Deep in the heart of a valley surrounded by rocky hills, a wooden library sits just over a creek on the outskirts of Beijing, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Every weekend, hundreds of bookworms flock to Liyuan Library in Jiaojiehe village, a book sanctuary surrounded by chestnut, walnut and peach trees whose branches were used to decorate the building.

The lush environment is what first drew architect Li Xiaodong to the village – the library has a steel and glass base but its facade is cladded with branches and twigs arranged in vertical rows.

Visitors cross a narrow wooden bridge which leads to a bright and airy space, sunlight seeping in through gaps in the uneven wood, a design feature.

Bookshelves that double up as walls line the reading area – basically one large room – and readers lounge with tomes on the floor or on elevated platforms.

The Liyuan Library’s interior has a very expressive character, with steps and small level changes to create distinct places.

With space for just 40 people at a time, visitors stand in line to enter the library, which only opens on weekends.


Daydreaming is also a familiar sight in the library, which is a bookworm’s paradise.

The library, which opened in April 2012, draws hundreds of visitors every weekend, many of whom are attracted by the design, which makes for great pictures on social media.


The Liyuan Library blends in beautifully amidst the natural landscape.

“We have now banned taking pictures inside, as some people come here just for taking pictures. They even come in costumes, that’s really disturbing,” said owner Pan Xi.

“We still want to give those who love reading a conducive environment.” – AFP