Taipei Public Library, China
Address:3F., No. 125, Sec. 2, Jian-Guo S Rd., Da-An District, TAIPEI 10659 Taiwan, China
Phone:+(886) (2) 27552823 ext.2302
Fax: +(886) (2) 27010721
From 1930 to 1947 with donations from local celebrities and enthusiastic people concerned with social developments, four libraries in Sungshan, Chenpei, Kuting and Chengxi districts were set up as the forerunners of Taipei Public Library. Later on October 25, 1952 the four libraries were merged in accordance with the “Organization Regulations of Urban and County Libraries in Taiwan Province” and officially renamed as Taipei Public Library.
During the past 50-odd years TPL has been expanded from the aforementioned four early libraries to the current main library with 41 branch libraries, 11 neighborhood reading rooms. In addition, there are two Intelligent Libraries and a branch under construction, and two more branch libraries in preparation. In terms of book loan operations, manual procedures have been replaced by the automatic computerized management system and will be worked out further by the newest system that is being transformed at present. All these developments show that TPL is a continuously growing strong organism.
As far as the organization of Taipei Public Library is concerned, there is one director and under the director there are one deputy director, one secretary, four sections, six offices/rooms (including the secretariat), branch libraries and neighborhood reading rooms. As to the personnel, there are at present 325 staff, 7 guards, 35 technicians, manual laborers and drivers as well as 32 contracted employees. And concurrently, there are about 1,200-odd volunteers serving at TPL’s different reading sectors.
The main building of Taipei Public Library is located near the Da’an Forest Park with a total land of 6,000-odd hectares and an outward shape like a book with opening pages. The main library is an important place not only for the overall service planning and administrative management but also for service to all kinds of its readers especially during holidays when there are crowds of readers going to and fro. The Small World (a sector with collections of children’s and juveniles’ books in English) and the audio-visual room have had especially the largest collections and facilities available at public libraries in Taiwan area.
By the end of 2008, there had been 5,288,128 books, 217,197 non-print materials, 7,245 titles of journals and 1,450 newspapers.
There are 41 branch libraries deeply rooted in various communities either near the schools, in residential areas or on the floors of markets nearby. With the online operations, the utilization of one-for-all readers’ card valid at all of TPL’s libraries, the system of uniformed book loan and return and the standardized management, all branch libraries are connected with the main library as chain stores with a perfect information service network. There are eleven public reading rooms that serve as mini libraries. In spite of their small space, they provide standard service to the public.
In the light of the conceptions of the classified collections and the subject service, TPL and its 41 branch libraries have special collections. All these special collections are developed with characteristic features for providing the related information and extending the relevant service.
The featured subjects in TPL’s main library and each branch library are collected with reference to the different fields of study, information categories, service targets, knowledge development or social topics and also with the overall considerations on readers’ requirements. For instance, “comics” are special collections at Zhonglun Branch Library, “Taipei historical relics” at Wanhua Branch Library, “European culture” at Tianmu Branch Library, “aboriginal culture” at Nangang Branch Library and “the mainland of China information” at Wanxing Branch Library.
To cope with the advent of the international global village and stimulate the children and juveniles to increase their reading, speaking and writing abilities of the foreign languages, especially English, TPL has exclusively established the “Small World” for them at the basement of the main library. Good readings, various kinds of audio-visual and multi-media information mostly in English have been positively collected from countries all over the world for the children and juveniles to create an abundant environment for reading English-written books.
The Qiming Branch Library is the first library in Taiwan area, set up exclusively for the visually handicapped. Its collections mainly cover the recorded books, the Braille books, dual-vision books, books in large printing and the Braille electronic books. There are also vision-enlarging machines and computers for the blind available for those visually handicapped readers. Besides, there is the monthly-published recorded periodical “The Voice of Brightening” for free prescriptions by the visually handicapped. An exclusive three-channels line is installed for free newspaper reading and a recorded telephone line is also made available for connections in their daily life so that the visually handicapped readers can enjoy the life information and the learning resources.
(Photos provided by Taipei Public Library, China.)