BEIJING -- Many elderly Chinese enjoy their retirement looking after grandchildren, or joining square dancing groups. Meng Xiangqian, 63, however, reignited his career by applying for a post at China's "lonely library".
The library, built just a year ago by a real estate developer and a renowned publishing company, boasts an exclusive section of the beach at Beidaihe, the nearest coastal resort to Beijing.
Far from the concrete jungle and urban bustle, the seaside library with its picturesque views went viral last year with web users calling it "the loneliest library in the world".
Meng never expected to gain such distinction in the digital age. He retired in 2013 from a 30-year career in libraries. He is proud of being a librarian, as Chairman Mao, the idol of his generation, did the same job at Peking University before leading China's revolution.
When his daughter showed him the library's recruitment advertisement, he sent in his resume along with hundreds of others. Two months later, he was offered the job.
"How could I say no to such an enviable offer?" Meng told Xinhua earlier this month.
In a year, more than 70,000 visitors have flocked to the library, which can only seat 60 visitors. At the peak, it received 2,000 people in one day.
However, not everyone came to read. Some took photos and selfies with the seascape; some came to flirt with their dates; and the sound of the waves was always drowned by the noise of running children.
Meng could not tolerate such chaos. After two months, he drew up strict rules for the scenic attraction: no photographing and chatting in reading room; no entry without a reservation ticket.
Some complain he takes the job too seriously, but Meng insists traditional library rules should be followed.