Libraries are treasure houses of human knowledge, window of civilization as well as the social university for common people. Libraries contribute to the development of socialistic cultural undertakings symbolizing social progress and level of civilization.
Zhejiang has been well known as ¡°The place of cultural relics¡±. The progress of libraries boasts a long history. Public libraries emerged early in modern times in the province and played an important role in the country. The history of Zhejiang Library can be traced to Hangzhou Library established in 1900 and served as the first public library in China. Guyue Library established in 1902 was the first private-founded public library. Jiaxing Library and Haining Library founded later were also known as early established county and city-level libraries in China. However, during the Anti-Japanese War, Zhejiang libraries suffered serious destruction.
After the founding of New China, the undertakings of libraries returned to developing track. And since 1996 it has made rapid progress. Facilities, service quality and managing level have been substantially improved. A province-city-county three-level public library network has also been set up. Till the end of 2004 there are 84 public libraries in the province including 1 provincial library, 3 vice-provincial libraries, 11 city libraries and 69 county libraries. They cover a total area of 359,000 square meters and offer a collection of 20,870,000 volumes.
Along with the implementation of the provincial strategic goal of ¡°develop cultural industry and build a great cultural province¡±, libraries in Zhejiang province are marching toward modernization, digitalization and network, providing information and contributing to the construction of an advanced province in economy and culture.