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A window open to the world. Chen Xuyan International Cooperation Division, Shanghai Library. Window of Shanghai. Connecting People, Encouraging Understanding. The purpose of “Window of Shanghai”.

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a window open to the world

A window open to the world

Chen Xuyan

International Cooperation Division, Shanghai Library

window of shanghai
Window of Shanghai

Connecting People,

Encouraging Understanding


The purpose of “Window of Shanghai”

To make the newest Chinese publications available to the overseas Chinese around the world, so as to continue their own languages and cultural identities; and to accelerate their pace to integrate into the indigenous society.

To cater for the world’s desire to know more and better of China, for various reasons such as seeking business opportunities or sightseeing in the country.

To promote Shanghai Library itself through establishing cooperative relationships with libraries worldwide, on which base cooperation in a more comprehensive and in-depth manner could be developed.


Chinese migration in an international scenario

Total number of worldwide migrants has hit 175 million.

One out of every 35 persons, or 3 percent of the world population is an international migrant.

33 million overseas Chinese living throughout the world; more Chinese are going abroad as temporary students and workers.

91% of these Chinese are living in the nearby Southeast Asian countries, and developed countries such as U.S., Canada and European countries.

chinese publications outside china
Chinese publications outside China

Chinese publications take up a small overseas market share: only 3.21 million copies were exported during 1997~ 2003.

Overseas end readers are mostly Chinese people and sinologists.

Chinese books held by overseas libraries are often found worn-out, and outdated in content.

There are complaints about budget slash and the limitedness of Chinese publications to make a choice among overseas libraries.

There is increasing eagerness to import more newly published Chinese materials into library collection as well.


How does the program run?

Shanghai Library selects overseas libraries as partners and donates books. In this process all the expenses including book procurement and shipment are covered by Shanghai Library.

The program usually starts with 500~800 copies in the first year, and then 100 copies every year as addition, within an agreed period of time, normally 2 or 3 years, to ensure continued growth and development of the collection.

Feedback information should be provided by the partners, so that Shanghai Library can modify the scope of annual additions in the following years.

the gift books
The gift books

Date of Publication



Book List

History, architecture, economy, folk arts, tradition, philosophy, literature, cooking, tourism, medicine, language learning, popular science, politics, dictionaries & encyclopedias…

About past and present of China and Shanghai.

The gift books are not old ones that the library is to weed to free up its storage space

All of them are published in the recent 2 or 3 years.

Choice can be made on the basis of a book list including book title, publisher, year of the publication, format, ISBN.

Has included almost all the domestic publications that published with foreign languages.

Altogether 16 languages can be selected.

Most are published in Chinese and English, or in bilingual.

There are also French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Turkish and so on.

who are the partners
Who are the partners?

Libraries that haveformal or informal relationship with Shanghai Library

Major public libraries of the sister cities of Shanghai worldwide

University libraries that serves the general public along with the students and faculties

Any other library that can ensure the full accessibility of the donations to the local people is welcome

world s windows on china and shanghai





World’s windows on China and Shanghai

2005.2, The Public Library of The Hague, the Netherlands

2005.4, Bibliothèque de Montreal, Canada

2005.5, Cork City Library, Ireland

2005.5, Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon, France

2005.9, eThekwini Municipal Library of Durban, South Africa

2005.10, City Public Library of Gdansk, Poland

2005.10, City Library of Zagreb, Croatia

2006.4, The National Library of Hungary

2006.4, The Austrian National Library

2006.7, Queens Borough Public Library, N.Y., USA

2006.7, Nekrasov Central City Public Library, Moscow, Russia

2006.7, The Ohio State University Libraries, USA


2004.9, The National Library of Cuba

2004.9, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt

2004.10, The National Library of Czech Republic

2004.10, Göttingen State & University Library, Germany

2003.8, The City Library of Milan, Italy

2003.10, Russian State Library (Moscow)

2003.10, Tampines Regional Library of the National Library of Singapore


How to manage and promote the books?

Books can be centralized in a specifically allocated room or “corner”, on open shelves.

For libraries that are challenged by limited spaces, books can be integrated into the existing collections, in classifying orders.

Appropriate means to publicize the books to users are required, such as visible indicators or posters; bookplates or bookmarks attached to every book; promotions via library pamphlets, public announcement or library web sites, etc.


“Window of Shanghai” in sister city events

At the end of 2004 Shanghai Library proposed a motion to an annual plenary session convened by the city government, in order to formalize the “Window of Shanghai” as an inter-city cultural program.

It was reviewed carefully by Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office and Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Finance, and finally got approval when the session concluded.


中 国 上 海

Shanghai Municipal Peoples’ Government

Benefits from cooperating with the government:

Financial support;

Simplification of administrative procedures; exemption of custom duties when shipping books abroad;

Wider coverage by local media and more public awareness and attentions.

Help to find new partners.

collaborate with local publishers
Collaborate with local publishers

An agreement with Shanghai Press & Publishing Development Co. to bring a series “Cultural China” into collection of “Window of Shanghai”.

SPPD will become a big supplier of “Window of Shanghai”. Shanghai Library will review its new publications regularly and discuss with it to decide which titles to introduce.

partnership with the tourism sector
Partnership with the tourism sector

Agreement with Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative Commission to boost tourism in the coming years through cooperation around “Window of Shanghai”.

Shanghai Library will send photo albums titled "Touring in Shanghai"to its overseas partners of "Window of Shanghai".

cala list serve dissemination
CALA list serve dissemination

Publicize the program across the CALA (Chinese American Librarianship Association) list serve, an emailing list shared by Chinese librarians living and working in North America.

Add Your Text

Minneapolis Public Library of U.S., McGill University Library and Dr. John Archer Library of Regina University of Canada are going to be the next three homes to “Window of Shanghai”.


Still less than enough new publications every year to ensure an often update of the book list;

Too few multimedia materials are available, such as talking books, audio-visual items such as CD, VCD or DVD;

Add Your Text

Difficulties in classifying and cataloguing books with Chinese languages, so a certain number of potential partners eventually gave up ;

More human power and professional skills are in need.

good news
Good news

More importance has been attached by the library’s governing body, stress from short-handedness is being eased;

It is possible for the partners to have complimentary bibliographic records; Shanghai Library will help do this job;

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The central government has begun to paying more attention. A “Window on China” program is planned on the basis of the mode of “Window of Shanghai”.

please contact chen xuyan xychena@libnet sh cn

Thank You !

Please Contact: Chen Xuyan