The Library of Congress has begun to receive donated books from the National Library of China through the Window of China Project. Founded in 2006, the Window of China Project donates books to national libraries and other institutions around the world.
Associate Librarian for Library Services Deanna Marcum and Yan Xiandong of the National Library of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2008 to formalize the project. According to the agreement, the National Library of China will donate approximately 3,000 publications to the Library of Congress over the course of the project, which lasts through 2010.
Asian Division Chief Hwa-Wei Lee has provided the National Library of China with a list of selected titles. To date, the Library has received more than 2,000 books covering many subjects such as history, literature, archaeology, fine arts, travel and ethnic nationalities. The donated works have also included several lavishly illustrated albums manifesting the cultural abundance and diversity of the Chinese people.
To celebrate the Library’s participation in this project, a ceremony was held on Feb. 12 in the Library’s Asian Reading Room. A small selection of donated books was on display.
The year 2008 marks the 80th anniversary of the Library’s Chinese Section. In 1928, Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam, with congressional approval, established the Division of Chinese Literature, the forerunner of the Chinese Section. The Chinese collection, which began in 1869 with a gift of 933 books from Chinese Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1874) as part of an exchange authorized by the Congress, now totals close to 1 million volumes. The collection is considered to be the largest and most comprehensive outside of China.
For more information about the Library’s Asian collections go to www.loc.gov/rr/asian/.