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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 84, December 2015

Special topic: Reader Services

The NLC Walks into the Subway Station

By Zhang Leilei, Hao Jinmin, National Library of China


1. Introduction

On 12 January 2015, the first Beijing subway library was open in the National Library of China (NLC) Station of subway line 4. “M Subway Library” was established officially. “M Subway Library” Project is a large non-profitable project co-sponsored by Beijing MTR Corporation Limited (BJMTR) and the NLC. Based on subway transportation, this subway library aims to broaden new non-profitable culture service manners, deliver the NLC high-quality resources, carry forward traditional culture, and promote civil reading, making passengers have one more reading platform in daily travel.

2. Background

As one of the public transport means, subway was one of the convenient travel ways for modern urbanites. BJMTR had always been fulfilling the social responsibility, guaranteeing the safety of passengers as well as providing passengers with diversified travel services. Until December 28, 2014, BJMTR has built 18 metro lines covering 11 municipal districts in Beijing1 . In 2014 the annual passenger volumes to 3.41 billion2 and the average daily passenger on weekdays loads up to 100.88 million3 .

The NLC serves for the public as the repository of the nation's publications and a national bibliographic center, and plays promotion roles for social education and cultural transmission. The NLC has been making efforts to increase cultural connotation of public facilities by the aid of public service space.

Therefore, subway station will become a powerful platform, where bringing library resources to life, making knowledge, information and culture accompany everyone, and making reading and learning become the habits of the public, so as to advocate and carry forward the traditional culture, making contributions to improve people's cultural quality and constructing learning city. It is necessary to bring reading culture into the subway and passengers' daily life, creating a kind and warm culture space, and providing abundant travel experiences for passengers.

3. NLC Mobile Digital Library

“NLC Mobile Digital Library” provides various services as following. Readers can access to library resources and services at any time in any place.

(1) Mobile Portal

The NLC mobile portal website integrates the NLC system and resources into one information management platform, through which users can quickly enjoy the NLC services and access to related resources via various terminals, such as cell phone, tablet personal computer, etc. Mobile portal can fulfill the functions of book renewal, returning, reservation, reservation arrival notice, user registration, etc., and services closely related to readers through user management system. “Service Online” provides online reading, online lectures and online exhibitions.

(2) Short/multimedia messages

The NLC provides short/multimedia messages subscription services about loan and reading for mobile users. The messages cover book returning, renewal, reservation arrival notice, Reader's Card loss report, opinions and suggestions, etc. The NLC also delivers related information for readers regularly who open subscription services.

(3) Applications

The NLC provides a series of applications for Apple system and Android system, including applications for services, i.e. National Digital Library of China, and applications for resources, such as New Year Drawings, Wenjin Classic Reading, Four Condemnation Novels, etc. Up to present, users from 43 countries have visited the NLC applications.

< NLC Mobile Services APP >

(4) Portable Electronic Readers

The mobile digital library reader is a kind of reader which is customized by the NLC. It is loaded with lots of high-quality E-books, pictures, periodicals, as well as audios of the NLC lectures, making readers enjoy the pleasure of reading.

Digital library mobile reading platform is another popular mobile service of the National Digital Library of China for authenticated readers of public libraries nationwide. The platform collects about 70,000 high-quality E-books, 1,000 titles of E-periodicals, 30,000 pictures, 1,000 videos, short films, and excellent featured resources from local libraries. For public libraries which have been connected with the Unified User Management System, users can access to the resources of main station of reading platform, and featured resources of other public libraries by their own Reader's Card (Identification Card) and password for free of charge. For branch stations which have not been connected with the Unified User Management System, users can browse high-quality E-resources by real-name registration in the reading platform or reader portal of National Digital Library of China, and then logging on the platform or portal.

4. Subway Library

According to the statistics in December 2014, there were 519.7 million4 smartphone users in China. There are a large amount of potential users of mobile digital library. Following the development of mobile information technology, M Subway Library, the first subway library in Beijing, was born. M Subway Library aims to provide more convenient, quick and high-quality services for the public, to satisfy people's cultural demands much better, and to play positive roles for improving national quality and raising civil reading rate. It will organize various activities regularly to disseminate information, knowledge and culture, provide high-quality reading resources freely for a long time in new media environment, and recommend part of freely accessible E-books for the public in the subway carriages.

< M Subway Library >

In the subway station or inside the subway carriage, passengers can scan QR code to free access to E-books related with character. Besides, passengers can enjoy relevant feature films produced by the NLC China’s Memory project center and visit the miniature exhibition. In this library, passengers are readers, readers are passengers, and the subway library becomes “reading station of everyone.” Walking into subway is just as entering into library, and reading is just around you. Subway library is a new experience for public reading, as well as a new manner of public culture services, which helps us not only interpret the features of public culture services, i.e. universal equality, socialization, and digitalization, but also takes action.

The first cultural activity of M Subway Library was “Our Characters,” which displayed the large family of Chinese characters for the public, presented more than 30 titles of ethnic minorities' languages, and various contents on characters inheritance, transmission, culture, folk customs, etc., and aroused the public's interests in exploring Chinese characters in various manners, such as the official microblogs and websites of the BJMTR and the NLC, subway advertisement lamp boxes, inner-station environment, subway trains, material objects presentation in the NLC and the National Museum of Classic Books, featured documentaries showing, lectures, interactive experience activities, etc.

“Our Characters” special exhibition is the first attempt of the NLC to use multi-approaches for reading promotion in the subway station. Through this series reading promotion activities cooperated with the subway station, the NLC extended to other public areas of the city, in addition to libraries, to advocate reading and cultivate the reading habits of public. Besides, it is a beneficial attempt to consciously cooperate with social enterprises to promote reading and development of mass culture undertakings.

< M Subway Library >

5. Other nationwide reading promotion activities

On 23 April 2015, on the occasion of the 20th World Book and Copyright Day, the NLC held a large-scale reading promotion activity in the NLC Arts Centre. The National Library Open Course was launched and its first special event was held, advocating nationwide reading and establishing a learning society.

By using the concept of "massive, open and online" of the Massive Open Online Course for reference, with carrying forward Chinese excellent culture as the core, based on the NLC collections, the National Library Open Course is closely related with modern society development and people's life, delivers various forms of learning resources, and adopts both online and offline interactive patterns. The National Library Open Course is committed to advancing citizens' general education, promoting nationwide reading and serving for learning society construction.

As a special event of World Book and Copyright Day series activities on 23 April, the award-winning books of the 10th Wenjin Book Awards were announced, including 10 titles of award-winning books, such as Chinese Ancient Tangible Culture, The latter half of Shen Congwen's life: 1948-1988, Jerusalem: The Biography, Sapiens: A brief history of humankind, etc., and 60 titles of recommended books, such as Big Data: History, Reality and Future, etc. Authors, translators and publisher representatives got together and celebrated this festival for book lovers.

6. “Library+” strategy in future

Reading can take place in almost all the scenes and places. With the development of information technology, reading mode becomes more and more diversified and pervasive: from the traditional paper reading to modern digital reading; from PC to mobile phone reading; from electricity paper books to tablets; from microblog to WeChat; from intensive reading to extensive reading; from deep reading and shallow reading to micro reading and mobile reading. Reading is irreplaceable. Book is the main carrier of human civilization and knowledge, and reading is the main mode for human learning. The core of the library service is “reading,” so we can use “library +” strategy to implement the vision of “make reading everywhere.” The NLC will lead the public library to use “library +” strategy to walk outside the wall of library, provide active service to all the people, and bring the reading culture into all areas and industries, and institutions and places.

1 Data from (2014-12-27)

2 Data from (2015-02-12)

3 Data from (2015-01-21)

4 Data from (2014-12-26)

Copyright (C) 2015 National Library of China