Over the weekend, the National Library of China released a report on the state of the country’s libraries. According to the report, the state of China’s libraries is pretty bad with many rural libraries being turned into make shift net cafes.
The report, republished by various media groups, doesn’t really get into much detail about the number of rural libraries that were found to have been made into net cafes but the report did say how it’s happening. The report stated that many of the rural libraries were underfunded and lacked new books. Despite the deficiencies, these libraries have Internet enabled computers.
According to the report, crafty patrons of the library system have figured out ways to exploit the library’s computers to play online games. Not only are public libraries being taken advantage of, it also appears public computers at Universities are also being exploited.
Reporters of Jinshi News visited Nanchong Institute of Technology in Sichuan to see how and what was happening at the universities. What they discovered was much worse than public computers being turned into gaming machines, instead they discovered a tiny pocket industry where public computer labs were being turned into “electronic reading rooms”. In these rooms, students are charged about 0.12 cents to use a computer for an hour. They can play online games in these rooms.
The reporters found that the university managed these reading rooms. The University claimed that the rooms were meant for reading digital copies of periodicals and journals. However, they’re being used for video games.
Sadly the report doesn’t have a solution to China’s library problem. It doesn’t even bring up methods of how to deal with rural and university libraries being turned into internet cafes.