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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 7 months ago


Shanghai Library


The Shanghai Library was founded in 1849 in a very unpretentious way. One of the daily papers of March 23rd 1893, says that “a list was sent around asking for support towards the formation of a Book Club, and on this slender foundation has been built up the fine library that exists”.



It was in this way that institutions which have become of great importance to the Settlement were started, by half a dozen people meeting together on the Bund, in the Club, or at the dinner table.



The library has always been under most efficient management. The selection of books is extremely good. Among its 12,000 volumes are all standard books of reference and all notable new books of travels and science, with novels. “It is doubtful whether any place in the world has so large a number of books in its public library per head of the population as Shanghai. Supposing Shanghai has now 4,000 English-speaking people; this gives 3 volumes per head. No city in the West as anything like that number. There can hardly be 4,000,000 books in the public libraries of London, including the British Museum – that gives two-thirds of a volume per head. I mention this because it gives the lie to the ridiculous taunt that people in the Treaty Ports are a set of brainless pleasure-seekers.”



In 1892, a change was made in the working of the Library. It was thrown open as a Reading Room to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, the Municipal Council making a grant of 1,000 taels per annum. A large collection of the best magazines and reviews is kept.



The Library is now housed in the Town Hall, Nanking Road. Subscription is $16 per annum. Open 9-12 noon and 4-7pm for exchange of books; Saturdays 9-1pm. As a free public Reading Room, it is open daily from 9am to 7pm; Sundays 10 to 1pm and 2 to 6 pm.

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