Online reading, an innovative way to enjoy the charm of books

Medical workers from Shenzhen Luohu People’s Hospital join the “Reading Half Hour” activity held by the Shenzhen Library. Photo from

A “Reading Half Hour” activity was held by Shenzhen Library in South China’s Guangdong Province on the World Book and Copyright Day which falls on April 23 each year. Applying augmented reality (AR) technology, the activity encouraged people from Guangdong, Hubei and the Macao Special Administrative Region to read together and livestreamed the process on internet platforms.

Thanks to the continuous advancement of digital technologies in the recent years, cultural resources are better protected and exploited. Digital technologies have brought whole new exhibition forms and user experience, which enables people to enjoy the charm of culture without stepping out of their houses.

The “Reading Half Hour” activity has an AR venue and four sub-venues in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Macao. It was joined by nearly 150 libraries and 430 other sites, including schools, enterprises, residential communities, hospitals, industrial parks, cafeterias and families in Guangdong, Hubei and Macao.

The event aimed to encourage citizens to open the books and enjoy the pleasure of reading, said Huang Jing, an employee with the Shenzhen Library.

Apart from the “Reading Half Hour” activity, the Shenzhen Library also established a cloud library to better help citizens read books where they can acquire massive digital resources online. A reader card is all they need to move almost the entire library into their phones. The readers of the library do not have to turn pages of heavy and thick books to finish thesis, as information is acquired easily after a few clicks on their screens.

To offer comfortable experiences of digital reading, the Shenzhen Library also launched a digital reading room – a mini program on social platform WeChat. Having no more need of waiting in a long line for the library to open in the morning, readers are now more enthusiastic about reading. The mini program was visited by 36,000 people in the first week since it was launched, and its resources were visited over 340,000 times.

“To read at home is not only the last choice made due to the COVID-19 epidemic, but also a possible new model of reading in the future,” said Xiao Yongshan, director of the general office of the Shenzhen Library.

Due to epidemic prevention and control, the library suspended operation for two months, but its resources were visited 250,000 person-times, up 21 percent from a year ago. A total of 2,400 gigabits of resources were downloaded, up 58 percent year-on-year.

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