Mengfang Library of Southeast University is one of the oldest university libraries in China. It used to be Sanjiang Normal School’sLibrary founded in 1902. During the period of National Southeast University in 1923, the museum was independently established and named Mengfang Library of National Southeast University. This building is known as one of the outstanding works of Chinese library architecture in early 1920s.
A completion monument was established at the left side of the library. When the school was first established, it was necessary to build a library, which nevertheless demanded great amount of investment. The school’s management committee proposed an “Articles of Association of Raising Donations”, indicating that the building can named by the sole investor’s alias. With President Guo Bingwen’s great efforts, Qi Xieyuan firstly agreed to solely invest in the library’s construction and supporting facilities. The base was completed in 1922 and the library was completed in 1923 at the cost of 160,000 silver dollars. After the completion, Qi Xieyuan named the library with his father’s name, Meng Fang.
The whole library is made of reinforced concrete structure with the main façade in ternary form, horizontally and vertically, and ionic pillars at the stoep. The three golden characters “Tu Shu Guan (library)” was inscribed by Zhang Jian, the renowned industrialist, educator and scholar in the end of Qing Dynasty.
In 1933, thanks to the design and expansion of Guan Songsheng, Zhu Bin and Yang Tingbao, etc., the reading room was built on both sides of the east and west, and the library was expanded at the rear, leaving two small internal courtyards for ventilation and lighting. So the building we saw was in the shape of Chinese character “Pin”. After the expansion, the library reached an area of 3,813m2 with the capacity increased to 4 times and the collection of books beyond 400,000.
For more than 100 years, the library has experienced the historical development from the “Book and Instrument Department” of Nanjing Higher Normal School, Mengfang Library of National Southeast University, the library of National Central University and the library of Nanjing Institute of Technology, etc.. Now it is used as the school’s administrative office, where the school’s secretary and president are working.
Many film and television crews are keen to shoot at our school for its profound style of the Republic of China. Both “The Founding of the People’s Republic of China” and “The Name of the People” etc. once shot the scene in the library.