A mecca for art students in the city, Three Shadows' public library for the arts is set to expand, bringing in fresh material for aficionados throughout Beijing.

Thanks to a quarterly grant and a partnership with RedBox Studio and the Dominique and Sylvan Levy (DSL) Collection, the library will expand through the acquisition of new texts, donated books and a new digital catalogue that will alow users to browse content online.

Central both metaphorically and physically to the gallery—it’s located above the café on site—the library began with the private collection of about 800 books of founders RongRong and Inri. Now home to nearly 4,000 books, the library is completely unique in Beijing.

"For me, the heart of Three Shadows is the library because that’s where it all began,” says Three Shadows development director Jillian Schultz.

The first round of books added to the collection comes from a wish list compiled by photography book expert and gallery publisher Mao Weidong. The next round of books will come from suggestions culled from a host of artists, curators and members of the art community who were given a questionnaire asking about the art books they found most influential and how they might curate an exhibit of books. Three Shadows also hopes to engage the public in this process—seeking input on what to add so that it truly becomes a community library.

There are books from all over the world, in all different languages, though most common are English, Chinese, Japanese and French.

The new digital catalogue will make these tomes even easier to access through an interactive touch-screen in the shape of a book. Visitors can also view an online 3-D gallery featuring works from the DSL Collection and an eBook catalogue.

The goals of the digital catalogue and library expansion are to make books on contemporary Chinese art available to the public and to make the gallery itself even more accessible via the Internet, eventually linking to other online art libraries, says Katherine Don, founder of RedBox Studio.

It's a goal art lovers living in the capital will appreciate.


Find it: Three Shadows, 155 Caochangdi, Chaoyang 朝阳区草场地155号

Check out what's coming up in the Beijing art calendar on City Weekend's Art Events Page