From Book Drying to Digital Book Sharing in Jiaye Library
By Zhejiang Library | September 23, 2022


September 2, 2022, the opening ceremony of “Book Drying Activity and Historical Documents Digital Repository of Zhejiang Province” was sponsored by Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and held by Zhejiang Library in Jiaye Library, Huzhou, Zhejiang. 
From ancient book drying to digital repository issuing, this event was an evidence for the development of increasing improved technology in ancient book prevention and the advantage of digital technology in traditional culture protection.
Book Drying (“Shai Shu 晒书”in Chinese) is a kind of routine that book collectors or book management departments in ancient China followed. They took out their collections from the deposit libraries and dried them outside to prevent books from moisture and bookworms. This activity often happened on July 7 on the lunar calendar but the time would be various according to the local climates and geographical conditions. 
The history of book drying can be dated back to the Han Dynasty (221-206BC). Till the Tang and Song Dynasty, it became an institution which represented the essential role that books played in the life of Chinese scholars.


As one of the most famous private library in China, Jiaye Library is a microcosm of private library which has been transformed into a public library. It was known as the largest private library throughout the nation with the largest collections of 200,000 books stored in 882 delicate bookcases. The landscape design, architectural layout, fire and moisture prevention, book display, and even the decorative binding of the bookcases all fully reflect the wisdom and talent of traditional Chinese literati and skilled craftsmen.



At the scene, readers could know more about book drying through experiencing "inscription transmission", "engraving and printing", "book binding" and some other activities by themselves. While the online “Historical Documents Digital Repository of Zhejiang Province” not only inherits the course of national treasures and ancient books prevention, but also let the public get in touch with ancient books and traditions in their daily life.



Zhejiang Library started the digitization of rare books and special collections since 2010. Books from Hangzhou Public Library, Ningbo Library and other libraries in Zhejiang province provide rich resources for the establishment of the digital repository.



Holding the idea of simplicity and ease of use, the design of this online library focused on the collection and construction of data and set resources, platform and portal as one, forming a unique digital resources of historical documents in the province.



In addition, the easy-to-learn search operation supports field search, advanced search, exact matching, fuzzy matching and other clusters. In terms of functional configuration, the basic principle is providing comfortable, safe, convenient and efficient services to the users. Based on the ancient books and other related materials collected by the public libraries of the province, the digital repository collects about 2283 kinds of digitized ancient books, about 55,000 volumes, of which 2,070 kinds came from Zhejiang Library and 213 kinds from other city and county libraries in the province.