Sat, Jun 23, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Japanese-era Hsinchu library to reopen

By Hung Mei-hsiu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A man on Thursday walks across the neo-Renaissance interior of the former Shinchiku Prefecture Library built in Hsinchu City during the Japanese colonial era.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times

Shin Kong Life on Thursday announced it is to reopen a Japanese-era library in Hsinchu City this weekend.

The foundations for the city heritage site were laid in 1925 to commemorate the visit of then-Japanese prince regent Hirohito, Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) said.

The building’s design is an eclectic mix of classical, neo-Renaissance and modern architecture, Lin said, adding that it is near the East Gate, close to the former county government hall and known to everyone in the city.

Long talks were held between the city government and Shin Kong Life to convince the company to revitalize the building, Lin said.

It was not easy to persuade the insurer to renovate and reopen private property to the public, Lin said.

After renovation, the building, which has stood vacant for 34 years, would once again welcome visitors and hopefully attract young people who want to learn about the city’s history, Lin said.

The Hsinchu Cultural Affairs Bureau plans to restore the building to its original appearance while keeping its equipment intact and adding modern fire prevention elements, bureau Director Liao Chih-chien (廖志堅) said.

The library used to be a big part of Hinchu residents’ lives, Shin Kong Life senior associate general manager Chen Cheng-hui (陳正輝) said, adding that it was a pioneer of its time, as it had a special reading room for women and children.

Older people have wonderful memories of the library and the company is looking forward to opening it to the public again, he said.

Renowned Taiwanese bookstores and representatives from Tsutaya Bookstore in Japan visited the establishment to consider investmenting, Shin Kong Life Foundation deputy director Tang Chieh-lang (湯傑郎) said.

The company hopes to enlist young people to help with the library and is to give young cultural-creative groups the chance to contribute to the revitalization efforts, Tang said.

The new facility will be the cultural center of the city’s East Gate area, Tang said, adding that theaters, cinemas, restaurants and galleries would be welcome to move in.

The facility would not only provide financial benefits, but would further link the company with society and the cultural sector, Tang said.

Events over the weekend are to include four musical performances, a guided tour following a renovated map of the old city and a small bazaar, the city government said.

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