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Overview of Public Libraries from 1945 to Present

  Right after Retroration, the principle of taking-over of libraries was based on not changing arrangement, locations, and budget of libraries at all levels. In December 1945, Taiwan included 8 counties, 9 provincial cities, and 2 county-controlled cities. Taiwan Province Government Executive Office Library was firstly established to take over Taiwan Governor’s Library and Southern Library. Taiwan Province Taichung Library was also established to take over Taichung State Library. As for the establishment of county, city, and town libraries, according to a survey report, 10 counties and cities, including Taipei County, Hsinchu County, Taichung County, Penghu County, Taipei City, Keelung City, Changhua City, Chiayi City, Tainan City, and Pingtung City, established libraries. Particularly, several town libraries were established in Taichung County and Hsinchu County. In May 1947, Administrative Executive Office was restructured as Taiwan Province Government, so Taiwan Province Government Executive Office Library and Taiwan Province Taichung Library were managed by Department of Education of Taiwan Province Government, with the former one being renamed as Taiwan Province Taipei Library (renamed as National Taiwan Library in 1973).

  In August 1950, Taiwan Province administrative areas were rezoned into 5 provincial cities and 16 counties. Till November 1953, except Taichung City, Yunlin County, Tainan County, and Taitung County, other counties and cities completed the establishment of libraries.


  Between 1954 and 1976, because county and city libraries were subject to organizational arrangement, lack of staff, and limited library budget due to the implement of Nine-Year Compulsory Education, it became difficult to maintain the operation of libraries. Since 1979, 21 counties and cities of Taiwan Province established county or city cultural centers with a focus on library operation. With the completion of cultural centers, county or city libraries were combined with cultural centers and became cultural center libraries, except Tainan City Library. The establishment of Council for Cultural Affairs of Executive Yuan in 1981 and Cultural Office of Culture of Taiwan Province Government in 1998, cultural centers in all county or city, except Taichung County and Tainan City, were upgraded to Cultural Division of County/City Government and offered library information courses. The operation of public libraries was thus at the stage of transition.



   In 1985, Taiwan Province Government promoted the policy, “Make Town Libraries Ubiquitous to Enrich Cultural Capital of Towns,” and led town libraries increase substantially. Till 1998, there were 307 town libraries (345 town libraries if taking the second library or branches into account), which fulfill the idea of “Libraries in Every Town.” 

  In 2003, Council for Cultural Affairs of Executive Yuan and Ministry of Education cohosted “Enhancing Public Libraries Project,” including “Improving Space Operation in Public Libraries Project” and other four subprojects. The projects help improve buildings and operation of 301 county, city, and town libraries, enrich library collections, and provide shared data base to present a new style of service to people.

  Since December 25, 2010, the highest national level administrative areas were 5 direct-controlled municipalities (5 Cities) 14 counties, and 3 cities. Among the 5 direct-controlled municipalities, except Taipei City, county and city affairs were combined in New Taipei City, Taichung City, Tainan City, and Kaohsiung City. Cultural Divisions and cultural centers libraries, and town libraries under the jurisdiction of Cultural Divisions were restructured, combined or newly established, which showed that the operation of public libraries began to enter a new milestone.

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