The 89-year-old National Taichung Library pilot tested its New Hall in May and attracted a record number of 100,000 visitors in just two weeks. The New Hall has officially opened to the public since June 3, when a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 11:00. On the launch ceremony, Taichung Deputy Mayor Tsai Bing-kun (蔡炳坤) told Education Minister Jiang Wei-ning (蔣偉寧) that National Taichung Library and National Chung Hsing University have been working out the “Digital Cultural and Creative Park” project to expand the existing scope, which he hoped the central government can fully support, so as to build up a most important digital park in Taiwan.
The new National Taichung Library, which has a flow-line shape, is the first digital library in Taiwan. Its official opening ceremony in the morning of June 3 drew a large crowd and was ushered in by a magnificent drumming performance, followed by honor guard performances by drill teams from Taichung Girls' Senior High School and Changhua Senior High School. At the front gate of National Taichung Library was set up an owl robot and four owl dolls to welcome all the guests, making the atmosphere at the scene very lively.
Present at the ceremony were many officials from the central and local governments, including Education Minister Jiang Wei-ning, Xiao Jia-qi (蕭家淇, Deputy Mayor of Taichung City), Tsai Bing-kun (蔡炳坤, Deputy Mayor of Taichung City), Stella Yeh (葉樹姍, Director-general of Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Government), Ho Zhao-xi (何肇喜, Director-general of Urban Development Bureau of Taichung City Government); Taichung City Councilors Lee Zhong (李中), Lin Pei-han (林珮涵) Liu Jin-he (劉錦和), Ho Min-cheng (何敏誠), and Chen Cheng-tian (陳成添); Legislators Lu Xiu-yan (盧秀燕), Jiang Qi-chen (江啟臣), Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Tsai Jin-long (蔡錦隆), and Hung Wen-zhong (洪文章, President of the Taiwan High Court Taichung Branch).
In addition to a lot of e-books and digital services which the traditional libraries do not provide, the National Taichung Library has also set up a "data center" in cooperation with its counterparts in the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. Thus, officials from the three countries’ representative offices in Taiwan were also invited to attend the ceremony.
Education Minister Jiang Wei-ning said that the National Taichung Library is a very important library in Taiwan; he would like to express his greatest gratitude toward those who have made so much efforts to shape up the National Taichung Library in the past eight years; and he hoped the National Taichung Library can lead the 516 local libraries to sow the seeds of reading habits all over the country by using the 15000 e-books through a variety of digital devices and the cloud transmission technology.
Minister Jiang quoted Jean Marie Goulemot, a famous French writer, as saying that the library is an evidence that Paradise does exist; Jiang also cited the good words of Marcus Tullius Cicero, an ancient Roman orator, "If you have a garden and a library, you have it all"; he stressed that the importance of libraries to people can never be over emphasized and he hoped that the National Taichung Library can serve as a knowledge paradise for lifelong learning.
Deputy Mayor Tsai said that the acquisition of 2.16 hectares of land for the new National Taichung Library was the most difficult part in the project; most of the land belonged to Ministry of National Defense and Taichung City Government did not spend any money to acquire the land but swapped it by adjusting the floor area ratio. This ingenious act is the first case in Taiwan, which not only saved the government a lot of money but also helped smoothen the construction of the National Taichung Library. The credit should go to Mayor Jason Hu and Deputy Mayor Xiao Jia-qi.
Deputy Mayor Tsai also said that the National Taichung Library is the first digital library in Taiwan. He hoped that the combination of National Taichung Library with the Dali Software Park, the Advanced Research Park in Chunghsing Village of Nantou, and the two dozen colleges and universities in central Taiwan can create the "Digital Territory” in central Taiwan. He also told Minister Jiang that a lot of land surrounding the new National Taichung Library belongs to the Ministry of National Defense; the land should be used to set up the "Digital Cultural and the Creative Park" proposed by National Taichung Library and National Chung Hsing University. If the Digital Cultural and Creative Park can get full support from the central government to join hands with the new National Taichung Library, there will be a great synergy to turn the future Digital Cultural and Creative Park into the most important digital park in Taiwan.
Having gone through a eight-year process of planning, design, and construction, the brand new National Taichung Library has already begun to serve the general public. Up to now, more than 10,000 library card replacements or applications have been accepted, an increase by 4-5 times over the card applications in the past 89 years. To go in line with the government reorganization project, the well-known name National Taichung Library will be changed into National Public Information Library on January 1, 2013.