In October of 1997, TFSU’s library was moved to a new 6-storey building, totaling 4,642 square meters. The first floor is an open hall for casual reading. In October 1998, an integrated documentation computer management system was put into use, achieving computerized management of procurement, cataloging, collection, distribution, and readers’ inquiries. At the same time, four reading rooms (i.e. one for newspapers and periodicals, students’ reference books, German books, and for reference services, with a total seating capacity of more than 460) and three loaning desks are available. Among the three loaning desks, the first and second floor deal with Chinese books, while the one on the fourth floor deals with foreign language books. The open-shelves loan system is adopted throughout the library.
In order to keep pace with the construction of digital libraries in colleges and universities, TFSU replaced its book management system in 2003 with a Unicorn Consortia Library System, a product of Sirsi, an American company. With this new system, readers can reserve and renew books online.
According to the comprehensive investment plan in the tenth Five-year Plan for colleges and universities of Tianjin, the library at TFSU has built new E-reading rooms with 150 computers covering a total area of 500 square meters. E-reading rooms are connected to the central switch of the campus network through optical fibers with data rates over one gigabit per second, and data rates for desk tops one megabyte per second.
While continuously improving its hardware construction, the library has also strengthened its software construction. Currently, it possesses eight Chinese databases, six foreign languages databases, 3 CD-Rom databases, and four self-built databases. It has set up a special website and gathered over 400 sites in seven languages covering language teaching, news and current affairs, literature, culture, etc. The library has also provided navigation to professional academic websites on key disciplines. On the library homepage, learning corners in seven languages have been set up for readers.
In co-building and sharing resources, TFSU has introduced the TPI system of TsingHua Tong Fang for its digital library development and has created many e-books and the digital database of Master’s theses. With its inter-library loan system, teachers from colleges and universities of Tianjin, post-graduates as well as undergraduates with specific research needs have access to TFSU’s library collection, while its own students enjoy the same access to other facilities.
In 2004, the library expanded to include both tower A and B, with a total area of nearly ten thousand square meters. The number of seats in the reading rooms increased to 1,380. Congruent with the concept of quality and comprehensive service, the library has implemented open management since September 6th Therefore, readers can enjoy the open-shelves loan system and self-service. They can bring their bags or other personal articles, come and go freely, use the Internet, conduct self-studies, hold seminars, etc. Such a change provides readers with a convenient and efficient service mechanism that combines borrowing and reading. Extended service hours and added space for research and discussion have created a favorable atmosphere for readers to study and conduct research.
In 2005, the department layout between the two campuses was shifted strategically. Three schools, namely the schools of Economics and Law, Chinese, and Management were moved to the Binhai campus. According to the arrangement of the university party committee, library at the Binhai campus was underwent a mode of vertical management of the library at the main campus. Currently, the library at the Binhai campus has a collection of 120,000 books and over 300 different Chinese and foreign newspapers. With a total area of about 14,000 square meters, the library has a seating capacity of over 1,000. Chinese books are managed through the internet, and students can borrow and return books between the two campuses by using the One Card throughout the School (OCTOS). Keeping pace with the times, the TFSU Library is striding forward in building a 21st century library which is digital, open, and well-equipped.