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 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. \"