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Book smart: new library opens in Dashilanr

2012-06-04 18:20 Global Times     Web Editor: Xu Rui comment
Dashilanr Folk Custom Library [Photo: Courtesy of service office of Dashilanr compound]

Dashilanr Folk Custom Library [Photo: Courtesy of service office of Dashilanr compound]

Next time you find yourself in the Dashilanr area, drop by the newly opened Dashilanr Folk Custom Library to learn about the folk customs and traditions that once defined this part of town.

Located on the second floor of a two-storey grey brick building, Dashilanr Folk Custom Library covers an area of 130 square meters and has 12,000 books in stock. The library is located in a compound and is only the second compound-based library in Xicheng district. "The first one is located in Tianqiao and opened years ago," said Yao Yanting, who works in the service office there. "However, this new one is different from the Tianqiao one. The Dashilanr one concentrates more on the business side, since this area was historically a thriving business district."

The books are located on the right side of the floor and are sorted into different categories, such as folk and custom, science, law, politics and culture. To the left side, there are 30 seats allocated for those who want to relax and read the books.

During the first couple of days of operation, the library received many books donated from other libraries and the likes. Among them, the 20,000 yuan ($3,159) books that China Bookstore donated are rare and precious ones. In some of these, people can take a look at disappeared bridges and hutong, as well as learn about the history of Liulichang, the place which is now famous for selling Chinese brushes, rice paper, paintings and antiques. What's more, people can read the book Didu Jingwu Lue (Brief Introduction to Viewing Points in Beijing), which was written during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and recorded the buildings, viewing points and customs in Beijing at that time.

Zhang Huaide, a 74-year-old man who lives in Yangqiao, Fengtai district, contacted the library and expressed his will to donate a decade's worth of Healthy Digest newspapers after he read about this library opening. "I want to donate papers to this library because they've been a great help to my health," Zhang said. "Since the compound I am living in has no library and I don't want to let these precious papers get buried under dust, I gave them to the library." Zhang also expressed his hope of having a compound-based library near where he lives.

Though there are no exclusively English books here, foreigners can take a look at the bilingual ones to gain more knowledge of what Beijing was like in the past. They just must remember to bring their passport. People can also purchase a book card with no time limit. A deposit of 50 yuan allows people to borrow books worth 50 yuan for two weeks; a 100 yuan deposit enables people to borrow books that are worth 100 yuan for four weeks.

Danshilanr library will also hold activities every three months. The library will invite experts in certain fields to give readers lectures on Beijing's customs and other topics that will help people learn more about this ancient city.

Address: 228 Xiheyan Hutong, Dashilanr, Xicheng district

Contact: 6302-7910

Opening hours: 9 am to 11:30 am, 1 pm to 5 pm


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