Yuan Tongli

Yuan Tongli (1895-1965, courtesy name Shouhe) was from Xushui of Hebei Province. He was a renowned librarian, bibliographer and public figure for the cause of librarianship. He was among the first group of Chinese librarians with knowledge and expertise in modern library science. Yuan Tongli enrolled in Peking University in 1913, and after graduation he worked in the Reference Department of Tsinghua University Library. In 1919, he was elected the chairman of Beijing Library Association (Meanwhile, Li Dazhao was elected as the vice-chairman). In 1920, Yuan Tongli furthered his study in the New York State Library School and investigated into Euro-American libraries and museums. In 1923, Yuan Tongli became the director of the library in Peking University. The three years of his office at the Peking University Library witnessed his active effort to implement western ways of management. He also organized the Library staff to put in order a large number of overstocked books and make book-form catalogues for collected books, enabling the library to maintain its stature even in difficult conditions, and thus making possible a fair degree of development. In 1926, Yuan Tongli left Peking University Library and started working in Beijing National Library consecutively as vice director, director and librarian for the next twenty years or more. Yuan is one of the important figures in the modernization of the National Library as well as Peking University Library. His contribution to the Peking University Library is that he experienced and overcame many obstacles during 1920's in his library directorship at Peking University and that his professionalism set up a model for China modern librarians and his spirit has been carried on by the directors such as Yan Wenyu after Yuan's leaving.