Feature: Retiree's unique library brings Chinese culture to Barcelona suburb

(Xinhua) 10:28, July 09, 2024

BARCELONA, Spain, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Library of Barcelona, located in Hospitalet de Llobregat, aims to introduce local Spaniards to Chinese culture, making a unique initiative in northeastern Spain.

Xuefeng Ma, a resident of Hospitalet for six years, dedicated her retirement savings to establish the library, one of the few in Spain offering a free lending service and the first of its kind in Barcelona. It took her two years to curate the library's collection, importing books directly from China.

"After I moved to Spain, I noticed that there are very few Chinese books here, even though our culture goes back a very long time," Ma, director of the Chinese library, told Xinhua. She expressed her hope that the library would provide an opportunity for Chinese children and local residents alike to explore and appreciate Chinese culture.

Ma's inspiration for the library stemmed from her admiration for the Spanish classic novel "Don Quixote." During the COVID pandemic, she meticulously transcribed a Chinese translation into 64 notebooks over 443 days, now displayed in the library.

Carlos Gonzalez, a resident, expressed his fascination with Chinese culture. He noted the limited exposure to Chinese culture locally, which is why he'd like to visit China and experience its culture and lifestyle firsthand.

Ten-year-old Yixuan Wu, leveraging his language skills in Chinese, Spanish, and Catalan volunteers in the library while enjoying access to his favorite books. "I became a volunteer here when they opened the library because I like Chinese books and we don't have many in Spain, I come here to read books in Chinese."

The library director is optimistic about its future, stating that with everyone's dedication, the library will continue to improve. She highlighted that the library's collection also includes Spanish literature translated into Chinese, allowing Chinese readers to learn about Spain and fostering cultural exchange between China and the West.

Hospitalet de Llobregat hosts approximately 4,000 residents of Chinese descent, part of the broader 54,000-strong Chinese community in the Barcelona area. The director hopes the library will serve as a gateway for these residents to connect with their cultural roots.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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