Community libraries gain popularity as peaceful havens
Social media posts about community libraries have gone viral and city residents are sharing notes and comments about their favorite places to hide from the summer heat and make the most of their reading time.
"City read" has become the latest buzzword on social media as a cost-effective way of concentrating on study, work, or casual reading.
Vicky Sha has two school-aged children and said she has taken them to the nearby library, which is 10 minutes walk from her home, since the summer break began.
"What a quiet study place and I fully trust them to take care of themselves while I'm at work," she said.
"There's no distraction here and students can concentrate on their summer school homework, and at the weekends, I sometimes join them for reading."
According to the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, the city has 17 district-level public libraries and 219 community libraries, in addition to two city-level sites.
In the past month, online comments about community libraries have surged more than three-fold on Dianping.com.
Some local libraries have become the most popular destinations on lifestyle platform Dianping.com, as residents share their tips, suggestions, and the locations of nearby convenience stores.
Frequent visitors to libraries say they prefer moments of peace in their hectic schedules instead of spending hours at coffee shops.
Community libraries in Changing, Putuo and Minhang are among the highest ranking community libraries with the most comments on Dianping.
Li Qing, who has thousands of followers on Dianping, said it was nice to read and do some work-related research at the nearby Huangpu community library.
"Community libraries always welcome all kinds of visitors, be they elderly or children, and they truly cater to residents' needs in the neighborhood," he wrote.
Putuo, Jing'an and Huangpu are the most popular districts when users search for community libraries in the city, with the ongoing 19th Shanghai Book Fair also igniting readers' enthusiasm.
In the past week, searches for the book fair and relevant activities jumped five-fold.
Many commentators think the reading rooms are not only ideal for students to complete summer assignments, but also for office workers to write documents or send emails.
Most community libraries do not require reservations or a library card to use the reading rooms and public spaces.
However, some also suggested entry rules be updated, such as providing designated reading areas for pre-school children and longer opening hours.