One migrant's letter of love to a library
China’s manufacturing city Dongguan in Guangdong Province helped a migrant worker find a new job, whose emotional parting with the city’s library touched many netizens.
Wu Guichun, 54, on June 24 left a farewell message in the visitors’ book of the Dongguan Library saying he had been a frequent visitor for the past 12 years while working in the city as a migrant laborer.
“The best times I’ve had in the past years were in the library. I had to leave the city but I will remember you for the rest of my life,” read the comment by “a farmer-turned worker from Hubei Province.”
“Books are the only things in the world that will never hurt us,” said the message, which went viral on China’s social media as netizens hail the power of reading that transcends social strata.
Wu said he started working in Dongguan, dubbed the “world’s factory,” in 2003. He used to buy cheap books from street stands to ginger up his monotonous life centering around factory work before a friend introduced him to Dongguan Library.
His love affair with the library continued for the next 12 years, though with only primary school education, Wu has to carry a dictionary whenever he reads a book to look up for unfamiliar words.
After losing his shoe factory job during the novel coronavirus epidemic earlier this year, Wu had no choice but to return to his rural home. “I felt particularly sad about returning the reader’s card,” he said.
Wang Yanjun, who works with the library, said she saw a man gazing at his reader’s card and murmuring before returning it. After learning his story, Wang asked Wu to write some comments for the library, which were later posted online.
The city government of Dongguan was among those impressed by Wu’s story. It reached out to Wu and invited him back to work as a gardener at a residential compound near the library.
“We wish to bring back someone who is attached to Dongguan, so we sent our staff to negotiate a job for him,” said Zhao Liping with the city’s human resources and social security department.
Wu likes his new job. “It is less demanding than my previous job, which will give me more time to go to the library.”
Dongguan library said many readers are migrant workers who often wait in long lines before it opens on the weekend.