Discover the Shanghai Library with LTL
Are you looking for the perfect place to study?
Home is too distracting, and coffee shops can get expensive if you order a drink every day (Western coffee comes at Western prices!)
The Shanghai Library (上海图书馆), open every day from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM, is the perfect spot to study, minimise distractions, and save money!
Shanghai Library – How to get there
Shanghai Library – What’s inside
Shanghai Library – Do I need a library card
Shanghai Library – How do I get a library card
Shanghai Library – Library Tips
Shanghai Library – Conclusion
How do I get there?
The library is located at No. 1555, Huahai Middle Road in Xuhui District.
The Chinese address is 徐汇区 淮海中路1555号.
But if you’re taking the metro, you should get off at the conveniently named Shanghai Library station (上海图书馆), on Line 10. From there, you can exit at Exits 2 or 3, which lead out to either sides of the library.
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What’s inside the library?
The library building looks very impressive, and there are large open windows that provide plenty of natural lighting. Green plants are also used in the decor, which help to soften the hard stone architecture.
When you enter the library, you must go through a security checkpoint.
However, it’s very fast and takes only a few extra seconds. The security guards also seem very relaxed!
The library has several floors. On the main floor, there is a Starbucks and bookstore that sells a few drinks. Downstairs, there is a cafeteria-style dining area in the basement, along with another small coffee shop.
The library is divided into 24 reading rooms, organised by categories, such as tourism or law.
Rooms are very clearly marked, in both Chinese and English.
Also, the library bathrooms are very nice for being in a public place! They have real toilets (not squatting toilets) with paper towels/toilet paper and soap!
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Do I need a library card?
The short answer is no…but!
Without a library card (读者证), you can’t access most areas of the library.
The library has several floors, but you need a card to get anywhere beyond the first floor. Additionally, the library provides free WiFi, but you need to enter your library card number to access it!
If you don’t have a library card, you can get into the general reading room (on the first floor), the bookstore (which has a few small tables to sit at), and the downstairs cafeteria.
So if you plan on going to the library to study, I would highly recommend getting a library card!
I know from personal experience that you can’t study in the bookstore without buying a drink (which comes from a machine, nothing fancy), and the general reading room has always been full when I’ve visited.
But don’t be intimidated! Getting a card is easy, and the instructions are clearly written out in English.
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How do I get a library card?
To get a card, all you really need is your passport. Bring your actual passport (not a picture or photocopy), and on the main floor of the library, you’ll find some computers in a row near the staircase and escalator.
Here, you can apply to get a library card.
When you get your card, you can choose from three options:
- Card with reference/research reading function: this allows you access to the reading rooms, and you can request certain books.
- Card with general book-borrowing function/central library card: in addition to giving you access to all the reading rooms, your borrowing privileges are upgraded, and you can use other Shanghai district and county branch libraries. However, this option requires a 100 RMB deposit.
- Card with reference/research book-borrowing function: this last option requires a Shanghai residence ID and a deposit of 1000 RMB, so this one is likely not your best choice.
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If you mostly plan to study at the library, the first and most basic option should be enough.
On the computer, all you to have to do is choose your option of library card and enter some information.
Then you’ll get a piece of paper to bring to the Registration Desk in the lobby. Bring them your passport and you should be good to go!
If you choose the second option, you’ll receive a slip of paper that you should save and bring back in order to get your deposit back.
You’ll get your card right away, and you can immediately use to it to get into the reading rooms.
Here are some of my personal tips about visiting the library!
In my experience, the library is usually very full.
Most rooms only have 1 or 2 open spots at desks or tables.
So if you plan to study with a friend, don’t count on being able to sit together.
You also might need to go up several floors to find an empty spot.
Additionally, the reading rooms are very very quiet! Maybe that should go without saying, but there is hardly even a whisper heard in these rooms!
So you won’t be able to take phone calls or even have a quiet conversation with a friend.
Other library visitors don’t take kindly to this, especially since many of them seem to have taken up residence at their desk (sleeping, eating, and/or drinking).
This last tip is really just for fun, but the library also has a machine that sanitizes your books for you!
I had never seen anything like it before, so if you visit, you might want to check it out!
The library is a fantastic place to study or get some work done. It provides WiFi, snacks, drinks (including a water dispenser where you can refill your water bottle!), desks, and lots of natural lighting!
Just make sure you get a library card first, otherwise you risk not being able to find an empty spot in the general reading room or bookstore.
Personally, the library is one of my favorite study spots, so make sure to check it out sometime during your stay in Shanghai!
Have you ever visited the Shanghai Library? What did you think? Tell us about your experiences at the library in the comment section below!
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