Monday, February 2, 2009

MIS: library in America and China

But even dearer to me was the library.......My grandmother would take me to that library weekends and summers and sit quietly with me in the children's area, where I obsessed over the one book she would let me take home. (A personal account of unequal access, Tracie D. Hall, 30-31)

I was very impressed by this part because the description given by the author reminds me of my childhood. I was extremely interested in reading books when I was a child. However, my grandmother would take me to a bookstore not the library in summers or weekends. In China, every city usually only has one or two public libraries. For example, in my hometown Dalian with a population of 620 million, there is only one public library which is located very far from my home and it will take me more than 1 hour to get there by bus. So only a small number of people in China benefits from the library. A lot of people choose to go to the bookstore nearby to read or buy books instead of going to the library "far far away" and I have to say that the prices of books (especially the textbook) are much more acceptable than here. Moreover, the function of library here is different from what I had thought when I was in China. The libraries in America sometimes are more like a club for me while people can choose to study or talking with each other or drinking coffee or even shopping. The library in China is only a place for studying and people usually are not allowed to talk in library. I think the Chinese government definitely should put more money in building libraries in China, and more important, the library in China should not just be a study room but it should be more like a home or a platform for people to communicate with each other.

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