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The Peking University Library


     Peking University Libary was founded in 1902 under the name Capital University Book Collection Building. After the revolution of 1911, it gained its present name. Around the May 4th Movement of 1919, Peking University became one of the centers for revolutionary activities. Some of the revolutionary leaders, such as Li Dazhao and Mao Zedong , worked in the library. Many well-known scholars, including Zhang Shizhao, Yuan Tongli and Xiang Da, had been library directors. In 1952, after the nationwide readjustment of colleges and universities, the library moved with Peking University to the former Yenching University campus, and the Yenching University Library was incorporated into the Peking University Library. Peking University library also obtained collections from other universities, and it finally formed the present collection centered in the former Yenching University Library building. In 1975, a new library building was founded in the center of the campus. At that time, it was the best library with the greatest building area and the best building conditions in China. On May 4th 1998, the centennial anniversary of Peking University, the new library building was constructed, symbolizing the new beginning of the library's march towards modernization. The well-known Hong Kong entrepreneur, Honorary Doctor of Peking University, Mr. Li Ka Shing financially sponsored the construction.

For many years, leaders from party and state paid great attention to the Peking University Library. Deng Xiaoping inscribed the library's name, and President Jiang Zemin inscribed "A Hundred Years Book City" for Peking University Library. Through industrious endeavors by several generations of librarians and nearly a hundred years accumulating, the collection held by the library amounts to 4,610,000 items. In addition, there are many modern documents like audio-visual material, CD-ROMs, and databases in many disciplines.

The new library building is located on the bank of the beautiful Weiming Lake. In harmony with its surroundings, the new building reflects the simplicity and dignity of the traditional style, yet it obviously plays a dominant role as the center of the campus. It has become a symbol of Peking University's architectural style. Two out of eight stories of the central building are underground, and two wings are integrated with the central building via corridor. A modular structure was adopted, forming a wide open space. In addition, the library has a multi-purpose cabling system with more than 1000 terminals suitable for open stack and adjustment, which meets the needs of modern and digital library development.

The new library opened at the end of 1998. The total building area amounts to 51,000 square meters, with 4,000 seats. The collection capacity has reached 6,500,000 items, making it the biggest university library in Asia.

Peking University library is a comprehensive research library on a large scale and is well-known both in China and abroad. It is now a member of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), China Library Association, and China Science Information Association. It has played important role in teaching and research at Peking University, it has also given important contribution to China's entire library and information circle. Peking University Library has broad international relationships with more than 500 foreign libraries, schools, and research institutes which are keeping steady interchanges of materials and interlibrary book loans from Peking University Library.

Ancient rare books are very important in the Peking University Library collection. The library holds 1,500,000 ancient items, including 170,000 items of rare books. Among them are more than 1,000 one-of-a-kind and rare treasures of great value. The ancient collection ranks third of all libraries in China. These ancient rare books not only have great academic value for preserving and doing research on Chinese traditional culture, but also important artistic and cultural value.

The library holds 11,547 kinds of periodicals published before 1949, totaling 27,650 issues. In addition, there are 605 pre-1949 newspaper titles, totaling 9,644 issues. Among them, thousands are rare or one-of-a-kind. These materials are very valuable for the research on modern intellectual and traditional culture. In addition, journals published during the 1911 revolution, the May 4th Movement, the early period of the Chinese Communist Party, the anti-Japanese aggression period, and the liberation period are all important documents for studying China's modern history.

Peking University Library also holds approximately 24,000 kinds, comprising 56,000 copies, of rubbings from inscriptions on ancient bronzes and stone tablets. These rubbings reflect many facets of ancient life and are very important for the study of ancient characters, calligraphy, and paintings. They also can be used to supplement history books. This collection now ranks first of all China's academic libraries.

Peking University Library has paid great attention to the development of a modern digital library. When the new library opened, much modern equipment was installed to provide improved modern services. The library will operate the UNICORN integrated automation system, replacing the current PULAIS system. The UNICORN system includes modules, such as a publicly accessible catalogue, book collecting, cataloging, circulating, reference books for teaching, serial publication control, material ordering etc. Users can search online business databases and self-building databases through a gateway. The management center of China Academic Library Information System (CALIS), one of the two public service programs of " project 211" was established at the Peking University Library. It will make great contributions to higher education's resource-sharing and digital library development.

The CD-ROM and online searching area located on the first floor is a window of Peking University Library's modernization. It contains more than one hundred workstations with tower model cd drivers and jukebox, and more than 100 kinds of academic CD-ROMs. The library also introduced many famous foreign online databases and E-journals such as DIALOG, OCLC, UNCOVER, UMI, EBSCO, and others. The library also provides MARC, CD-ROM and international online database searching, problem searching, thesis and retrieval.

The services offered by the library have greatly improved teaching and research in Peking University. The online searching terminals, information and reference area, exhibiting room for books and periodicals, and reception room are located on the first floor. The humanity and social science books reading area, natural science reading area, periodical reading area, Taiwan document center and the American study center are located on the second to fifth floors. The training center and computer rooms are located on the sixth floor.

In the two-floor basement are the collection of ancient books and rooms for air-conditioning and electronic facilities. In contrast to the central building, the two wing buildings are dynamic in function, making the new library a well organized and integrated unit. The audio-visual center is located in the south wing, and video room is in the basemen. The north wing contains the academic auditorium, and below that is a multi-function hall. In the old building, the general circulation desk is located on the second floor, the reserved copy reading room is located on the third floor, and the newspaper and literature and art periodicals reading room is located on the fourth floor. The south area is for students' individual study. It offers a comfortable and quiet environment for readers. The entire library is laid out conveniently, and has all the necessary functions to provide many kinds services such as reference, reading, lending, information searching, user training, interlibrary loan , document printing, duplicating and binding.

The library has Departments of Acquisition, Cataloging, Periodicals, Circulation and reading, Information Reference, Automation,Ancient Book Collection, Audio-visual Materials, and Document Services. The administrative offices are Director's Office, Office of General Affairs, and the Safeguard Department.

The present Director is Prof. Longji Dai.

Telephone: 86-10-62751051 86-10-62757223
Fax: 86-10-62761008

[Related Links]
     China Academic Library & Information System (CALIS)

Summary by Xiaoxia Li on 04-21-2000

Last updated by Xiaoxia Li on 04-21-2000

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