Peking University library has been established since 110 years ago.
As the first national university library, Peking University library achieved excellence despite all the vicissitudes. It not only serves to empower research and learning of Peking University but also significantly promotes the development of the Chinese society as well as the cause of Chinese libraries. A comprehensive and concrete summary requires a book-length work entitled The History of Peking University Library, and, therefore, I am here to share some of my personal ideas as the incumbent Chief Librarian.
At the mention of Peking University, people often jokingly refer to her as “Yi Ta Hu Tu”(which means “a tower, a lake and a library,” and in Pinyin it sounds like a Chinese idiom). “Tu” is of course the library. As one of the symbols of Peking University, along with Boya Tower and Weiming Lake, the library is featured as follows:
1. Concerning the library building: In the present, the library building is composed by the west and east constructions which were respectively established in 1975 and 1998. The edifice looks spectacular with a style typical of prosperous Tang Dynasty. The library, a shrine of knowledge, rests in the center of the campus. The floor area is nearly 53,000 square meters with advanced facilities and a comfortable environment. It is not only an ideal place to read but also a beautiful place for photography.
2. Concerning the resources: Up to 2011, the printed volumes had amounted to 8 million, and there are 2.76 million electronic books, 500 categories of Chinese and foreign databases and more than fifty six thousand visual resources. The self-established feature databases are over 20 categories whose capacity is over 100TB. Such magnitude of collections is unmatched by the Chinese idiom “so many books as to make the ox carrying them sweat all over and to fill a house up to the rafters.” Perhaps expressions of “a mountain of books” and “a sea of knowledge” match reality after a fashion.
3. Concerning the service: As we embrace an increasingly digital and technologically advanced world, the library is expanding its services from traditional circulation to develop and expand new and increasingly diverse and multi-functional services, including digital resources, self-service, subject librarian service, and reading promotion service. The service of inter-library book loan and document transfer enable readers to acquire books unavailable in this library “without taking a step outside.” Analyses on the academic competitiveness of various disciplinary areas help institutions or individuals learn the status quo and trends of the academic field.
Yet, as the Chief Librarian, I’m also appreciative of the work done by all the librarians. A beautiful learning environment calls for people’s effort, the countless resources and collections are yearly accumulated by people, and the amelioration of services requires the innovation and implementation by people, not to mention the fact that there are countless eminent scholars worth our remembrance and psalms. The everyday smooth functioning of the library alone is the joint efforts of over three hundred librarians from various posts who dedicate much of their time, energy and endeavor as well as their knowledge, wisdom and skills. I’m grateful that the fine tradition built by our predecessors is passed down from generation to generation; I rejoice that we are blessed with better conditions and more opportunities; I know very well that I shoulder huge responsibility: I’ll be conscientious not only for the history but also for the future!
Now, I’d like to pay homage to the predecessors who worked in the library! It is the accumulated efforts of their devotion that has made the library our pride. I’d also like to raise my hat for every librarian from all posts! It is your hard work and persistent effort that will make the library the pride for future librarians. Upholding our tenet—“Open Inclusiveness, Cultural Inheritance, Innovative Service, Harmonious Development”—We will take the 110th anniversary of Peking University library as a new starting point and endeavor to make it better and better, achieving new glory and brilliance worthy of the history and our era.