This November, WHU Qingdao Alumni Association launched a “book crossing” campaign in Qingdao. The “book crossing” is a popular book-sharing activity with strangers in public places. It started in Europe back in the 1960s, and was gradually accepted by the Chinese in recent years. During the first two events, over 360 books were placed on benches, chairs and flower beds for citizens to choose and take for free. Now all the books are circulating in this beautiful costal city.
The organizers of this campaign--WHU Qingdao Alumni Association
Why here in Qingdao?
"We Chinese people are giving up on our reading habit!” Mr. Hou Xinjun, secretary of WHU Qingdao Alumni Association said impressively, “Things were not like this when we were in Wuhan University 30 years ago. We were all like bookworms, reading every single minute. So I wanted to do something.”
Members of the alumni association expressed their support when they first heard of Mr. Hou’s idea. They established WeChat chat groups to discuss details and gathered in the Luojia Café, a co-funded café sponsored by WHU alumni in Qingdao, to make plans and prepare books.
Inspired by Emma Watson’s “Books on the Underground”, WHU Qingdao Alumni Association launched this campaign to encourage the habit of reading among Qingdao citizens. To prepare for the events, WHU Qingdao alumni first collected hundreds of books and pasted them with a specially designed logo “the orange light”. This image was chosen in memory of the great Chinese writer Ms Hsieh Wan-Ying, who is better known as Bing Xin. The Orange Light was one of her most famous masterpieces. As designers of this logo, alumni Ms. Liao Junhui and Mr. Yang Xiaoning said that they chose this image because they wished the light of reading would warm and enlighten this beautiful city.
The logo for this campaign. The image of an orange light symbolizes the light of reading
Let books circulate in this city
The first two rounds of book crossing events were launched in November. The first one was on November 20th in the May Forth Square, the most famous landmark of this city, where 200 books were distributed. The second event was launched on November 27th in the square in front of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Base, attracting more keen citizens and collecting over 160 books. The books were distributed much quicker than the organizers had expected. As for the next stage, they were planning to collect more poetry and literary books for sharing.
Qingdao citizens choosing their favorite books
An alumnus writing the description of this campaign on the book.
As one of the organizers of this campaign, Mr. Hou told the journalist that many alumni and friends had volunteered to join this event. They came up with good ideas and offered nice books. According to their plan, up to 1000 books would be distributed at certain events.
A campaign more than welcome
As the disease of giving up reading is spreading fast, more and more people start to realize how serious and urgent this problem is. The “book crossing” campaign is like an effective medicine, curing many people’s neglect of reading.
Their efforts of bringing reading back to citizens also attracted media attention. Many news agencies, such as Xinhua News Agency and Qingdao News, reported this event. Both media and citizens expressed their support for this campaign. Just as a citizen said during an interview with Qingdao News, this non-profit campaign has aroused people’s interest in reading at a time when they are always occupied by electronic devices.
Shandong Television covered this event in the morning news
Citizens showed their support for these activities. During the weekend, hundreds of citizens came to the spot, picking their favorite books on benches and tables. Many parents came here with their children. They deemed that reading would be more helpful and meaningful when they read with their kids, because they are setting an example for the young generation.
Mr. Li joined the event with his family
Alumnus Mr. Liu Feiyun introducing the campaign to a citizen
As for the following rounds of book-spreading events, alumni are now planning to collect more books written by WHU alumni and poems by the Luojia Schools poets. “There were countless talented people and gifted geniuses in Wuhan University, we are just trying to let more of WHU writers’ voices heard by the public.” Said Mr. Hou.
(Photo by WHU Qingdao Alumni Association/Xinhua News/Shandong Television)
(Edited by Tang Yedan, Wu Siying, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia)