November 6, 2017 -- Libaries 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.