Becoming a city of angels
Updated: 2015-02-10

An old Chinese saying goes, "as long as one studies hard, then wealth, high-paying jobs and beauty will all come his way". Books are mental nourishment, while libraries serve as mind harbor. Here we offer some good places to go for nurturing your mind and knowledge in Shanghai.


1, Shanghai Library Bibliotheca Zi-Ka-Wei

Xujiahui pronounces as “Zi-Ka-Wei” in Shanghai dialect, which gives the library its name. Standing beside the Xujiahui metro station is a small white building, which is just the place we are looking for.

The library was Shanghai’s earliest modern library that exists to date, with Chinese and Western architectural styles making it a landmark of life and culture. The first floor collects 120,000 ancient Chinese books, and its second floor is arranged just like the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in the Vatican City, collecting over 80,000 western books and documents published after the 15th century.

To get there: 80 North Caoxi Rd, Xuhui district.
Transport: take metro line 1, 9 or 11 and get off at Xujiahui station.


2, Qingpu Library
Located at Puyang Pavilion on the Xiayang lake, Qingpu Library is Shanghai’s only “library on water”. The wave-shaped building stretches to the middle of the lake, looking like a blooming spray from distance. There’s an open garden on the roof, where various plants adding to the tranquility.

To get there: 60 Qinglong Rd, Qingpu district.
Transport: transfer to Zhuxu Line at Xujing Dong station of metro line 2, and get off at Huaqing Rd station.


3, Pudong Library
Pudong Library, together with Shanghai Oriental Art Center and Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, are cultural landmarks of Pudong. Floor 1 -3 are reading rooms “wrapped up” in glass, with a roof garden on top of the building. Floor 3 and 4 with raised ceiling layers are connected to construct an infinite world of books. Digital resources reading roomsare located on the 5th and 6th floors, with several databases available for free download. Thereare also some restaurants and snack bars in the basement.

To get there: 88 Qiancheng Rd, Pudong New Area.
Transport: take metro line 7 and get off at Jinxiu Road station.


4, Jiading Library
The newly-built Jiading Library is situated over 16,000 square meters, and houses 600,000 books. Its architectural style is reminiscent of the ancient Jiangnan academy style with its roof built like an open book, and blends a pristine charm with modern equipment.
The library opens round-the-clock and has self-service loan desks. Thereare also a children’s library, multi-function theatre, coffee shop and souvenir store to offer all-round services for readers.

To get there: 1888 South Yumin Rd, Jiading district.
Transport: take metro line 11 and get off at Baiyin Road station, then change to Bus Jiading line 4.


5, Popular Bookmall
As a well-known chain bookstore, Popular Bookmall stays open 24 hours, and has a designated reading space in its Literature and Social Science zone. Its branch in Xujiahui’s Metro City is also Shanghai’s first movie bookstore.

To get there: 579 Fuzhou Rd, Huangpu district.
Transport: Renmin Square station of metro line 1, 2 and 8.


6, Colorful bookstore and café
Changde Apartment, the former Eddington Apartment built in 1933, became famous as the former house of Eileen Chang, a modern Chinese writer in the Republican Period for her fiction writings that deal with the tensions between men and women in love. That is also why the Colorful bookstore and café was founded here.
The owner, a loyal fan of Chang, decorated the store just as what Chang described in her books, with French windows on the street side. A wide range of books related to Chang are placed everywhere, attracting fans to pay a visit for reverence.

To get there: 195 Changde Rd, Jing’an district.
Transport: Jing’an Temple station of metro line 2 and 7.


7, Old China Hand Reading Room
As a library-cum-cafe by photographer Deke Erh and notable Shanghai historian Tess Johnston, the reading room is full of atmosphere, character, and plenty of English books on China. Antique typewriters and radios create a tranquil oasis from the tumult outside.

To get there: 27 Shaoxing Rd, Huangpu district.
Transport: South Shaanxi Road station on both metro line 1 and 10.


8, Light & Salt Library Distillery
The Light & Salt concept surely aims for that young market segment. It houses a dizzying range of foreign books and allows for endless views of the Huangpu River.
When night approaches, it transforms into a light-music bar. On regular nights you will need to call ahead to get the day’s password to gain access to the world hidden behind the sliding one-way mirror. The decor is stylish and the bar manager is a fresh young personality who mixes up well-crafted cocktails.

To get there: 6/F, YWCA Building, 133 Yuanmingyuan Rd, Huangpu district.
Transport: East Nanjing Road station of metro line 10.

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