A draft law specifying the government’s role in strengthening public library functions, has been approved by the State Council.
“It’s very important for a country to develop nationwide reading, which is inseparable from the popularity of public libraries,” said Premier Li Keqiang at the State Council executive meeting on April 19.
The Premier linked the success of Israel in innovation to its high numbers of public libraries.
“Although China is the world’s second largest economy, there is still a long way to go in the construction of public libraries,” said the Premier.
At the press conference after the conclusion of the annual legislative sessions in 2015, Premier Li said he hoped nationwide reading would become a ubiquitous social habit.
Since 2014, the concept of nationwide reading has been included in the government work reports. This year’s government work report has replaced “encouraging nationwide reading” with “striving to promote nationwide reading,” showing the central government’s increased focus.
“Public libraries play an important role in promoting nationwide reading. Since ancient times, reading has been valued and promoted in China. Now we should pay more attention to this work and efforts should be made to build better public libraries,” Premier Li said.
The Premier also urged integrated development of online and offline platforms for public libraries to share their resources with the public.
He also stressed the need for proper storage and use of rare books in public libraries and encouraged books to be exhibited to give the public, especially children, a chance to witness the country’s excellent culture in person.