National Library of China – a sanctuary of silence in Beijing


Whether it is to re-live your student days or to look at work of architecture, a trip to the National Library of China is a must. With more than 24 million items, including rare books, foreign publications, historical documents, ancient, hand-written Buddhist scriptures, tablets, maps and diagrams in its collection, NLC is the 5th largest in the world at 1.8 million square feet of total floor area.

It is also one of the 24 magnificient libraries of the world which I blogged about a while back.

The new library building was co-architected by German architect, Jürgen Engel with an aim to house as many as 12 million books. It is also the largest digital resource of publications.

The roof was designed to resemble digital data storage device and the interiors are devoid of any columns, making it the reading room the heart of the structure, somewhat similar to a Chinese courtyard.


Sunlight streaming inside the reading room makes studying a pleasure


The old library building which is adjacent to the newly erected one


A picture of the Imperial Library of Peking, which was founded in 1909 by Qing Dynasty. It is located some distance away from the NLC.


A literary whirlpool that drags you inside


Nearly every table is occupied – it is no surprise the Chinese are so bright and capable


The old library building adjacent to the new one that opened ahead of Beijing Olympics


Stairwell, NLC


The reading hall from a lower floor


Row upon row of books – can you read them all in your lifetime?


Does this make you want to return to university days?


A different view of the library


NLC is the largest digital resource of publications

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