Pub­lic should have ac­cess to school li­braries

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 11 Comment Editorial • Opinion -

LI­BRARIES IN uni­ver­si­ties and sci­en­tific re­search in­sti­tutes should be ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic, ac­cord­ing to a new law on pub­lic li­braries adopted by the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, China’s top leg­is­la­ture, on Wednesday. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Satur­day:

Com­pared with their pub­lic coun­ter­parts, univer­sity li­braries, the num­ber of which is es­ti­mated to be at least 2,914, have a lot more books, but only stu­dents and teach­ing staff have ac­cess to them as most univer­sity li­braries are not open to the pub­lic.

Buy­ing books is a so­lu­tion for en­thu­si­as­tic read­ers, but it can prove costly and some books might be out of print or hard to ob­tain.

Li­braries, be they pub­lic or univer­sity ones, should be run for the pub­lic good. Open­ing univer­sity li­braries to the pub­lic, on the con­di­tion that they are not ex­posed to dis­or­der, is a wel­come move that can make the best use of their books and en­cour­age read­ing.

Most Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties are funded with pub­lic money, as are their li­braries. So it is only right that their books be avail­able to the pub­lic as long as the cam­pus man­age­ment is not dis­rupted and the in­ter­ests of stu­dents and teach­ers are not un­der­mined.

Flex­i­ble man­age­ment is there­fore needed. For ex­am­ple, non-stu­dent en­try should be lim­ited when stu­dents are pre­par­ing for up­com­ing ex­ams. Dur­ing off-peak days in which most stu­dents have lec­tures and class to at­tend, the pub­lic could be granted wider ac­cess to li­braries.

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