Shaanxi Provincial Library: A reader-friendly library in the cradle of Chinese civilization
Updated 19:57, 30-Aug-2019
By Qi Jie, Yang Yan

English writer and scientist Francis Bacon once said "Knowledge is power." And the library is always the right place for people to obtain knowledge in whatever field they're interested in. 

In Xi'an, the ancient cradle of Chinese civilization, the Shaanxi Provincial Library is the earliest public library in the country's western region. And it's very popular among readers from all walks of life. 

The seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is known as the Chinese Valentine's Day and also the traditional Chinese Sun Book Day. Sunlight is good for protecting ancient books. And what's more, it is the day to display and read ancient books. So the library organizers prepared something special for their readers and visitors. 

Xue Jimin is one of the best experts at repairing broken ancient books. He performs more than 10 complicated procedures, such as unpacking, numbering, sorting and watering, you name it – he can show you all the tricks. 

People in the Shaanxi Provincial Library, in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, August 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

People in the Shaanxi Provincial Library, in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, August 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

"The repair begins with opening the ancient book and removing the paper nails from it. But the method goes differently according to the damage. After the page-by-page restoration is completed, the book will be flattened first, and then comes the cutting. After gently hammering the restored pages one after another, we collect them all and put them under the pressing machine. Normally it takes about a couple of weeks to press a book. Finally, we bind the book," said Xue.

Apart from public areas for adults, there's also a special section covering an area of nearly 800 square meters for children. The library organizes a great variety of activities including a kids' theater for practicing drama as well as a small-setting classroom for crafts and listening to fairy tales. 

In addition, a special app is available at the entrance of the library where readers scan, surf and get whatever information they want about books, research materials and documents. 

As the curator, Zhou Yunyue, simply puts it, the Shaanxi Provincial Library provides a convenient and happy environment for readers and visitors from home and abroad to read and learn from the ancient wisdom of mankind.