On August 29, 2023, the new Zhejiang Library officially opened its door to the public, unveiling a fresh chapter in the public library development of Zhejiang province. Founded in 1900, Zhejiang Library is one of the oldest public libraries in China and is the provincial public library in Zhejiang. In addition to the newly opened main library, Zhejiang Library has five other branches: Shuguang Road Library, Daxue Road Library, Gushan Road Library, Jiaye Library and Deqing Stackhouse.

The new Zhejiang Library

The new library is located by Qiantang River, the biggest river in Zhejiang Province. With a total investment of ¥660 million and a size of 85,000 square meters, the library has been hailed as a new cultural landmark in Zhejiang. It is a comprehensive, research-oriented, and modern library, serving as the knowledge and information hub and library network center of Zhejiang Province.

The new building has a total of 11 floors, 2 underground and 9 aboveground. Basement 2 serves as a public parking facility and large-scale intelligent storage, while basement 1 includes multifunctional lecture hall, exhibition hall, studios, HIFI room, recording studio and communication square. Various theme reading areas, well-appointed study areas and vibrant activity areas are located on the 1st to 5th floor while the 6th floor houses an ancient book stack. Designated office areas are located on the 7th to 9th floors of the building.

Communication Square

The library hall on the first floor, also known as the “Temple of Books”, is one of the most distinctive spaces in the library. It is encircled by a towering five-storey bookshelves. These bookshelves house an impressive collection of nearly 100,000 books. On the dome is a controllable LED screen where the images casts reflections on the sea of books, thereby creating an atmosphere of a boundless knowledge universe for visitors.

Temple of Books

On the west side of the hall is the General Lending Area and Accessible Reading Area. Both reading areas are connected to the main hall via a corridor. The walls of the corridors are decorated with a collection of periodicals and an electronic screen displaying real-time service data of all the public libraries in Zhejiang province. On opposite side of the hall is the Literature Lending Area.

Electronic Screen and Periodical Wall
Literature Lending Area

To the north of the hall is a grand staircase that spans the first, second, and third floors. The staircase is also known as the “Great Ladder of Knowledge”. The ceiling above the staircase is adorned with scroll-shaped strip lights, symbolizing the pursuit of knowledge and is also a play on the Chinese saying of “reading ten thousand books and traveling ten thousand miles.”

Great Ladder of Knowledge

The children’s area is on the second floor. The space has reading areas for young children and teenagers, a parent-child reading area, children’s activity area, training room, and an immersive reading space called the “Light and Shadow Reading Planet”.

Children’s Reading Area
Light and Shadow Reading Planet

Stepping into the third floor, you will find two walk-in bookstacks encased in glass. More than 100,000 volumes of books are located here. Between the two bookstacks is a marble staircase connecting the third and fourth floors. Roman-inspired columns line both sides of the staircase, showcasing the fusion between modern and classical beauty.

Glazed Walk-in Bookstacks

The Literature and Art Reading Area is located on the third and fourth floors of the library. The area is divided by five large terraces which are lined with bookshelves and reading seats. The infrastructure aims to create an experience where visitors are encapsulated in a mountain of books.

Literature and Art Reading Area

There are also several study areas on the fourth floor, each with a different style and theme to meet the learning and research needs of the readers.

Study Areas

The fifth floor houses the ancient books reading and exhibition area where visitors will find the treasures of the Zhejiang Library – Wenlan Pavilion Siku Quanshu.

Wenlan Pavilion Siku Quanshu
Ancient Books Reading Area

The opening of the new main library signifies a new stage of development for the Zhejiang Library. It aims to provide a more convenient and efficient service to library users not only from the Zhejiang province, but also local and international visitors to the library.

Contributed by Zhejiang Library