Boasting an incredible storage of 12 million books, the National Library of China is one of the largest libraries in the world. Located in the capital of China, Beijing, the library’s grand reading room can accommodate up to over 2000-seated guests.
The National Library of China owes its impressive architecture to the following two reputable firms – KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten and East China Architectural Design Institute. It is no surprise that many architects and designers from all over the world are drawn to this library’s jaw-dropping design.
While entrance to the library is completely free for all, there are a few steps that you will have to take before being granted admission. To avoid disappointments, we urge you to read on to find out what is required of you before making a special trip to National Library of China. It will be worth the while, we promise.
ALL BAGGAGE TO BE PLACED IN LOCKERS
Visitors with baggage will have to place them in the library’s lockers. The lockers are free to use, and can be accessed right beneath the staircase that leads to the main entrance.
A receipt-like paper will be dispensed to you with the number of your locker printed on it. After you place your belongings in there, do remember to keep the “receipt” as you would need it to retrieve your belongings after.
OR SAFEGUARD YOUR BAG WITH THE STAFF
Those with laptops can approach the library staff at the locker room. The staff member will pass you a numbered tote bag (a property of National Library of China) for you to place your laptop and other valuables in.
You have to pass your personal bag to the supervisor for safeguarding, while you proceed into the library upstairs with the library’s tote and your personal items. Returning of the library’s tote will allow you to reclaim your bag from the administrator after.
PASSPORTS ARE REQUIRED FOR FOREIGNERS
So you have gotten your bag stashed away in the locker or swopped it for the library’s tote and passed through the security scans (similar to those at international airports). But that is only the beginning!
We hope you did not forget your passport and that you are at least above 16 years old. Note that driving license and other identification cards are unfortunately not recognised at the registration counter.
YOU NEED TO CREATE A VISITOR PASS
Now you might be puzzled, but all visitors have to create a reader pass at the registration counter before being granted entrance to the library’s reading hall. Upon filling in a lengthy form and providing your passport for proof of identity, you will finally be given a reader’s card.
The card has to be swiped at all entrances to enter the library’s reading halls. Those without a reader’s card will be denied entrance to the reading hall.
NO PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE READING HALL
There are signs at each entrance of the reading hall (on both level one and two) indicating that photography of the library is disallowed. However, if pictures are your main priority, you can simply head to the top floor (reading passes are not required there but baggage are still disallowed) for an alternative view of the library’s reading hall.
About the writer:
Hui Jun Ng is a staff writer for ladyironchef. She previously worked in the food and marketing industry. She loves traveling and enjoys exploring underrated destinations. In her free time, you will find her indulging in coffee and her all time favourite local dish – bak chor mee.