao Quansun, Chen Yuan, Liang Qichao, Cai Yuanpei, Yuan Tongli, Ren Jiyu and so on had successively served as the NLC director. Generations of silent dedication of general staff are determined to become useful talents in their own posts, who support the NLC and form the NLC's spirit throughout the past more than one hundred years.

Since Reforming and Opening-up, the NLC has made bold explorations and keen reforms, and achieved leapfrog development. It has assumed many national important cultural projects, and played more and more important roles in inheriting Chinese excellent traditional culture and promoting public culture service system construction; the NLC is committed to enhancing exchange and cooperation with library communities and culture communities in the worldwide, and the NLC's international influence is growing day by bay.

Over the past more than 100 years, the NLC has been inheriting and carrying forward Chinese culture, and has made great contributions to the inheritance and dissemination of national culture and human civilization.







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