2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the New Policies (新政) reforms of the late Qing. Well, not really. The Late Qing reforms are increasingly seen as more important even than the Revolution of 1911 in creating a new China. A modern government with modern departments was set up, there was a budget, modern schools were built, etc. The began sometime after the Boxer uprising of 1900 and lasted till 1911. The Revolutionaries found themselves taking over a much more modern Chinese state than had existed a decade before. 1909 is actually a little late as a date, but I am using it here because it seems like all the major libraries in China are celebrating. I was at the conference for the National Library in Beijing’s 100th. It was a big deal. Mei Baojiu performed and I got to see him. Then I come to Shaanxi and the Provincial library is also having its 100th. This was a bit annoying, since they were setting off fireworks outside the reading room and I wanted to stick my head out the window and yell “This is a library, darn it.” but I figured it would do no good. I assume people all over China are finding it hard to get any reading in as explosions and long-winded speeches interrupt the quiet. Both libraries of course started out as New Policies institutions. I’m not sure how it is with other cultural institutions, but Chinese universities are always very status conscious about how old they are, and people always ask when my university was founded and are quite impressed when I say 1875. That makes us older than Beida! Below are a couple of pictures of the gifts that Shaanxi library got on its birthday. I particularly like the boat Qingdao sent.