For many expat families, the loss of the convenient public library system is a great disadvantage to living in Beijing. Gone are the happy days of walking to the public library for a leisurely afternoon of reading; instead, many parents need to order children’s books online, which can be pricey – especially if they’re imported ones in English.
However, with Ivy Kids Moving Library, both English and Chinese library books are just a click away. The service allows families to have library books delivered to their home twice a month for a membership fee of RMB 880/year (for up to five English books per delivery) or RMB 1,080/year (for up to eight Chinese books and four English books per delivery).
Founded by two working mothers, Ivy Kids Moving Library focuses on catering to the needs of both Chinese and foreign parents in Beijing. “We both realized that we weren’t really happy in an office, and that we had much more potential for doing work outside of the corporation,” says Sunny Hao, co-founder of the library. “We wanted to spread positive energy and do something we were really interested in – something we could really invest in, financially and emotionally.”
Recognizing the importance of reading for children and the lack of well-managed library systems in Beijing, the two moms decided to create a library that would both be convenient for parents and provide endless opportunities to learn for children. The library houses a vast collection of both Chinese and English books, including picture books and chapter books of different levels for children up to 12 years old, as well as parenting/education books for parents (note that these are mostly in Chinese). All volumes can be found and ordered on their online menu.
As members, parents can select books with their children online, and the library will deliver books straight to your doorstep. There are also membership plans for self pick-up at the library, though the Haidian location might prove too far a journey for families living in Chaoyang, Dongcheng, or Shunyi. While there is no English platform for online book selection, the website is very easy to navigate and the library provides customer service in English, so parents who cannot read Chinese can call the library’s customer service number and place orders for books there. When a new set of books are delivered, parents are required to return the last set of books to the delivery worker, ensuring that borrowing new books and returning old ones is taken care of in one simple step. Returned books are carefully inspected and sanitized in the library, so parents can rest assured that their children are using clean, well-kept books.
Ivy Kids Moving Library 常春藤绘本馆
Room 6135, 6/F No. 5 Guangyuan Plaza, Guangyuanzha, Haidian District
Phone no.: 15501006208 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org | Wechat: bjhdcct
Photo by Mike Russell