Should campus libraries open to the public?

(11 January 2018) A recent regulation encouraging China’s libraries in universities and research institutes to open to the public stirred up heated debate among the public. The regulation is part of China’s newly adopted law on public libra­ries, which took effect on January 1, 2018.

According to the latest statistics by the Ministry of Education, China currently has 2,914 universities and colleges. Most libraries at these schools are for the exclusive use of campus students and faculty members, and a considerable amount of books lie unused and are seldom borrowed. Comparatively, there are 2,852 counties in China. Even if each one built a library, those in colleges still outnumber libraries at county level. Over the past years, the public have been calling universities to open their libraries. In March, 2012, a total of 34 universities in Beijing established a capital library league to share their books, journals and learning materials with the public. However, the access is limited to certain times and people. The majority of universities still hold a conservative attitude in this regard.

The opinion of Chinese people is here.