On the morning of January 1, 2023, Xujiahui Academy, which has attracted much attention from all walks of life, was newly opened, and quickly became a new online celebrity check-in place in Shanghai, with a huge crowd. Prior to this, on September 28, 2022, the East Building of Shanghai Library officially opened. The building area of the east building in the picture above is 115,000 square meters, with 7 floors above the ground and 2 floors underground. It can provide nearly 6,000 seats and meet the cultural needs of more than 200 lectures and thousands of various academic activities every year. The annual reception of readers can reach 4 million people. The East Building in the picture above is the largest single-building library in China. Its completion and opening marks another big step in the construction of Shanghai Library.
The Minhang District Library, which is actively promoting the “Urban Study Room” project, and the Yangpu District Library, which is known as the “Shanghai Small Forbidden City”, all carry the height of urban civilization and are the souls of “urban travelers”. The inn will become a place in this city where you can embrace “poetry and distance”.
Our original impression was just a library for borrowing and returning books, but now it has been iteratively upgraded to a new multi-functional library. In this era of fast-paced, light text, and short videos, and in this era of impetuousness, why do we Still need a library? Because they can comfort our hearts and put our souls at ease.
Old buildings become new landmarks
In June 2020, after more than a year of renovation, the Mingfu Library in Huangpu District opened to the public amidst the eager anticipation and waiting of readers.
Located at No. 235 South Shaanxi Road in downtown Shanghai, surrounded by greenery, there is an ancient and small library—Mingfu Library (formerly Luwan District Library). Walking into it, the old-fashioned staircase behind the porch winds up, the mosaic pattern on the ground is still clearly visible after the baptism of time, the sign of the Chinese Science Society on the wall is particularly eye-catching, and the combined pattern of balance and compass is full of scientific atmosphere.
Yangpu District Library.
The main building of Mingfu Library was built in 1929. On the corner stone, there is an inscription written by Sun Yat-sen’s son Sun Ke: “On November 2, 18th year of the Republic of China, the Chinese Science Society held the foundation stone laying ceremony for Mingfu Library.” The library was first opened in 1931 and consists of three buildings: Mingfu Building, Huixin Building and Lele Building. The main building, Mingfu Building, was formerly known as the first public science and technology library in China—Mingfu Library of Chinese Science Society. The Chinese Science Society is a non-governmental organization in the true sense, and the library is a science and technology professional library under it. The designer of this building is Mr. Liu Dunzhen, a master of modern Chinese architecture. He and Liang Sicheng are known as “Southern Liu and Northern Liang” in the Chinese architectural circles. It is very rare that Liu Dunzhen’s architectural design has been preserved to this day, and Mingfu Library is one of them. It is a pity that many people in the world do not know this.
The “Ming Fu” in the Mingfu Library refers to Hu Mingfu (1891-1927), whose original name was Kongsun, and later changed his name to Da, with the word Mingfu. He was the first person in China to obtain a doctorate degree abroad by studying mathematics. He also participated in the creation of China Science Society, the earliest comprehensive scientific organization in China, and Science, the earliest comprehensive scientific journal. On June 12, 1927, Hu Mingfu unfortunately drowned in Wuxi. When the library was completed, Cai Yuanpei proposed to name the library after Hu Mingfu. The library was officially opened to the public on New Year’s Day in 1931. Cai Yuanpei said in his speech at the opening ceremony: “This library commemorates Mr. Hu Mingfu, because he was an important founder of the society and sacrificed a lot for the society. He was still diligent in social affairs until the day of his death. Therefore, the first great building of our society is to commemorate Mr. Ming Fu.”
The bright yellow two-story building opposite Mingfu Building is called Huixin Building. It was built around 1921. It has clear and concise lines and a bit of Spanish style. It is the birthplace of the China Association for the Promotion of Democracy. Today’s Huixin Building of Mingfu Library is still full of talents. It is an important place for people from the cultural circles to exchange and gather, inherit and carry forward the “Shanghai School” culture, and it is also a “card-in resort” for carrying out rich and colorful reading promotion and book club activities.
Another one that has attracted more attention is the Yangpu District Library, which reopened the old Shanghai Municipal Library during the Republic of China.
Bright yellow glazed tiles, gabled roof with double eaves, exquisite paintings, magnificent gatehouse… Walking into the library, the red cylinder brick floor laid in the foyer on the first floor looks quite solemn, and the ceiling paintings that have survived to this day are still gorgeous .
The New Yangpu District Library at No. 366, Changhai Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai, was renovated and expanded from the old Shanghai Library built in the Republic of China. It is a cultural relic protection unit in Shanghai and an excellent historical building in Shanghai. In August 1932, the old Shanghai Municipal Library (later named Shanghai Library) began to be built. The design was presided over by Mr. Dong Dayou, a famous designer at that time. It is an important part of the “Great Shanghai Plan” of the Shanghai Special Municipal Government at that time.
In March 1935, Cai Yuanpei and other 16 people formed the temporary board of directors of the library. The venue was completed in October of the same year and opened on a trial basis in September 1936.
The completion and opening of the old Shanghai library can be regarded as a major event in the history of Shanghai public libraries. Unfortunately, less than a year after the opening, the “August 13th Incident” broke out in Shanghai, and the city government was forced to withdraw. The “Great Shanghai Project” was finally shelved, and the old Shanghai Library found a new location. In the following 80 years, although the building survived, it changed owners several times, and its function as a library no longer existed.
In October 2018, the renovated and expanded Yangpu District Library opened to the general public free of charge.
The Yangpu District Library has successfully established a national-level pilot unit for the integration of culture and tourism with the development concept of “keeping integrity and innovation, intelligent empowerment, integration of culture and tourism, and quality development”. Yang Chunxia, director of the Yangpu District Library, told reporters: “As a cultural relic protection unit in Shanghai and an excellent historical building in Shanghai, the new Yangpu District Library has the dual functions of a library and a museum, shouldering the inheritance and development of the profound historical and cultural heritage of the region. In recent years, we have stimulated the vitality and inheritance of urban cultural context through the establishment of modern municipal theme museums, the introduction of “four centuries” urban micro-travel, “AR” reading buildings and other space carriers and service methods. Continue to strengthen the regeneration and protection of documents in the Republic of China , actively implement the requirements of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, continue the historical context of Jiangwan historical and cultural heritage protection and utilization, urban renewal and transformation and development, deepen the research on industrial heritage literature, and provide professional services for the construction of the National Cultural Relics Protection and Utilization Demonstration Zone in Shanghai Yangpu Life Show Belt Support. We have been strengthening the collection of local literature and characteristic literature, focusing on the accumulation and research of special literature such as ‘Century Industry’, ‘Century University’, ‘Century Red Labor Movement’, ‘Century Municipal Affairs’, and recorded ‘Audiobook’ albums, among which The audiobook “The Story of the Communist Party of China in Yangpu ‘Continuing for a Hundred Years’ won the Outstanding Scientific Research Achievement Award of the Shanghai Party History System.”