In 2008 we tore all of our books from the past three years into pieces. It was a celebration of graduating from high school and a longing for a new life. Yes, we hated books. We were forced to stay in the classroom for 10 hours every day; our eyes switched between books and the blackboard. Our days were filled with tasks from books. Directed by the running countdown on our blackboard, we were spurred on by the slogans surrounding us. Soon, we forgot how to read books and we forgot the joy of reading. We searched for the beautiful refuge for reading books and looking at things, the kind of paradise imagined by Jorge Luis Borges.
Unfortunately, most of the libraries in China were designed to represent the sanctity of knowledge and the dignity of the nation; they were to be clear symbols of national pride and knowledge. We found ourselves too small to embrace them. The joyful experience we were after did not exist there. However, we did have some amazing discoveries when we escaped our classrooms of book-counting. A new world composed of three secret gardens awaited us, as long as we had the patience to look. Through a reading of the Chinese garden, my thesis arrives on principles to create a new kind of library, one that emphasizes personal emotions and experiences, forgets the authority of books and nations, and blurs the boundary between story and reality. To read in the garden library is to simultaneously sense the physical surroundings with the body, observe the beautiful view with the eyes, and get carried away in a story unbounded by time and space.
The library of the future will transcend its environment and present experiences as perception, perceptions as stories, and stories as experiences. Who knows what can come from such a playful practice of knowledge?