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Civilian library aims to boost reading in China

Reporter: Tang Bo 丨 CCTV.com

04-23-2016 06:00 BJT

Full coverage: World Book and Copyright Day

In a world of smartphones and tablet devices, reading from the printed page seems to be falling out of favor in China. But in Beijing, a new library hopes to reverse this trend, and use a new way to revive the love of reading.

This is a library where books have legs. The Civilian Mobile Library is the first and the only of its kind in Beijing as unlike ordinary libraries that lend books, this one instead gives them away.

This is how the books here become mobile: you choose a book you like, register, and then take it home, WITHOUT paying any money. What you need to do when you finish reading, is pass the book to another person. The idea is to put each of the library’s books into as many hands as possible.

So far, the library has given away more than 80,000 books since its establishment in 2010.

"There should be more libraries like this where you can find the book you like and pass it to other people."

"For us students, paper books are getting more and more expensive, so I'm quite happy to see that there is this platform where you can get the book you like for free."

39-year-old Xu Dawei, who currently runs his own advertising company, is the founder of the library.

Coming from a poor village in East China, Xu says it was reading that changed his life and helped him settle down in Beijing.

“I used to study accounting, but I didn't like it. I self-studied marketing and advertising skills by reading, and then founded my own advertising company. If it can change my life, it can change anyone else's too. So that inspired me to found this library to give away books,” said Xu Dawei, founder of Civilian Mobile Library.

Currently, around 80 percent of the books here are bought by Xu Dawei, the rest are from donations.

Without any sponsors, it costs more than 10,000 yuan a month to keep the library going.

But Xu Dawei insists on doing it.

He hopes to make the library more mobile in the future and be able to send free books across China, and one day even beyond.

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