Chinese library keeping up

The LA Times has a neat Story on The Capital Library a 22-story library in Beijing.To keep abreast of the times, the Chinese library recently added computer rooms for Internet use and access to its electronic holdings nlc.gov.cn. Though the library must overcome a reputation for user-unfriendliness that \"is legendary,\" according to China\'s own state-run news agency. Of course all the libraries here in the US are known for their legendary user-friendliness!
\"The central government will provide 80% of the money, leaving the library to scrounge up the remaining 20%, officials say.


It is a huge undertaking for a library whose budget last year, apart from the digitalization project, amounted to a mere $17 million. That had to cover the salaries of 1,300 employees as well as pay for upkeep and new acquisitions.


By contrast, the U.S. Library of Congress boasts a budget this year of about $400 million--more than 20 times the Chinese library\'s--and 4,200 employees, who serve 1 million in-person users a year and log 60 million requests on the library\'s Web site every month. \"

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