Shen Zhurong

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Shen Zhurong
Nationality Chinese
Other names Samuel T. Y. Seng
Alma mater New York State Library School
Occupation Librarian

Shen Zhurong(中文:沈祖榮) (1884–1977),[1] also known as Samuel T. Y. Seng, is considered the "Father of Library Science in China".[1] A native of Yichang,[2] he was the first professional librarian in China and a main contributor to the New Library Movement in China in the early twentieth century.[3] As a result, American librarianship principles, technology and education spread throughout China. Shen Zhurong also co-founded the Boone Library School, the first library science educational institute in his country.[1] It was absorbed into Wuhan University in 1952 and currently exists as the Wuhan University School of Information Management.[4]

Shen Zhurong was sent by the American librarian and missionary Mary Elizabeth Wood to study library science in 1914. Upon his return in 1917, he began a tour around China to promote American librarianship. Equipped with film, models and statistical charts, he went to almost every province in China. One of his many contributions was the implementation of the Dewey Decimal System, providing a modern classification scheme to Chinese books.[5]

New Library Movement[edit]

Between 1917 and 1925, a group of newly trained Chinese librarians and Mary Elizabeth Wood launched a nationwide librarianship movement, which criticized the feudal library tradition in China, promoted American librarianship, introduced American library science and technology into China and raised the social standing of librarians.[3] Until the 1950s, almost all areas of Chinese librarianship were modeled on those in America. All modern classification schemes were based on the Dewey Decimal System, cataloging rules used the Library of Congress Classification, and the same courses taught in America were often translated directly into Chinese.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Huanwen, Cheng (2001). "The Effect of the Cold War on Librarianship in China". Libraries & Culture. 1: 40. JSTOR 25548890. 
  2. ^ Boettcher, Cheryl (Summer 1989). "Samuel T. Y. Seng and the Boone Library School". Libraries & Culture. 24 (3): 269–294. JSTOR 25542168. 
  3. ^ a b Huan Wen, Cheng (1991). "The impact of American librarianship on Chinese librarianship in modern times (1840-1949)". Libraries & Culture. 26 (2): 372–387. JSTOR 25542343. 
  4. ^ Yi-min Yan (24 November 1987). "The People's Republic of China, Library and Information Science Education in". Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Volume 43 - Supplement 8: Apple Computer: Inc. to Work Analysis in Libraries. Taylor & Francis. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8247-2043-8. 
  5. ^ Burke, Peter (2012). A Social History of Knowledge. Polity Press. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-7456-5043-2.