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About TJL

Tianjin Library is one of the earliest provincial public libraries in China. Established in 1908 (the 34th year under Emperor Guangxu of Qing dynasty), it has enjoyed a history of over 100 years. In the past century, China has went through earth-shaking changes, and its modern public libraries developed vigorously. Since the Self-Strengthening Movement in the middle of the nineteenth century, officials and the gentry in Tianjin began to set up schools. In their endeavor to boost both new knowledge and old learning, scholars reached a consensus: “The reason that nations are developing fast is because they set up schools and libraries to complement each other.” In this historical context, the earliest modern public library in the north of Yangtze River, the Zhili library, was established.


Lu Jing’s application and Emperor Puyi’s approval of establishing the library in the 8th monthe 2nd year under Puyi’s rule(copy)
(Photo 1)

In November 1907 (10th month of the 33th year under Emperor Guangxu), Zhili’s education governor Lu Jing (also known as Muzhai) began to build Zhili library. His goal was to "save the quintessence of Chinese culture; advertise the Chinese culture; facilitate school education; and promote public education" (See Photo 1). Zhili library was officially opened on June 9, 1908 (Day 11, 5th month of the 34th year under Emperor Guangxu). The library was located in the Zhili Academic Institute on Hebei Dajing Road (now Zhongshan Road, Hebei District). At the beginning, the collection included 1342 books originally displayed in the Tianjin Education Museum donated by Mr Yan Fansun; over 10 thousand books provided by the Zhili government; and over 120 thousand books thanks to the earmarked budget made possible by the education governor. Then Mr Yan Fansun donated another 1200 books and Mr Xu Shichang, governor of Northeast China, also made donations (See Photo 2). In its early stages, the library had nearly 200 thousand books. Zhili Library Bibliography contained 32 volumes, showing all initial collections of the library (Photo 3).


Xu Shichang, governor of Northeast China,

donated books to Zhili Library in the 34th

year under Emperor Guangxu’s rule(1908)(Photo 2)

Booklist Compiled in 1912(Photo 3)

In 1913 (the 2nd year of the Republic of China), the library moved to a building in the north of Zhongshan Park, thus possessing an independent venue (Photo 4). In September 1914, it established a Popular Library in the Dongma Road. Tianjin Library was at that time recognized as the China’s third largest library. In September 1918, the library was renamed "the First Provincial Library of Zhili ". Yantong (also known as Taisun) was appointed as the director of the library. In 1928, the library changed its name to "the First Provincial Library of Hebei." In July 1937, the Japanese invaders occupied Tianjin and took over the library. They renamed it "the Second Library of the Special City of Tianjin". In 1945, after the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, the library changed its name to "Tianjin Library of Hebei Province". At that time, only over 100,000 Chinese books and 4,000 foreign books were left. Due to financial constraints, business at the library stood stagnant until the PLA liberated Tianjin.

Zhili Library(Photo 4)


Tianjin Municipal Library
(Photo 5)

In the spring of 1929, the Special City of Tianjin built a municipal library, and developed the "Municipal Library Program Outline". Wang Xianbin, a city gentry, enthusiastically sponsored the library business. He sold his 114-room house at Nankai Yang Garden to the library at a very low price. On June 20, 1931, the library held its opening ceremony (Photo 5). In 1937 after Tianjin was occupied by the Japanese troops, the library changed its name to "The First Library of the Special City of Tianjin ". After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War in 1945, the library restored its original name "Tianjin Municipal Library." (Photo 6)



Charter of Tianjin Library(Photo 8)



General Introduction of Tianjin Municipal Library compiled in 1935(Photo 6)
After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, people from all walks of life in Tianjin enthusiastically promoted the establishment of a large-scale library. In 1947, a Library Building Preparatory Committee was established. In April 1948, the municipal government designated the original French Concession Convention House to Tianjin Library as its venue. The venue was partly open in April 1948 (Photo 7) (Photo 8). By the eve of the liberation of Tianjin, the city had only 3 remaining public libraries: one provincial library, one municipal library and Tianjin Library newly built in 1948, all of which were on the brink of closing down. In 1949, after the liberation of Tianjin, the libraries gradually merged into "Tianjin People's Library ". The venue was at No. 12 Chengde Road. (Photo 9)


Tianjin Library(Photo 7)

In January 1952, the Tianjin Municipal People's Government appointed Li Jiye, the then deputy director of the Municipal Culture Bureau as the concurrent curator of the Tianjin People’s Library. In July the same year, Huang Yusheng, professor of Nankai University was appointed curator.
    The newly-merged Tianjin Library boasted a collection of about 400,000 books, a number which has now reached 3.2 million, thus becoming one of the provincial public libraries with relatively abundant collections in China. Since China’s liberation in 1949, Tianjin Library has combined the purchase of new books with the collection of local literature, embracing donations of books from the public, especially book collectors including Ren Fengbao, Zhou Shutao, Zhang Shucheng, Ye Shifu, Gu Weijun, Shi Jingyi, who donated a large number of Chinese and foreign language books.


General Reading Room,

Tianjin People’s Library(Photo 9)


Bibliography Donated by Renowned

Tianjin Book Collectors

Zhou Shutao and Ren Fengbao(Photo 10)

In 1982, Tianjin People's Library was renamed Tianjin Library. In 1991, the Fukang Road Library, TJL at No.15 Fukang Road was opened. In October 2011, the Haihe Education Park Library, TJL at N0.1 Xinhui Road, Haihe Education Park in Jinnan District was officially opened to the public. In May 2012, another branch, the Cultural Center of Tianjin Library at N0. 58 Pingjiang Road in Hexi District was available. Today, in terms of scale, Tianjin Library, with one main Library and three sub-libraries has taken on a leading position among provincial public libraries nationwide.

Cultural Center, TJL (Photo 11) is the main library           (Photo 11)

area jointed designed by Japan’s Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop and Tianjin Urban Planning & Design Institute, the structure covers a floor area of 57,000 square meters with five floors above the ground and another one underneath. Intended to be built into a "wisdom park", the cultural center emphasizes that libraries are the carriers of wisdom. It should become a true Eden for knowledge shared by both the elders and the young. Inside the building, there are seven lighting atriums whose design combines the reading function, meaning that library is the paradise of knowledge. The architecture is concise and modern and has unique technical design such as disaster prevention, energy conservation and book circulation. Inside the building is a large asymmetric open space. There is a corridor-style shared space connecting the north and south on the first floor, with two big open entrances facing the northern lakeside square and the southern urban space respectively. People can have free entry to the library. The Cultural Center Library of Tianjin Library aims to provide reading service and popular literature service for citizens. The Cultural Center Library houses a collection of 6 million books and its open-stack reading includes one million books, 3,500 kinds of journals and 500 kinds of newspapers. The Cultural Center library covers all the functions of the provincial library, including the borrowing and reading of books, journals and newspapers, appreciation of audio-visual materials, processing and utilization of digital resource, consulting of reference book and historical documents, exhibition of rare books, taking care, sorting out and repairing ancient books, service for readers with visual impairment and children readers as well as consulting government information. All is to provide a comprehensive service environment of public library.

Apart from the traditional service functions such             (Photo 12)

as reading, ancient classics collection and literature service, there are music library and four newly added areas including music training and teaching area, music popularizing, experiencing and appreciating area, professional appreciation and deep experience area and music materials collection area. All is targeted to popularize the art of music, spread propriety and music culture, improve public appreciation level for refined art, expand art and culture consumer groups in Tianjin and promote the standard and level of library service so that the library can further play its function of social education.
    Tianjin Library of Fukang Road (See Photo 12) is located to the north of the beautiful Tianjin Water Park and is situated in the Tianjin Culture, Education and Scientific Research Planning Area. The library covers an area of nearly 50 acres and the building area is 32,000 square meter,containing a collection of over 5 million books. The general layout of this building is of a buildings complex, with stacks on higher floors and reading rooms on lower ones. The library floor plan looks like the Chinese character “工” and front elevation  “山”. It is strictly symmetrical, well arranged and rich in traditional features of Chinese culture. The Fukang Road Library aims to become the professional information service center. On the one hand, it provides popular professional literature service. On the other hand, it actively develops professional literature deep processing service. Based on meeting the public demand for professional information, the library is trying to explore the new model of professional information service of public library.
    Tianjin Library of Haihe Education Park (See Photo         (Photo 13)

13) is located at the heart of Haihe Education Park, Jinnan District, Tianjin. Tianjin Library of Haihe Education Park has beautiful scenery and a strong academic atmosphere. The total area is 32,000 square meter and houses a collection of one million books. The library is aimed to become the center of cultural quality education for college students and mainly focuses on providing reading materials of social science and arts. The library is to meet the basic reading needs of teachers and students there and local residents. The establishment of Haihe Education Park Library is a major initiative of building the public culture service system together by public culture system and educational system.
    The Culture Center Library, Fukang Road Library and Haihe Education Park Library together form Tianjin Library Group, with a total area of 120,000 square meter, open-stack readings of 2.46 million, reading seats of over 5,700 and a total collection of 12 million books, topping the list among provincial public library in China.