China - Libraries and museums

The National Library in Beijing (founded in 1909) is the largest in China, with over 22 million volumes, including more than 291,000 rare ancient Chinese books and manuscripts. The Chinese Academy of Sciences Central Library, in Beijing, has a collection of 6.2 million volumes, with branches in Shanghai, Lanzhou, Wuhan, and Chengdu. The Capital Library in Beijing (2.6 million volumes) is the city's public library and operates lending, reference, and children's services. The Shoudou Library, also in Beijing, has 2.35 million volumes.

Small lending libraries and reading rooms can be found in factories, offices, and rural townships. The library of Beijing University, with over four million volumes, is the largest university library. Other important university collections are at Nanjing University in Nanjing (3.2 million volumes), Fudan University in Shanghai (3.6 million volumes), and Qinghua University in Beijing (2.5 million volumes). The Central Institute of Nationalities in Beijing—one of dozens of private institutions with libraries—has a collection of 800,000 volumes, including 160 foreign-language journals.

China has a wealth of about 1,000 museums, most of them cultural in nature. The Imperial Palace Museum in Beijing houses collections of art, sculpture, silk fabric, and furniture. The Museum of the Chinese Revolution, on Tiananmen Square, has exhibits of the revolutionary movement in China from the Opium War to the founding of the PRC. In Shanghai is the Museum of Art and History, with some of the country's outstanding archaeological and art collections. Many museums are memorials to Chinese artists and writers, and house collections of their work. China also has 500 historical sites with exhibitions. With the return of Hong Kong to China, the country gained the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the University Museum and Art Gallery, the Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Hong Kong Space Museum.

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