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Introduction of Suzhou Library

Suzhou Library was established in 1914, formerly Xuegutang (literally, "Hall for learning from the Ancient Times") of Zhengyishuyuan(literally, Zhengyi College) back in the Qing Dynasty, and once named as Jiangsu Provincial Second Library. With 101 years of history, it is one of the earliest public libraries in China, and now listed as National Class-A library.

Suzhou Library, located in No. 858, Renmin Road, covers an area of 16,000 square meters with a floor area of 25,000 square meters as a garden-like modern library which consists of three major sections: the northern section, the middle section and the southern section. The main building in the northern section is the Literature Circulation and Reading Area. In the main building, there are sections for book-borrowing, book-reading, computer information center, science and technology center and editing center. In the middle section, there is the Hall of Ancient Books and one modern garden architecture--the Tianxiang Villa; this section is mainly for ancient literature, readers leisure and VIP reception; in the east along the Zhang Siliang Lane lies a classical garden-style corridor inside which there are sculptures of paintings and calligraphy by masters of past dynasties, reflecting a unique scene of Suzhou with abundant outstanding talents, historical relics and prosperous culture. Along the Renmin Road, there is a skeleton-type corridor and greenery running about 60 meters and isolating the library from the busy streets of heavy traffic; Some quotations from Suzhou native academicians of the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering are sculptured inside the corridor, and it is the patriotism training center of Jiangsu Province. In the southern section lies the 2400-square-meter Square of Knowledge, which is surrounded by academic conference hall, exhibition hall, social education & training center and children's hall. Suzhou Library currently has a collection of 4.544 million books, besides, on the Suzhou Library Website (www.szlib.com), abundant electronic books and digital resources are available. The library is equipped with more than 1,200 seats for readers, and is an ideal place for academic activities, reading and study, as well as for leisure and entertainment.

With "Equal, Free, Professional, Courteous and Efficient" as its principle; Suzhou Library opens 365 days annually and 12 hours each day. We are now providing special services like reservation, book delivery and remote consultation; in 2014, we launched the program of "Online borrowing and community delivery" which makes the reader's book borrowing process as easy as collecting newspapers downstairs; in 2015, we launched the program of "You choose the books, and we pay the bills"-- a convenience service program which helps matching the library book-collection and the readers' demands. We have been hosting various interesting activities for readers over the years, such as public lectures, exhibitions, classic reading, tea parties, and among these activities, the "Suzhou Lecture Room" and other brand activities are widely welcomed by the public. We have long been doing information-pushing, providing services like information navigation, scientific and technological search, public opinion monitoring, fixed-topic search and full text transmission to institutions and enterprises. We are also paying attention to parent-child reading promotion, and our "Babies like reading" program has joined the "Bookstart" from the UK, affiliating Suzhou Library the first member library of "Bookstart" in the mainland.

In recent years, Suzhou Library is committed to building a public library service system covering the city, in which there will be unified resources, unified service standards and common activities for readers. Currently, there are one general library, 76 branch libraries (including 2 24-hour self-service libraries and 2 rail transit libraries), 90 community delivery points for online borrowing, 2 mobile library vehicles (28 service points) and 1 set of culture shelters. In 2016, the annual reader reception was 10.044 million person-time with 4.319 million books borrowed; there were 2,371 various reading promotion activities with 299 thousand participants in total. Suzhou Library has become an indispensable public cultural space for civic life in Suzhou.

Through service and innovation, Suzhou Library has made many achievements. We have won a series of titles and honors, including "National Class-A Public Library", "National  Advanced Unit for Management of Public Cultural Facilities", "National Advanced Unit for Protection of Ancient Books", "National Advanced Unit for Promotion of Reading for the Blinds", "National Popularization Base for Humanities and Social Sciences", the 14th "Stars Award" (service award); the 16th "Stars Award" (project award), "Jiangsu Provincial Civilization Library", "2013-2015 Jiangsu Provincial Civilized Unit", "Jiangsu Provincial Advanced Unit for Construction of Spiritual Civilization", "Advanced Unit in Protection of Ancient Books during the 11th Five-Year  in Jiangsu", "Demonstration Base for Social Science Popularization in Jiangsu", the 9th Jiangsu "Five Star Project Award" for service project, "Advanced Unit for Creation of National Barrier-Free City in Suzhou", "Advanced Unit in Creation of Demonstration District for Public Culture Service System in Suzhou", "Advanced Grassroots Party Organization in Suzhou"; and the "You choose the books, and we pay the bills" program has been awarded as Outstanding Program for the "Home in Suzhou" brand.

Suzhou Library is a lifelong school for people to seek knowledge, and it is a bright window for the development of spiritual civilization and cultural undertakings in Suzhou. All citizens are welcomed by Suzhou Library.

(Statistical data up to December 31, 2016)