Europe’s first ‘Window of Chinese Books’ established in Malta
On Tuesday, 25 October, guests from China and Malta met online to jointly witness the donation of more than 200 books from Jinling Library of Nanjing to Malta Libraries and the signing of the first MOU in the field of public libraries between China and Malta. The book donation marks the establishment of the first ‘Window of Chinese Books’ in Europe and the 11th of its kind around the world by Jinling Library of Nanjing.
（Malta venue—— Central Public Library）
H.E. Yu Dunhai, Chinese Ambassador to Malta and Dr Owen Bonnici, Hon. Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government extended their congratulations to this collaboration.
Mme. Xia Jun, Deputy Director of the Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism explained that Nanjing is a renowned historical and cultural city with a history of over 2500 years.
Serving as the imperial city of several dynasties in ancient China, Nanjing is now known as the UNESCO City of Literature. In her view, the exchange of books is a crucial conduit for the promotion of cultural exchange between two countries and the books themselves are the bridge and the bond of friendship connecting the two peoples.
Dr Sharon Scicluna, Deputy Director for the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Trade said that the signing of this MOU is an excellent opportunity of collaboration between the two countries. Successive Governments in Malta have always sought to maintain strong relations with China, and the China Cultural Centre in Malta (CCC) has played a significant part to strengthen the relationships between the respective peoples of Malta and China through its various initiatives which provide the Maltese society with a better understanding of China’s rich and cultural traditions.
Mme. Cheryl Falzon, National Librarian and CEO of Malta Libraries thanked the CCC for coordinating this initiative between the two libraries. She said that Malta Libraries has been collaborating with the CCC since 2018, when they assisted in establishing a Chinese collection at the Central Public Library. This collection proved to be an asset both to the Chinese community in Malta as well as to those interested in the Chinese language and culture. The new donated books, both in English and Chinese languages, will soon be available for the public at the Central Public Library in Floriana.
(Dr Sharon Scicluna signed the MOU)
Mme. Yuan Yuan, Director of CCC said that this book donation ceremony is one of the important projects of this year’s cooperation package between the CCC and Nanjing. The books donated by Jinling library cover ancient Chinese literature and art, history, geography, contemporary Chinese politics, economics, culture, tourism, cuisine and other areas of distinctive characteristics. She believes that this donation is not only a mini encyclopaedia of Chinese culture and tourism but also a precious gift that carries the profound friendship of the people in Nanjing for the Maltese people.
Mr Xiang Jiao, Director of Jinling Library explained that this public library was founded in 1927 and it has a deep cultural heritage. Nowadays, it covers an area of nearly 40,000 square metres. The library has always focused on using books as channels and bridges in its efforts to open the window to understanding China for global citizens. Across the years, Jinling Library has successively established ‘Windows of Chinese Books’ Programmes in ten countries across three continents. This is the first time that the programme is being launched in Europe.
(After the ceremony, Dr Sharon Scicluna immediately took out the book “Chinese Arts and Crafts” that she had long admired from the bookshelf and said excitedly that she was honored to be the first reader of this batch of books.)
Mme. Margaret Bugeja, Deputy Librarian for the public libraries of Malta, said that the books which have been obtained in this exchange shows the trend of diversification to enrich the collection of the Central Public Library for the benefit of the diverse communities who wish to familiarise themselves with Chinese literature and Chinese cultural aspects.
Mme. Ge Jibin, Chief of the Foreign Cultural Exchange Division at the Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, and Mr Shiliang Yin, Deputy Director of Jinling Library were also present at this ceremony.