The streamlined exterior of the
National Taichung Library
makes it looks like a sailing
The comfortable, fourth-floor
reading room allows book
lovers to enjoy their favorite
The beautiful, new, state-of-the-art National Taichung Library
Words by Jan Ling
Photos provided by National Taichung Library
Translated by Angel Pu
National Taichung Library has relocated from its decades-old location near Taichung Park and moved to a new, streamlined, all-white building on Wuquan South Road, opposite the Taichung High Administrative Court, which at night resembles an anchored ship. As Taiwan's first national public digital library and a fresh educational landmark for central Taiwan, this striking facility will officially open on June 3.
As a public library under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, the National Taichung Library (NTL) will also be renamed the National Library of Public Information (NLPI) on Jan. 1, 2013 in cooperation with new government policies. According to NTL Deputy Director Cheng Mu-ning, the new library is like the old facility in the fact that it is also surrounded by lush scenery and has a spacious atrium and wide hallways. The structure's L-shape helps it blend into the "texture" of the city and streets without looking out of place. The architect also innovatively uses many curves and arcs to create an exterior that complements central Taiwan's geographical features, and its two river-inspired patterns also represent the transmission of a legacy, the phrase "learning never stops", and the rapid circulation of knowledge in modern times.
Magical forest-themed interior
The main structure of the new library has five above-ground floors and two underground levels, a total area of over 39,000 square meters, and five main areas--a library users' service center, library and information area, administration area, conference area, and public area. The five-floor library sits amongst lush greenery and trees and--underlining and echoing its role as a "forest of information" and an overall forest theme--each library floor is decorated as a particular natural landscape in order to create a stimulating, very interesting and soothing reading environment for library users.
The new facility has plenty of windows that allow sunshine in and integrate library's interior with the beautiful scenery outside. Any change of color and light outside is reflected inside the building, so that visitors can observe a variety of beauty and environments in the library, in an architectural concept known as "outside-in". Moreover, over half of library's outside grounds are occupied by a lawn, where readers are welcomed to sit and read their favorite books.
A combination of real, virtual books encourages reading
At the new NTL, cute owl patterns are found everywhere. This creature is the library's mascot, as owls are considered symbols of intelligence and Athena's servants in Greek mythology. The four portrayed owls all have their own names, and each also represents a specific goal for the new library. These are Rupi (reading), Eepi (exploring), Appi (recreation), and Lapi (learning), with the "pi" in all four names being the initials for "public information"--also part of the library's new name. Obviously, the library also hopes that these cute mascots will also encourage even more people to use public libraries more often.
According to Cheng, National Taichung Library has planned several programs and events in order to encourage people from all age groups to visit and use the library more frequently. The Art Corridors on every floor host different exhibitions every month or two, and the Digital Experience Center, Digital Art Center and Digital Recreation Center are three of the NTL's most popular spots.
One particular aspect that the National Taichung Library staff is proud of is its large volume of digital resources, which people from the entire nation can access online. The NTL is considered one of Taiwan's best public libraries, as it perfectly combines printed and virtual information, allowing all of Taichung's people to freely enjoy themselves as they discover more knowledge and reading in this beautifully-constructed new facility.
Left: All kinds of magazines and journals can be found in the periodical room.
Right: The information retrieval area on the second floor is very user-friendly.