Futuristic Chinese library defends use of ‘fake books’

The deputy director of a futuristic library in northern China has defended the building’s design after reports about the building went viral when it was revealed that many of its “books” were only designs printed on the walls.

The six-storey library in the coastal city of Tianjin – designed by the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and dubbed by some media as the most beautiful library in the country – was opened to the public early this month.

It soon made waves on the internet after photographs of its interior and white floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the main entrance hall circulated on social media.

However, the euphoria was short lived with stories about its ‘fake books’ soon making headlines around the world.

Liu Xiufeng, the deputy director of Tianjin Binhai Library, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the mix-up was because the plan finally approved by the authorities stated that the atrium would be used for circulation, sitting, reading and discussion, but omitted a request to store books on shelves.

“We can only use the hall for the purposes for which it has been approved, so we cannot use it as a place to put books,” Liu said, adding that they would probably soon have to remove all those temporarily on display.

China’s ‘most beautiful’ library ordered to shut over claims it provided pirated material and obscene content

Liu told the news website Thepaper.cn the library still had more than enough books to satisfy visitors.

“We are very capable of offering real books and most of the books are on the third floor,” Liu was quoted as saying.

An average of 15,000 visitors flocked to the library over the weekend, with about 200,000 books stored. The library hopes to house 1.2 million volumes in the future.

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