Welcome to Peking University Library

Founded In 1902

Personal Profiles

Cai Yuanpei

In 1917, Cai Yuanpei became President of Peking University. He not only masterminded a golden period of intellectual freedom and academic prosperity, but he would also play an active role in the development of the Library. For Mr. Cai, a good library remained an important part of the entire cause of education. Having stepped in as President, he made it a point to raise funds and buy as many new books as possible, while trying every way possible to mobilize societal donations and to secure sponsorships for the construction of a new library building. Though the last project failed to actualize itself, the role of Mr. Cai as a pioneering advocate deserves a lasting honor. Another important contribution is his appointing Mr. Li Dazhao to the post of Chief Librarian of Peking University in 1918.


Li Dazhao

Li Dazhao distinguished himself in the Library's history as a Chief Librarian with a spirit of exploration and innovation. During the four years of his office, he implemented a series of measures and policies, including rectifications and reforms, plans for further development, and improvement of rules and regulations, all enhancing the role the Library played in backing up teaching reforms. He also made adjustments in the structuring of the Library's departments and its staff members, thus improving and strengthening its reader service sectors. He was attracted to advanced practices in library management, both at home and abroad, and he raised the idea of “Wide Incorporation and Mutual Benefit” in book collection, smoothing the way for acquisition of books with new ideas, turning the Library into a key stronghold in the spread of Marxism and New Cultural ideas. Under his leadership, the Library broke loose from the common ranks of domestic university libraries to become one with true distinction.

Yuan Tongli

In1923, Yuan Tongli became Chief Librarian of Peking University Library. He was among the first group of Chinese librarians with the knowledge and experience in modern library science. The three years of his office at the Library witnessed his active effort to implement western ways of management. He also organized the Library staff to put in order a large number of overstocked books and make book-form catalogues for collected books, enabling the Library to maintain its stature even in difficult conditions, and thus making possible a fair degree of development.

Ma Heng

In 1929, Ma Heng became Chief Librarian. He was noted for inviting the undergraduate library science majors from Wen Hua University of Wu Chang to help putting in order the overstocked western books. He came up with “The Regulations for Library Book Loans,” a new policy to fix the chaotic situation in the load of books. He also organized the publication of Peking University Library Monthly, an unprecedented undertaking in the Library's history.


Jiang Menglin

1930 marked the beginning of Jiang Menglin's presidency of Peking University. He paid close attention to the growth of the Library, raising the stature of the Library as an organization directly under leadership of the president. A university collection development committee was also established under his care, and one-fifth of the university's overall expenditure was allotted to the purchase of books and equipment for the Library. He also put on his agenda the decision to raise funds for the construction of a new library building. In 1935, when the new building was built, he himself became Chief Librarian, heralding another flourishing period of the Library's development.


Mao Zhun

In 1931,Mao Zhun stepped in as Chief Librarian. He assumed this post twice, as one of those who held the office longer than others in pre-1949 years, and also one who managed to make his presence felt. He immediately set about moving the Library to a temporary site at Song Gong Mansion before the new building was finished, and he showed a lot of care for the construction of the new building. During the Song Gong period, he made a whole set of rules and regulations, noticeably improving the reader service and expanding the book collection at a fast rate. He undertook to establish a more updated card-cataloguing system, multiplying the variety of catalogues. He also managed to add the “Library Appendix” to Peking University Weekly, as an important way to interact with readers. From 1946 to 1949, Mao Zhun assumed the post again, and it is during his second tenure that the Library enjoyed a fast rate of expansion in its book collection, making it the second largest library in the country next to Peking Library only. With this development, cataloguing management was strengthened, and open hours and reader's accessibility to books were also greatly increased.

Yan Wenyu

In 1935, after the new building was built, Yan Wenyu succeeded Mao Zhun. He graduated as a library science major at Wen Hua College, Wu Chang, and later went abroad and worked as a library staff. During the Anti-Japanese War years, he was Director of Southwest United Universities Library. Yan's tenure was known for ample and stable supply of library funds, which enabled a fast increase in the number of collected books. He played an active role in reforming and adjusting the Library sections and departments, improving the cataloguing system, building the complete cataloguing system that recorded all the books in stock at the Library, improving the ways of book ordering and purchasing, and strengthening library service for the benefit of readers. Under his directorship, Peking University Library enhanced its strength in various areas, enjoying one of the golden periods in its history.

Hu Shi

In 1946,Hu Shi became President of Peking University. He had never wavered in his support for the Library, and often asked about the Library affairs. He was noted for his using British and American models as his guide for library work, which indeed contributed greatly to the development of the Library.


Xiang Da (1949.5-1957)

In 1949,Xiang Da was appointed Chief Librarian of Peking University Library, becoming the first of his kind following the liberation of the city of Beijing from KMT rule. He established the practice of the regular library affairs council attended by people both inside and outside the Library, as a transitional managing organization. During the national restructuring of schools and disciplines in 1952, thanks to his leadership, the Library moved smoothly to its new site at Yenching University. Books of Yenching and from other sources were incorporated, and also new managing departments came into being, with staff members reorganized. As a historian, Xiang Da placed a special emphasis on the collection of traditional Chinese documents. Some valuable rare books were purchased, such as some batches of Dun Huang scrolls from Long Fu Temple, thus laying the foundation for related items.

Lan Yunfu (1958.8-1966)

A frequent replacement of “Directors” (1967-1972.4)

Yan Guanghua (1972.5-1977.12)

Xie Daoyuan (1978.5-1983.5)

Zhuang Shoujing (1983.6-1993.6)

Lin Beidian (1993.7-1999.2)

Dai Longji (1999.3-2007.12)


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