District's readers have their day at city's book extravaganza

"Songjiang Day" of the annual Shanghai Book Fair presented new books on the district, its culture and history, and demonstrations of Gu embroidery, tea art and guqin performances.
Cai Bin and Jiang Huihui / Ti Gong

The "Songjiang Day" attracts throngs of book lovers.

People's' zest for reading has been spurred by this year’s Shanghai Book Fair, at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. The one-week gala attracted thousands of readers to its various theme days and activities.

"Songjiang Day" not only presented new books on the district, its culture and history, but also demonstrations of Gu embroidery, tea art, fan painting and guqin performances.

More than 200 residents took part in readings of poems on Sheshan Hill and prose about Songjiang's scenic spots and episodes from "Sketches by the Little Window" by Songjiang writer Chen Jiru (1558-1639).

More than 500 copies of the Songjiang Tourism Map, 300 brochures about the district’s intangible cultural heritage, 100 postcard sets of 24 Solar Terms and 50 fan paintings were distributed.

"I've been to many historic sites in Songjiang, such as Zuibai Pond Park, Thames Town and Sheshan Hill. It's a place full of rich history and culture as well as beautiful sceneries," said visitor Zhang Guozheng, 70. The lucky reader got a free fan painting by Songjiang artist Kong Xiangkai.

Wang Guojun, 43, who has read extensively on sociology, history and geography, said: "Songjiang was the cradle of Shanghai culture, so to read about the district helps me to know better about the city's past."

This year's Shanghai Book Fair released more than 500 types of new books, held over 200 lectures and, for the first time, set up 100 branch venues across the city.

Songjiang's bookstores, libraries, community cultural centers and "farmers' studies" served as branch venues. They saw a surge of readers, from 5-year-olds to silver-haired elders, from farmers to office workers, who got “food for the mind” at their doorstop without having to travel downtown. 

Farmers’ studies are expanding rapidly in Shanghai. Unlike downtown libraries or bookstores, offering, among other things,  local newspapers, farming books, audiobooks for the elderly and e-book devices for the young.

“Culture is a big part of villagers' lives today,” said Yuan Jing, a Songjiang government official. “Since we had the farmers’ study, many villagers have become more motivated to read, and children also like spending time there in holidays.”

Shanghai's first community library, recently opened in Songjiang's Sijing Town, has a collection of more than 10,000 volumes and a fast book borrow-and-return channel with downtown libraries.

Songjian's Bookstore Map

Duoyun

Located in the newly-opened Guangfulin Relics Park, Duoyun Bookstore in the style of old Anhui architecture offers a quiet place for visitors to have a moment of peace with books and tea or coffee. Every brick, stone and piece of wood was reclaimed from an old house in Anhui Province that dated back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The bookstore has more than 10,000 books, spanning the fields of art, history, culture and sociology. A highlight is the ancient calligraphy books of rare, limited editions.

Address: 3260 Guangfulin Road, inside the Guangfulin Relics Park

Zhongshuge

Known as "one of the seven most beautiful bookstores in the city," Zhongshuge is an example of how brick-and-mortar bookstores can survive in the era of digital books. Unlike many bookstores forced to close because of online competition, Zhongshuge is expanding from the city’s suburban Songjiang to downtown.

It goes beyond mere book stacks to attract patrons. Its stores feature a stylized interior design of modern elements, such as mirrored ceilings and zebra crossings, with shelving in various geometric shapes, a cafeteria adorned by posters of literary quotes and soft, white lighting that enhances the pleasure of reading.

Address: 900 Sanxin Road N. inside the Thames Town

Sanlian

Sitting at the foot of Sheshan Hill, Sanlin Bookstore nestles in the arms of nature. The four-story building is a combination of books, movies, music, a DIY workshop and coffee making. Readers can idle away a sunny afternoon with a good book and a cup of coffee, or kill time with a romantic movie in a big, cozy sofa. Lectures and reading salons by writers and poets are held every month.

Address: 3770 Sichen Road inside the Sheshan Hill Oasis Cultural Park

Thinkers

This mini library with its a collection of more than 3,000 books is hidden in a restaurant in Thames Town. Visitors to the restaurant can borrow its books freely. Every month, new books are added.

Address: 900 Sanxin Road N.

Dazhong

This bookstore, at Dream Plaza, has more than 100,000 books. It also features a youth center for various activities.

Address: 860 Rongle Road W.

Xinhua

The bookstore group has three stores in Songjiang at Pinggao Mall, the Mediterranean Shopping Plaza and Sijing Town. The traditional bookstore brand is also undergoing reform in recent years to face the digital era with an "online reading plus offline experience."

Come for reading!

The reading space project co-built by Songjiang Cultural Center and Songjiang Library has three reading rooms set up in the downtown cultural center, Xingri Community and a courtyard in Jiuqu Village. Farmers can come for reading, borrowing books or talking about community matters.


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