Xicheng Bents on Building Liveable District
The district has built its “15-minute public reading network” by integrating libraries, lending book stations and reading spaces while utilising digital, self-service facilities.
Xicheng, as one of Beijing's functional core districts, boasts a wide range of cultural traditions and resources. In recent years, it has endeavoured to make itself an international choice for living. It has tailored diverse public reading spaces based on different conditions, increased green leisure space for residents, continuously enhanced its regional cultural appeal and built a more comfortable and welcoming environment to live in.
“Shuxiang Xicheng” is one of the four major goals of promoting Xicheng's culture. It has constructed the 15-minute public reading network by integrating the district's libraries, book stations in communities and distinctive reading spaces and the utilising the distribution of digital and self-service equipment, including self-service book borrowing and returning machines, a cloud reading platform and a digital document download platform. The district spares no effort in building a reading- centred compound public cultural space, to build a unique reading space tailored to residents.
Oracle-pleasant Reading Space, located in the East Second Building, No.1 Yard, Xiaxie Street of Xicheng, is the first community reading space in China converted from a public library. It mainly engages in community reading through its nearly 30,000-volume collection and its comprehensive service system that combines public lending, book reading, an audio space, children's space and coffee drinking. This 6,400-squaremetre reading space harmonises greenery, flowers, cultural creative products and various decorations and fuses environmental
friendliness with ingenuity, turning itself into “the most beautiful community bookstore.” For adult reading, the bookstore has an area of up to 200 square metres, artistically furnished, warm and decorated with all kind of cultural creative products. The children's reading space occupies 70 square metres, where children can enjoy reading and sharing stories.
The bookstore presents a new reading model that not only facilitates readers engaging in public reading and book lending, but also provides services like book selling, recommending new arrivals, reading activities and coffee and tea service. Readers are free to read at leisure, with access to the entire municipal reading network with only a library card, or enjoy customised services upon membership.
From 2015 to 2016, the Oracle-pleasant Reading Space saw its readership double in the past three years. This August alone, 320 library cards were issued, and its circulation reached 18,000. More people are setting foot in the space, attracted by its refined environment, services, selection of books, as well as around 260 “community-centred” activities including movie-watching salons, reading salons, chanting salons, life experience exchanges and storytelling gatherings.
More Xicheng residents have found a joy in reading in recent years, thanks to a wide range of featured reading spaces. They include: Oracle-pleasant Reading Space, rooted in communities and inventor of the concept of an “audio bookstore”; “Zhuandu Reading Space,” a new addition to the Pagoda of Monk Wansong that specifically focuses on books related to old Beijing; “White Cloud Reading Station,” which leans against water in the White Cloud Temple and provides interior space for book exchanges, and “Second Study” in Xuanyang Post House of Jin Zhongdu City Wall Ruins Park known for its parent-child reading.
These distinctive reading spaces have enriched residents' cultural life. Reading services are available within 15 minutes
“Sparing land for greenery” has been a leading principle for Beijing's urban layout. With Xicheng District's increased green space through demolition and spatial effects as a result of dredging, it has built for itself a complete ecological system. It stressed block planning, resorted to its abundant historical and cultural resources, and has accordingly built diverse cultural landscapes such as urban parks, outdoor museums and micro-parks based on different geographies. Xicheng now boasts several distinctive, culturally profound microparks, including the Jingyunyuan MicroPark with an atmosphere of Peking Opera, the Yijunyuan Micro-park, and the Longtou Well Micro-park with its vintage gardens. Dongchunshu Hutong promotes its operas, art, as well as its own charm.
Whether through reading spaces, or the increasing number of green spaces, Xicheng has proved itself capable of making the city more beautiful and suitable to live in. In the future, it will proceed in its cultural development, improve its urban environment and help build Beijing into an international and harmonious city.
Jinzhongdu Relic Park