After two years of refurbishment, the Pingtung County Library reopened its doors on Aug. 28. Surrounded by the greenery in the Millennium Park in Pingtung City, the building has quickly become the city’s latest landmark.
According to Pingtung Country Government Cultural Affairs Department, the new library, which positions itself as “our library,” has 700 seats and a collection of 400,000 volumes, increased from the original 150,000 books. The library uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology throughout its collection, and introduces Taiwan’s first smart shelf for book returns, in addition to the 24-hour drive-through book return system.
Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an says the library will function as Pingtung’s central library and integrate the resources of 33 township libraries and school and community reading groups, working together to help Pingtung residents enhance their appreciation of literature.
Photo: Luo Hsin-chen, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報記者羅欣貞
According to Malone Chang, the architect who designed the new library, unlike with other public libraries, the refurbishment of Pingtung County Library is based on the existing building and did not involve tearing down the original structure. This not only preserves the culture and maintains an emotional bond with the building, but “the renovation enabled us to keep the concrete, which otherwise would take over 100 years to decompose, in place.”
Each floor is carefully designed for different ages and ethnic groups, with the fourth floor dedicated to Pingtung’s literature and cultural diversity, displaying the works of local writers and books in Southeast Asian languages.
The library has also rearranged the American Shelf originally set up in the Pingtung County Cultural Office Library 5 years ago, displaying books on American society, culture, geography, history and stories provided by the American Institute in Taiwan.
The Reading Festival in Pingtung opened on Sept. 4 and runs through Nov. 1, featuring talks by writers and chefs, cultural tours and “locomotive libraries” converted from “blue train“ railway cars.
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
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