In the impression, the library is also a place for students to read, old people to read newspapers, and family reading. Who would go to the library if it wasn’t necessary to get a certificate and wanted to find a place to be more efficient?
But in reality, the number of city libraries is far more than we need. Take Shenzhen as an example. By the end of 2018, Shenzhen had a total of 650 libraries (branches). Based on a population of 22 million, Shenzhen has an average library of 33,800 people.
In the past five years, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have been vying to become “library cities”. The former proposed to have a library for every 80,000 people by 2020, and the latter also started to build a second library city.
Facing the rapidly building library. Very few people have been there. There are 1.18 million people living in the Yuexiu District of Guangzhou, but only 578 people visited the Four Reading Library that opened last year.
New libraries have been built up one after another. Why do Chinese people still fail to urge to go?
The library experience is really bad
Poor user experience is a key reason why we avoid libraries. The quality of books can’t be complimented, and the trouble of searching for books may also dissuade people. Moreover, some special collections are not open to the public.
The collections of most libraries are shocking, but the quality of the collections varies. But this is not to blame libraries. Take a look at the current publishing market in China. On the best-seller list, those who have occupied high positions for a long time are teaching you how to live a good life of “chicken soup”, successful studies, and quality is not uniform Qi’s online novel.
Selecting books is a very professional job, and many librarians are often played by middle-aged and elderly people, lacking the necessary humanities training, not to mention more professional library learning. Therefore, the selection of books in domestic libraries has become a big problem.
Leaving aside the problems of the book itself, the trouble of finding a book also keeps people away. The book search webpage is useless. Sometimes, even if you find a book online, you may not find it on the bookshelf. Because when you press the book number to the designated bookshelf, you will find that the bookshelf is messy like a crime scene. The books are placed sideways and vertically. If you want to find the book you want, you can only see luck.
These are not the most weird. At least readers can go in and look for books. There are some sections in the library where you do not even have the qualifications to go in, such as the special collection department and the ancient book department. Ordinary readers want to go in and read a book. The reader card, academic title certificate, and recommendation letter are all indispensable. When you get the relevant certificate, you can get rid of all the difficulties and want to borrow the book and go home to study it slowly. That is absolutely impossible.
Since lending is not allowed, is it ok to take pictures and make copies? Sorry, even if you copy it, you have to empty your wallet.
Recently, Weibo, who is certified as a “Humanities and Art Blogger” on Weibo, has a copying fee of 8 yuan per page for ancient books at Tucao National Library and 62 yuan per page for manuscripts.
What is even more exaggerated is that when scholar Lin Qingzhang wrote the “Books of Confucian Classics in the Republic of China”, he wanted to go to the country to photocopy Lin’s works. Photocopying a copy of the book actually cost RMB 45,000. According to this calculation, if 10 copies are copied, the down payment for a house is gone.
People who read books may not go to the library
Therefore, even the most culture-loving people may not like to go to the library. Coupled with the convenience of today’s digital reading, you don’t need to go to the library to read.
According to data from the National Reading Survey, in the past two years, China has only read about 5 paper books per person per year. 430 million people switched to the embrace of e-reading. In 2018, the e-book reading per capita reached 12 books.
A paper book reads about 20 minutes a day, and it takes about two or three months to read it. If you borrow books from the library. You have to renew it several times. For urban people who need to cope with busy work and daily life, the trouble of renewing the loan can be solved by one-time purchase. Last year, an e-commerce platform sold more than 1 billion books in total. Per capita, 7 books were bought each year.
Similarly, buying a book in a physical bookstore is not expensive today. Taking Guangzhou Lianhe Bookstore as an example, the price of Chinese literature and translation works is between 40 and 60 yuan, and the original English books and Japanese documents can be traded for one hundred yuan.
In contrast, foreign books are much more expensive. In the same computer field, the Amazon version of the Chinese version costs 60 yuan, but the original English version costs 330 yuan. Unless it is a professional academic book, the price is 20 times that of the best-selling book.
E-books are cheaper. Although it has not become the mainstream reading habit, everyone can afford the paid novels and comics on various online reading platforms.
Take Lao Zhang, a post-90s media person in Guangzhou, as an example. After graduating from college for many years, he has entered the library no more than 5 times. X “.
Lao Zhang said that he is the kind of person on Douban who “buys books like a mountain and reads like a silk”. He has thousands of books in his family and buys new books every week. Girls like shopping. In addition, Lao Zhang has everything he needs to read the App, Kindle, and a tablet that reads pdf. “My library is the best library for me. My computer, mobile phone, and Kindle are also a library. What library do I go to?”
People who go to the library may not be reading
Readers no longer patronize the library, and most people in the library are not reading.
Half an hour before the opening day. The postgraduate army ready to occupy the seat is waiting at the door. Their backpacks look like they are moving: computers, review materials, notes, exercises, and almost a hand-written “Xiao Xiurong Postgraduate Politics”.
In addition to the resident population of these libraries, there is also a floating population. They were attracted by the publicity of the new library, just to get a taste of the culture in it, and come here. Net red book wall brush screen, high-value card punching sacred place, technology sense and fashion coexist. These unrelated reading statements have attracted a lot of tourists who come to see the lively.
For example, Tianjin Binhai Library, which opened last year, quickly became popular online because of the design of “Eye of the Sea”. A huge white book wall extends from the ground to the ceiling in the atrium hall. As soon as the library opened, it became a social currency for drying friends. The white bookshelf became a literary background wall for live broadcast practitioners and selfie enthusiasts. The stairs originally designed as reading seats were crowded with people taking pictures. Readers who wanted to read books could only return to the reading room.
Registered readers account for more than 10% of the Guangzhou Library’s resident population. The building looks like a standing book, and the glass curtain wall reflects the in and out figures. The interior is a mall-like open design. Come here for self-study, dinner, photos, air-conditioning and rest, gathered together, the noise of the children’s area can spread to the fifth or sixth floor. It looks more like an urban living room.
In contrast, many public libraries in Europe and the United States have a low-key appearance, and the architectural style is generally simple and elegant, giving a solemn sense of cultural precipitation. The glass windows on the roof of the museum, the tall wooden bookshelves by the wall, and the dim and warm lights make the visitors come into the contemplative atmosphere of reading. Librarians will be reminded to take photos, run, and speak loudly in the library. In this way, an environment suitable for reading and thinking is created, so that the visitors will not destroy the atmosphere. Can retain readers.
The speed of building a new library is getting faster and faster. It is expected that another 9 libraries in Guangzhou will open their doors next year to welcome guests.
But are the trends in the number of people and borrowing at these libraries also a roller coaster start? After the early adopters, how many people can stick to these new libraries?