New library in Tianjin is a bit of a scam

Travel news


By |

Well done China, you’ve successfully trolled the book lovers of the world

Not all is as it seems at Tianjin’s new library – it holds very few books.

The elegant shelves in the main hall of the temple to reading are not double stacked, but have visual representations of the tomes printed on the back. The odd book is scattered on a shelf to make it look more realistic.

Most of the "books in the beautiful Binhai library are only printed images on the shelves — MVRDV tianjinMost of the “books” in the beautiful Binhai library are only printed images on the shelves —Ossip van Duivenbode

AFP reported that Chinese authorities didn’t allow librarians to fill the main hall of Binhai library with books. Liu Xiufeng, the library’s deputy director, said that the books are kept upon traditional shelves in other rooms.

Even the few books on display in the main hall were only temporary, and had to be removed. The atrium is only for “circulation, sitting, reading and discussion.”

Tianjin Library – Ossip van DuivenbodeEven without the books, the library is beautiful – Ossip van Duivenbode

Binhai library in Tianjin was beautifully designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV. They had planned for the hall to be full of books.

However, construction was rushed, the plan was abandoned against their wishes, and a decision was taken to use “perforated aluminium plates printed to represent books”.

Every weekend, the library receives 15,000 visitors to peruse the 200,000 books that it does hold. Chinese authorities do plan to reach the goal of 1.2m books in the future.

Visitors have also been having trouble navigating the irregularly shaped stairs and there have been a number of falls. One security guard told Yahoo: “People trip a lot. Last week an old lady slipped and hit her head hard. There was blood.”