China's Ministry of Culture on Tuesday set building standards of public libraries to ensure that they can meet the demands of the country's booming urban population.
Population size would be the major reference for the size of new libraries from November 1, the ministry said in a circular.
In the past, the size of public cultural facilities was usually decided by local administrations, but in some counties and villages, especially in eastern China, communities had expanded quickly, beyond the scale of their libraries, said a ministry official.
Under the new rules, a library in an area with up to 200,000 people should be a minimum of 800 square meters and a maximum of 4,500 square meters.
The specific size could be decided by the local government in accordance with practicality.
A community with up to 1.5 million should have a library ranging from 4,500 square meters to 20,000 square meters; while libraries in areas with up to 10 million people should range from 20,000 to 60,000 square meters.
"If local governments want to build a library, they should follow the standard, which was based on field surveys and reference to international levels," said the official, who declined to be named.
He said local populations would include all residents living in an area for at least six months, which would allow rural migrant workers to use the facilities.
The ministry started to draft the construction standard under orders from the Construction Ministry in 2002.
(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2008)