Hong Kong Central Library

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Hong Kong Central Library
HongKongCentralLibrary.JPG
Hong Kong Central Library back view
Country Hong Kong
Type Public library
Established May 2001
Location Wan Chai District
Coordinates 22°16′47.87″N 114°11′22.30″E / 22.2799639°N 114.1895278°E / 22.2799639; 114.1895278Coordinates: 22°16′47.87″N 114°11′22.30″E / 22.2799639°N 114.1895278°E / 22.2799639; 114.1895278.
Collection
Items collected 2,300,000
Website http://www.hkcl.gov.hk/
Hong Kong Central Library
Hong Kong Central Library2.jpg
Entrance to the library. A fountain with a spinning-Top can be seen outside it.
Simplified Chinese 香港中央图书馆
Traditional Chinese 香港中央圖書館

Hong Kong Central Library is the largest and the main library of Hong Kong, it functions similar to a National Library. It is located at the intersection of Moreton Terrace and Causeway Road in Causeway Bay.

Facing Victoria Harbour, the 12-storey high building occupies a gross area of 9,400 sq. metres with a floor area of 33,800 sq. metres. The building cost of the Central Library was HK$690 million. The Library's collections amount to one fifth of the Hong Kong Public Libraries System; 2.3 million items out of the total 12.1 million items.

The arch-shaped doorway atop the front facade of the Hong Kong Central Library symbolises the Gate to Knowledge, while the triangle, square and circle which make up the arch all carry further meaning. The circle represents the sky, the square the land and the triangle the accretion of knowledge. When it was originally proposed , the design was controversial and received critiques from Urban Council members.

Services[edit]

Entrance to the library

Opened in May 2001, the Hong Kong Central Library provides a complete variety of library services including:

  • inclusive reference and information services
  • self-charging terminals
  • Bookdrop service (available during library non-opening hours)
  • information kiosks
  • Multimedia Information System (MMIS).

Online Public Access Catalogue[edit]

The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) enables readers to rummage around the whole Chinese and English collections of the Hong Kong Public Libraries. Over and above a wide assortment of search options, such as author, title, subject, etc.

Readers do not have the choice at the start to narrow their search to books only, to audio-visual materials only or to some other categories or materials.

From any OPAC terminal, readers will know instantaneously whether the item they need is available on the shelf, on loan or being reserved. If it is on loan, readers will also know the date the item is due for return.

In case readers wish to know library related activities that are being held or forthcoming; or wish to check their own borrowing record, like how many books readers have borrowed, which item is overdue, etc., merely follow the menu options and readers will find them all. Readers may also carry out renewal and reservation at any OPAC terminal.

Multimedia Information System (MMIS)[edit]

Steps leading to the library. Quotations from Chinese classics (as can be seen here), and English proverbs, are carved on them.

Multimedia Information System is an example of all-embracing use of information technology and computer application in the Hong Kong Central Library. A three level audio-on-demand (AOD) and video-on-demand (VOD) system has been set up:

  • 1st level: built upon the high quality video-audio servers. Users can access the system in sync.
  • 2nd level: consists of servers and jukeboxes. It is a more economical channel for the public to search for less frequently used audio/video materials.
  • 3rd level: a conventional video/audio distribution network is used. Users can access media of most formats using LD, VCD, DVD, CD player and cassette player.

To enable more public to use the first level video and third level audio and video of the AOD/VOD system, about 90 Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) terminals are installed in the Hong Kong Central Library. Meanwhile, the public can also utilise the AOD system by using the over 400 LAN workstations in the Central Library.

In addition, the Hong Kong Central Library provides document imaging materials, such as drawings, manuscripts, microfilms, clippings, reports, posters, house programmes, newspapers, photos, maps, pictures, black-and-white document images etc. After clearance of the relevant copyright/licensing terms, the materials are digitised and stored in the multimedia databases for all set access of users.

Comparing with the traditional library services, the digital library can provide better services in the way that:

  • user can search information once there are networked workstations;
  • multiple users can search for and use the same library materials concurrently;
  • research and accessing information becomes more effective, efficient and in-depth;
  • research means are of a greater variety, such as searching by colour format, style and structure, etc.

The Multimedia Information Services have already been extended to other public libraries. Depending on user demand, the Hong Kong Central Library may also make more workstations available for use.

Legal Deposit Library[edit]

Inside view of the library.
Délifrance café.

The Hong Kong Central Library is an intelligent building, built on a network flooring system to offer litheness for the supply of power, telecommunication and further alteration and extension. Hong Kong Central Library has been designated as the legal depository library in Hong Kong for nine global organisations:

Materials published by these organisations will have copies sent to this library. These materials are accessible to the public via a variety of methods.[how?]

Reading tables are all provided with separate power points and dataline outlets through which library patrons can use their own portable computers to access the library network and the Internet. Readers can also retrieve a wide range of multimedia databases on CD-ROMs and the Internet through the LAN/ATM workstations.

Discussion Rooms[edit]

Several floors of the Hong Kong Central Library have discussion rooms available for rental at a fixed charge on an hourly basis, and on a 30-minute basis thereafter.

Café[edit]

The library houses a Délifrance café outside the library area on the first floor behind the bookshop.

Floor plan[edit]

Escalators in the library.
Glass-walled elevators in the library.

The Hong Kong Central Library has 11 storeys, each with its theme purpose.

G/F: Special Rooms[edit]

  • Activities Room*
  • Exhibition Gallery
  • Lecture Theatre*
  • User Education Hall

1/F: Reception[edit]

  • Main Library Entrance
  • Cloakroom
  • Book and Gift Shop
  • Book Drop
  • Cafeteria
  • Book circulation counters
  • Self-charging terminals

2/F: Children's Library[edit]

  • Children's Lending Library
  • Children's Reference Library
  • Picture Book Corner
  • Children's Multimedia Room
  • Children's Activity Room
  • Toy Library

3/F: Adult Lending Library[edit]

  • Adult Lending Library
  • Self-charging terminals
  • Adult's World

4/F: Special Reading Area[edit]

  • Newspapers and Periodicals Stack
  • Back Issues of Newspapers and Periodicals Reading Area
  • Microform Production Room**
  • Book Repair / Conservation Room**

5/F: Special Reading Area[edit]

  • Current Newspapers and Periodicals Reading Area
  • Microform Reading Area
  • Computer and Information Centre
  • Map Library

6/F: Young Adult Library[edit]

  • Young Adult Library
  • Audio-visual Library
  • Discussion Room*
  • Language Learning Centre
  • Self-charging terminals
  • Comics

7/F: Exhibition Area[edit]

  • Exhibition Area
  • Central Book Stack**
  • Rare Book Stack**

8/F: Central Reference Library[edit]

  • General Reference Department
  • Hong Kong Studies Department
  • Hong Kong Literature Room
  • United Nations Collection
  • Depository Collections

9/F: Central Reference Library[edit]

People on the 9th floor of HKCL, the reference library floor. The statue, moved from City Hall Library, is the bust of Sir Robert Kotewall.
  • Social Sciences Department
  • Humanities Department
  • Science and Technology Department
  • Business and Finance Department
  • Discussion Room*

10/F: Arts Resource Centre[edit]

10th Floor.
  • Arts Library / Arts Resource Centre
  • Music Practice Room*
  • Discussion Room*
  • Pornographic Section*
  • Hong Kong Central Library Office**

11/F: Offices[edit]

  • Hong Kong Public Library Offices**

Notes:

  1. *In-advance booking required for usage
  2. **Not open to public

In addition, male, female and toilets for the disabled, as well as information counters are available on every floor except 7/F and 11/F.

Anecdote[edit]

There existed some memorial plaques dedicated to famous modern Chinese writers in the library, one of them was for the witty and erudite scholar-novelist Qian Zhongshu (錢鍾書). When the library was first opened, it was found that the second character in Qian's name, zhong (, "to favour"), was mis-represented as zhong (, "clock"). The mistake drew some criticism against the new library, which contains the greatest number of reference books among the public libraries in Hong Kong.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]