One of the biggest problems for bibliophiles in Shenzhen was where to find English books? Yes the libraries around the city have some options as does Book City, but I always left feeling dissatisfied with the selection. And for many book lovers (myself included) downloading ebooks was a poor substitute for holding a real book in my hand and feeling the pages between my fingers. So book lovers rejoice! For the largest expat library in the city is available to you.
In a Shuiwei community centre, lies a haven for book lovers. During the weekday its just a normal local centre, and the books lie undisturbed and untouched. But during the weekend book exchanges the library screams to the heavens and roars to life, ready to bring books and fun into people’s lives. The event is called Book Exchange Library and it is a free event, open to all people in Shenzhen. It is rather a confusing name, it’s more like half library half book club. No exchange is actually needed. You can come along, have a browse and if you see a book you like then you’re welcome to take it home to read at your leisure. No charge!
The collection comprises of over 900 books, built up over the years from donations. The collection has slowly grown and now has books in multiple languages (mainly English) and covers all genres from well known thrillers, to classic novels all the way to obscure sci-fi. The Book Exchange Library has it all. Some of the books are almost new, and some have seen better days. Passed along from one book lover to the next, read and enjoyed then passed along to the next. The stories these books themselves could tell would be fascinating!
The Book Exchange has a loyal following, with familiar faces popping in to swap books or have a chat. New members are always welcomed, and volunteers are on hand to assist and help out. Regular book discussions take place, and occasionally authors will come for question and answer sessions about their books and their life story. These will always be done in English. When there’s no events or discussions it’s just a quiet place where people can meet, talk and of course read. Please come along and check it out for yourself.
The Book Exchange Library is organized twice monthly, on a Sunday and on a weekday (usually Wednesday). For more information about future events and directions to the community centre please follow their official wechat.