Libraries in Henan See Funding Shortages
    2011-02-24 18:29:02     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xu
 

The undated photo show the public library of central China's Henan province. [File photo: Chinanews.con]

Related: Gov't to Fund Free Entry to Art Galleries, Libraries

A number of public libraries at the city and county levels in central China's Henan Province have faced funding shortages, China National Radio reports.

The lack of new books has caused the libraries to lose some patrons, said a retired medical employee surnamed Sun in Nanyang city.

Liu Feng, the librarian at the Nanyang Public Library, said his annual budget for new book purchases had been cut to 50,000 yuan (US$7,600) from 250,000 yuan (US$38,000) last year.

Built in the 1950s, the public library of Nanyang is the fourth-largest library in Henan Province with eight reading rooms and more than 600,000 books. But its current budget is only enough funds to order some periodicals and newspapers. The library has not purchased any new book for a few years, Liu said.

Most books housed in the library are so out-of-date and worn-out that the library has seen a rapid decrease in the number of patrons. The daily number of readers has dropped to a few dozen from more than 1,000.

There are 142 libraries and 173 cultural centers in Henan Province, many of which have faced similar funding shortages, the report said.

The Chinese government announced a plan in February to finance public libraries, art galleries and cultural centers so they will be free of charge for visitors.

All public libraries and cultural centers across the country will be open to visitors for free this year, according to a joint statement issued by the culture and finance ministries.

By the end of 2011, there will be no charge to visit public art galleries at the state and provincial levels. All public art galleries nationwide will offer free admission by the end of 2012.

In Henan, a less developed province, governments at all levels will allocate funds to support free admission to libraries and cultural centers, said Yang Liping, the head of provincial department of culture.

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