The Old Library: Good Morning, Nankai University

The Old Library: Good Morning, Nankai University

The Old Library, completed in 1958, has been here for more than half a century. The two bronze lions standing at the gate are the witnesses of the library’s history.

Inside the Old Library are mottled walls with the plaster peeled off, broken windows covered by plastic cloth, hard wooden tables and chairs with some charred scars, and the old books filled with folds and dust. Despite the evidence of aging, the Old Library is still the palace of knowledge and a resort for the teachers and students of Nankai University.

The Old Library

The five-floor library covers an area of about 8,000 m2, and it was the largest building in Nankai campus at that time when newly completed in 1958. Its simple style coordinates with the modesty of Nankai spirit, so it is very popular among teachers and students.

Furthermore, the location of the Old Library increases its popularity. It is facing the quiet Xinkai Lake. In the front yard, there are two groves on both sides of the path leading to the gate. In the back of the Library is the Nankai Stadium. When students leave their dormitories early in the morning, they read loudly by the Xinkai Lake after breakfast, and then go into the Old Library for book reading. If they feel tired, they can take a walk to Mati Lake and then return to books. Driven by this kind of desirable lifestyle, more and more people are fond of the Old Library. The shelves are filled with hundreds of thousands of books, and the study halls are crowded with tens of thousands of hard-working students. Even though the New Library was completed in the 1980s, lots of teachers and students keep coming here for the quiet environment and good atmosphere for study.

The Old Library

In addition to its long history and good atmosphere, the Old Library has beautiful scenery as well. The reflection in Xinkai Lake is shining in the sun, but the building itself looks more serene in the breeze. At the entrance, there is a platform with stairs on the other three sides and two stately bronze lions standing on the left and right. Opening the old door of the library, you first see a scarlet screen. Over the screen hangs a plaque with a Chinese motto “Every man is responsible for his country”. In front of the screen is a big pendulum clock donated by the alumni association of the Southwest Associated University. It is still working today. To the west of the screen is a circulation desk for science books. Along the stairs to the second floor is the newsroom where all kinds of magazines and periodicals can be found. On the upper floors are reading rooms which provide some students a place for self-study.

The reading rooms are the most impressive part of the Old Library. The seats are always in short supply and students have to go to the library as early as possible to reserve a seat. It is a familiar sight in the morning that a long queue of people waits to enter the Old Library before it opens. The students in the end of the queue will sit on the benches beside the Xinkai Lake and keep waiting. They are so sensitive to the bikes passing by that they will stand up immediately to see if there is queue jumping.

    When recalling the life in Nankai University, many people will think of the seat, the lamp and the young person fighting for  his or her ideals in the Old Library. As a place for people to realize their dreams, the Old Library will keep being lighted by Xinkai Lake even in the deep darkness.


Nankai University

No.38 Tongyan Road, Jinnan District, Tianjin , P.R. China 300350

No.94 Weijin Road,  Nankai District, Tianjin, P.R.China  300071