The “Window of Shanghai” is a cultural exchange project based on book donations to overseas readers. Initiated in 2002 by the Shanghai Library, the “Window of Shanghai”, as an integral part of the "China Book International" (CBI), aims to introduce the Chinese culture and to promote the Chinese civilization and the charms of Shanghai by providing the overseas readers with more latest Chinese publications. Nowadays it grows into a project worldwide to have people’s interest get closer to library activities and enrich exchange in general and the Shanghai Library activities in particular, helping to strengthen the cultural bridges between all the nations that take part.
By the end of October 2016, the project has donated 93,274 volumes of books to 138 participating institutions, including public libraries, university libraries, school libraries, information centers, research institutes and so on, in 66 countries and regions all over the world.
The "Window of Shanghai" was orchestrated to make up for the insufficiency of Chinese language holdings in overseas libraries, and to provide overseas readers with more access to the latest Chinese publications. As feedbacks reveal, these donations have helped strengthen the bonds between overseas Chinese and their motherland, while assisting foreign readers to cultivate a better understanding of China and its culture. The expressed hopes for more Chinese reading materials in foreign lands is also contributive to the popularity of these gift books, whose arrival have timely met the local demands to learn the language and to explore the culture.
The titles range from arts, economy, people, philosophy, literature, culture, folk traditions and history to nature, cookery, traditional Chinese medicine and architecture, of ancient and contemporary Shanghai and China. Most of them are published in either Chinese or English or both, with additions in French, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish and Vietnamese in order to fit the needs of readers of different mother tongues. All publications are acquired from the most recent domestic copyrights of Chinese publishing houses. Books on sinology, Asian or Chinese studies which published in Chinese only are gaining more popularity in recent years to suit the growing research demands abroad. Regularly, cooperation is expected to last 3 years, with 500 books comprising the first donation and 100 more at a yearly basis to ensure continuous growth of the collections. Bibliographic records of the donated books, as well as assistance in cataloguing are available on request.
Partners of the project are expected to manage donations in accordance with the reached agreement, and are asked to display books with a visible signage to promote the “Window of Shanghai” collection in special reading rooms or on open shelves of public reading area. For libraries challenged by limited space, books can be integrated into their own collections whereas a highlighted access to the book records in the online catalogue should be guaranteed. Also, the recipient libraries should assure appropriate storage, processing and management of these books, inform the local readers of the gift collections, and provide necessary convenience for reading or loans.
Feedbacks to the regular questionnaire surveys issued by the Shanghai Library should be returned in the form of statistics or analytic reports to indicate the circulation, the means of display/loans, the most popular subjects, and the keenest reader groups.
The “Window of Shanghai” has also been playing an active role in the foreign exchange activities of the Shanghai Municipality, attracting numerous media coverage and warmly greeted as “a bridge of friendship” that “not only delivers knowledge and wisdom but symbolizes friendship”.
The “Window of Shanghai” website, launched in 2007 and revised in 2011, is serving as a platform for promotion and communication while enabling management of the books that are held and have been sent out. It also provides gateways to the selected resources and service of the Shanghai Library.
In 2011, the Window also opened its account of Weibo, a twitter like service run by Sina.com, to broadcast breaking news and encourage dialogues of librarians and readers all over the world.
Starting from 2013, the "Window of Shanghai" conducted an innovation activity -- E-book Donation Services (http://windowofshanghai.library.sh.cn/eresources_en.html). At present, the site offers a total of 10,059 e-books, 227 reference books, 30 titles of newspapers and 7,563 titles of Chinese digital periodicals, with two types of logon: IP authentication and authorization account. This new e-book service is designed to make faster and more convenient services for overseas readers to access the latest publications from China and enjoy the most advanced electronic reading experience. Since then, the "Window of Shanghai" donated books consist of both print and electronic books.
In 2016, the "Window of Shanghai" WeChat Official Account was launched. This is Shanghai Library’s first international communication window via mobile client.
In the future, the “Window of Shanghai” will continue to improve the project management and partner maintenance, and be introduced to more and more overseas readers. The Shanghai Library are looking forward to more potential for resource sharing and business cooperation across the global library network made through this project.