Zhejiang Library, a national first-class public library, is one of the earliest established public libraries of provincial level in China, as well as the first batch of national key protection units for the preservation and conservation for ancient books. Its main library building is located at No. 73, Shuguang Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.
The development history of Zhejiang Library could trace back to its predecessor Hangzhou Pavilion Library, which was first built in 1900 and expanded into Zhejiang Pavilion Library in 1903. In 1909, as Zhejiang Pavilion Library merged with Zhejiang Official Press, Zhejiang Library was therefore founded.
In 1911, Zhejiang Library took over the management of Wenlan Pavilion and the most precious collection Si Ku Quan Shu (Complete Library in the Four Branches of Literature). In 1912, a new library building, the white building on Gushan Road, was completed, making itself one of the oldest constructions for public library’s exclusive use in China. And it was open to the public as main library a year later.
In 1931, another library building on Daxue Road was finished. Thus it became the main library and was officially open in 1932.
Following the outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japan in 1937, Zhejiang library moved to Nantian Town (now Wencheng County, Wenzhou City), and the collection Si Ku Quan Shu was also transferred to Dimu Cave of Guiyang LuChongguan Forest Park in Guizhou Province and other places. Zhejiang Library and Si Ku Quan Shu stayed separately during the war. They returned to original Gushan building until the end of 1945.
In 1951, Zhejiang Library accepted donations of Nanxun Jiaye Pavilion Library (now in Nanxun District, Huzhou City) and its book collections from the famous bibliophile Liu Chenggan (1881—1963). Two years later, “Zhejiang Library” was officially confirmed as the name of the library. The present library building on Shuguang Road was completed in 1998. Since then, it functions as the main library to serve the public.
Zhejiang Library was entitled the “Center for the preservation and conservation for ancient books of Zhejiang Province” in 2008. And according to the “Regulations of Zhejiang Library”, it established the first Library Council in 2015 to implement a new administrative system that the Library Council shall enjoy the highest rights of decision-making and supervision.
Up to now, Zhejiang Library consists of 5 library buildings, including the main library on Shuguang Road, two branch libraries on Gushan Road and Daxue Road in Hangzhou City, Jiaye Pavilion Library in Huzhou City, and Deqing stack room in Deqing County, covering a total area of 57,000 square meters in all. By the end of 2016, 24 affiliated libraries and 29 circulation stations have been set up across the province.
As of 2016, the total collection of Zhejiang Library amounts to more than 6,73,4400 items, of which abundant ancient books and complete local documents are a special feature. The whole collections are:
More than 822,000 thread-bound ancient books, including 150,000 rare books; More than 4,892,500 general books; More than 907,700 bound periodicals and newspapers; 8100 kinds of current newspapers and periodicals; 150,000 library-collecting engravings; More than 1,748,200 e-books and 170 electronic databases, including 27 self-built databases specialized in study of genealogy and local chronicles of Zhejiang Province.
Zhejiang Library attaches great importance to the introduction of foreign literature. As a result, it has established partnerships with 12 libraries from different countries and regions, including America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Russian, India, Singapore, Republic of the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and has kept exchanging books with each other ever since.
Zhejiang Library is free and open to the public all year around. There are 1359 seats for users in reading areas. In 2016, the open stack circulation amounts to more than 1,550,000, and the daily number of readers to Zhejiang Library has reached 9,000. It has garnered more than 7,200,000 clicks on its official website in the whole year.
Zhejiang Library has organized a series of activities for readers, among which Wenlan Lecture, Wenlan Display, Wenlan Reading and Wenlan Social Forum have developed into top 4 featured projects. By integrating public library resources of the whole province, Zhejiang Library has set up “Zhejiang Network Library” to provide readers with services of non-profit digital reading, which has received 12,300,000 visits a year. Zhejiang Library has also launched a mobile-based service platform, “Zhejiang Wenhuatong”. By using WeChat Official Accounts or Alipay service window, readers can enjoy more convenient online services such as searching books, applying for a library card, achieving digital reading materials and others.
Zhejiang Library serves as Zhejiang Information Accessibility Service Center, the provincial branch center of National Cultural Information Resources Sharing Project, as well as the provincial branch center of National Online Library Cataloging Center. Zhejiang Library has been energetically engaged in library affairs at home and dedicated to strengthening exchange and cooperation with both domestic and international libraries. It actively promotes the co-construction and sharing of cultural information resources and trans-regional and cross-industry book resources across the province, upgrades the service levels targeting visually impaired readers, and takes part in the Chinese rare books protection project. And as a member of the National Public Library Lecture Union and Yangtze River Delta Public Library Lecture Union, Zhejiang Library has always been very keen on promoting regional resources sharing activities, and taking the lead in organizing lectures, holding displays, forming technological alliance and implementing interlibrary loan service in whole province.
Zhejiang Society for Library Science is affiliated to Zhejiang Library, and it became a member of “Chinese Digital Library Project” union in 2000.
In 2005, Zhejiang Library, Zhejiang University Library, and Institute of Scientific and technological information of Zhejiang jointly established “Zhejiang Documents and Information Navigation Network” to offer online consultation, and so became a part of the Zhejiang Scientific and Technological Documents Sharing Platform.
In 2015, Library Research and Work, a journal sponsored by Zhejiang Library, gained national unified publication number CN33-1398/G2, and began to get published afterwards.
Zhejiang Library has 282 permanent staffs and 17 departments now. These departments include:
Administration Office (Business Management Department), Human Resources Department, Financial Affairs Department, Logistics Service Department, Security Department, State-owned Property Management Department, Department of Acquisition and Cataloging, Book Department, Periodicals and Newspapers Department, Digital Resources Center (Office of Sharing Project), Department of Local Documents, Department of Ancient Books, Publicizing Department of Reader’s Activities, Department of Information Resources Application, Department of Information Service, Jiaye Pavilion Library Management Department, Editorial Department of Library Research and Work.