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   NLC Introduction
 
 
A library is a site where printed and audiovisual materials are gathered, where people can read, listen to, view and share ideas. The National Library of China (NLC) is the beneficiary of a long history and a profound cultural heritage, upholding its great mission to pass on and promote Chinese culture. With its provision of the latest multimedia services, the NLC wishes to better share knowledge, as well as help build a more learned and book-loving society through greater interaction with our users.
 
Alongside Purple Bamboo Park in Beijing's Haidian District stands the main National Library of China (NLC), its architecture perfectly blending a splendid facade with a graceful solemnity. As the third largest national library in the world, covering 250,000 square meters, it embraces three components: the first phase of construction (1987), the second phase (2008), and the NLC Library of Ancient Books, west of Beihai Park.

Phase I, completed in 1987, covers a built area of 140,000 square meters (sq.m), ranking first among "Beijing's Top 10 Buildings of the 1980s", Phase II covers a built area of 80,000 sq.m, and Ancient Books Library with a built area of 30,000 sq.m.


The National Library of China serves as the repository of the nation's publications, a national bibliographic center, as well a national center for the preservation and conservation for ancient books. The major mission of the NLC includes: the collection and preservation of domestic and foreign publications; national coordination of document preservation and conservation work; provision of information and reference services to the central government, other governmental organizations, social organizations, and the general public; research in library sciences, and development of library services and programs, and guidance to other libraries in China with its expertise; the fulfillment of its role in international cultural exchanges through participation in the activities of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and other related organizations worldwide, as well as the promotion of exchanges and cooperation with other libraries in China and abroad.

    
The NLC's Long History

The National Library of China developed out of the Metropolitan Library, established at Guanghua Temple in Beijing on 9 September 1909. The library was open to the public on 27 August 1912, and 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. The ensuing years witnessed many changes in the names and locations of the library, including in 1931, when new premises were completed on Wenjin Street (now the site of the NLC's Ancient Books Library). The NLC became the largest and most advanced library in China in the early 1930s. Many famous scholars and scientists participated in the planning and operation of the library, including the writer Lu Xun, the historian Liang Qichao, the educator Cai Yuanpei and the geologist Li Siguang – all eminent figures in China's modern history.

The library was renamed the "Beijing Library" after the founding of People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. The PRC's first Premier, Zhou Enlai proposed and obtained authorization to construct a new building for the library, located on Baishiqiao Road in Beijing's western suburbs. In 1987, when the new building was completed, Deng Xiaoping wrote the calligraphic inscription for the library's name. On 12 December 1998, the State Council approved its renaming as the "National Library of China." Then President Jiang Zemin wrote the inscription for the new name on 16 April 1999. Phase II's modernized construction, incorporating the latest in digital technologies, was completed in June 2008 and opened to the public on 9 September 2008. The National Digital Library Project, launched with Phase II, will become an online knowledge center and information database, with the scope of virtual services extended beyond physical time and space limitations.

After 1949, Feng Zhongyun, Ding Xilin, Liu Jiping, Ren Jiyu, Zhan Furui and Zhou Heping were successive directors of the library. The current director is Han Yongjin.
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