BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The National Library of China (NLC) has cut fees to boost reading demand.
Various fees including applying for reader's card, annual verification cost, using study rooms, and Internet surfing for the handicapped were annulled on Thursday.
The fees for making copies, searching information, burning discs, and material transmission were also cut by up to 85 percent, according to Zhang Yan, an officer with NLC.
Zhang said more people are expected to come in the following days during the week-long festival.
NLC, dubbed as China's general stack room, promised to reinforce its online free reading service by releasing some 10,000new books every year. It has been providing more than 720,000 books and reading materials on the Internet.
The library, which receives an average of 12,000 readers daily, had conducted two fare cuts in 2004 and 2007, in an effort to allow more readers to make full use of the book resource.
The library has been trying to reinforce service for the people with financial support from the government, which earmarked at least 143 million yuan (nearly 20 million U.S. dollars) for the task over the past two years.
A new digital library, covering 80,000 square meters, is being built to add 2,900 seats to the current 5,000-seat library.
The new construction, to be supported by computer and Internet technologies, will hold up to 8,000 readers daily when finished in July.
Apart from NLC, 24 public libraries in Beijing stopped charging the 10-yuan fee for making reader's card as of Wednesday.
Zhan Furui, head of NLC, predicted that overall fare reduction will become a trend across China this year.
A number of central authorities have issued a joint order recently to open more museums, memorial halls and national patriotism education bases to the public for free.
All museums, memorial halls and national patriotism education bases will be free to visitors by 2009 except cultural relics and historical sites, which will have cheap rates for minors, the elderly, soldiers, the disabled and low-income families, according to the circular.