New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries

Yang Jian
The Suzhou Creek Reading Space, located on the 8th and 9th floors of the Shanghai Putuo Library on Tongchuan Road, opened its doors today.
Yang Jian
New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries
Yang Jian / SHINE

A new public reading space was unveiled along Suzhou Creek in Putuo District today to mark World Book and Copyright Day.

The Suzhou Creek Reading Space is located on the 8th and 9th floors of the Shanghai Putuo Library on Tongchuan Road.

The space is part of a Putuo Culture and Tourism Bureau project to create a series of riverside reading spaces to supplement district- and community-level libraries. Initiated in 2018, the project aims to enhance the cultural ambience of the Suzhou Creek waterfront in Putuo, known as the "cradle of China's modern industry," while promoting public reading habits.

The newly unveiled space covers around 2,000 square meters and includes about 20,000 books and more than 100 seats and desks. It also features art installations related to the creek and recreational facilities such as coffee tables and earphones.

A series of events, such as reading saloons and lectures given by famous writers, will take place, some of which will be livestreamed.

New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries
Yang Jian / SHINE

The Suzhou Creek Reading Space

New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries
Yang Jian / SHINE

Art installations in the reading space

An exhibition about ancient Chinese books and documents kicked off today at the reading space, with 128 ancient book collections dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) on display.

Highlights include a history book about China's geographic and ethnic conditions in the late Ming Dynasty written by historian He Qiaoyuan.

Historical books were donated by local retiree Zhang Yuequn, who began collecting ancient coins, paintings and books in the 1970s. Zhang helped repair ancient books in the Putuo library's collection.

"I feel sad when I see abandoned old books sold as something insignificant at flea markets," said Zhang. "The reading space is an ideal place to showcase the books' historical value to the public."

Putuo has the longest and most zigzagging downtown section of Suzhou Creek, known as the 18 bays, featuring many of China’s earliest national industries. Most of the industrial heritages have been preserved and converted into museums and other cultural venues.

New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries
Yang Jian / SHINE

The Kangxi Dictionary published during the late Qing Dynasty

New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries
Yang Jian / SHINE

A library employee introduces an exhibit.

New Putuo reading space supplements local libraries
Yang Jian / SHINE

People browse exhibits in the Suzhou Creek Reading Space.

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