"I wish all university libraries were open," said Beijing resident Zhang Ting.
She added that more public libraries should also be built to fulfill ordinary residents' reading needs because the books in university libraries might not cater to residents' tastes.
Zhang also mentioned that some books in university libraries were rare, and if lost or damaged, "it would be an irretrievable loss".
As for the cost, she said it was too expensive. "I can buy books online, which may cost less than 300 yuan," she said.
Gao Ning, a faculty member of Beihang University, also welcomed the policy. "One of the key social responsibilities of universities is to serve the community," he said.
Gao also mentioned that it was necessary to knock down university fences and share resources with the public.
"In Beijing, it is the National Library of China that mainly takes the responsibility for residents to read and borrow books, but it has been under construction since May 2011, and the borrowing service was suspended," Gao said. "Therefore, university libraries should take the opportunity to serve the public."
A staff member from the National Library of China told China Daily that the construction will not be done until the end of 2013, and during the period readers cannot borrow books.
However, Ge Jianxiong, president of Fudan University library in Shanghai, said on his micro blog that university libraries could only open some areas to visitors. "I have to first guarantee the use of the school library to our students and faculty, and then it can be opened gradually when conditions are OK."
Wang Le, a graduate student from Beijing Normal University, said she approves of the idea to share library resources with visitors. "It is a waste of resources to restrict library books to people in the school," Wang said.
However, Wang also raised concern about limited library space at her school. "To get a seat, we have to line up in front of the library before it opens," Wang said, adding that it would be better for visitors to borrow books instead of reading in the library.