Annual Report 2002 - Leisure and Cultural Services Department Brand Hong Kong - Asia's world city
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* Cultural Services *
  Public Libraries

The department provides free public library services to meet community needs for information, research, informal education and the profitable use of leisure time, as well as to promote reading and the literary arts. It also manages the Books Registration Office.

The Hong Kong Public Libraries system provides a network of 69 public libraries, including eight mobile libraries, with a collection in 2002 of 8.51 million books and 1.05 million multimedia materials. Usage of the public libraries has continued to increase markedly. In the year under review, 53.27 million items of library materials were borrowed from the libraries and 3.76 million reference enquiries were handled by library staff, representing an increase of 25.48% and 45.35% over the preceding year.

 
The mobile library service of the department is to supplement services provided by district libraries in densely populated areas and to extend library services to newly developed and remote areas without static libraries of their own.
 
The mobile library service of the department is to supplement services provided by district libraries in densely populated areas and to extend library services to newly developed and remote areas without static libraries of their own.*


Hong Kong Central Library

The Hong Kong Central Library occupies a gross floor area of 33,800 square metres with a total stock of 1.63 million, and provides a wide range of facilities. Special features include a Multimedia Information System, a Central Reference Library with six subject departments, an Arts Resource Centre, a Hong Kong Literature Room, a Basic Law Reference Collection Room, a Map Library, a Language Learning Centre, a Young Adult Library and a Toy Library. There are also hiring facilities including a 1,500 square-metre Exhibition Gallery, a 293-seat Lecture Theatre, two Activity Rooms, a Music Practice Room and a number of Discussion Rooms.

 
The Lecture Series on Humanities, Science and Technology by Contemporary Distinguished Scholars at the Hong Kong Central Library were well received by the public.
 
The Lecture Series on Humanities, Science and Technology by Contemporary Distinguished Scholars at the Hong Kong Central Library were well received by the public.*

As at the end of 2002, the Hong Kong Central Library has attracted a total of 8.82 million users since its opening in May 2001, with an average daily attendance of about 16,000. It is the major community and information centre in Hong Kong. In addition to a wide range of cultural activities and regular subject talks, the library organised a Lecture series on Humanities, Science and Technology by Contemporary Distinguished Scholars. The series was hosted by prominent scholars including Prof. Yang Cheng-ning, Prof. Jao Tsung I, Prof. Lao Si-guang, Prof. Lo Hong-lit, Prof. Ho Ping-ti, Prof. Kao Kuen, Prof. Chu Ching-wu and Prof. Siu Yum-tong. Another event, the Seminar Series on Hong Kong History, was presented by renowned scholars and local historians.

The library also launched two major collection campaigns in its first year. The Document Collection Campaign, which appeals to collectors and the general public alike to donate documents and suitable materials to the Library to help set up a special collection to promote local research and studies on Hong Kong. More than 70,000 items, including rare books, periodicals, letters, manuscripts, maps, old legal documents and folk etiquette, have so far been collected. The Music Collection Campaign, which is a joint project with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Composers and the Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., appeals to local musicians, record companies and members of the public to donate relevant materials for setting up a music databank.

 
In order to encourage reading and recycle of used books, the department jointly organised a Book Donation and Sale Campaign with various organisations.
 
In order to encourage reading and recycle of used books, the department jointly organised a Book Donation and Sale Campaign with various organisations.*


Reference and Information Services

Reference and information services are provided at the Central Library and the five major libraries the City Hall, Kowloon, Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun Public Libraries. The Central Reference Library has a total collection of 680,000 items, providing comprehensive reference and information services through its six subject departments. It features a comprehensive collection of electronic materials including CD-ROMs, on-line databases, electronic books, electronic journals and multimedia programmes, all of which are available for on-line access by the public.

 
The library provides a comprehensive collection of electronic materials.
 
The library provides a comprehensive collection of electronic materials.*

In recognition of its role as a major metropolitan library, the Hong Kong Central Library has been designated the depository library for nine international organisations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the European Union. It also holds the collection deposited under the Books Registration Ordinance of Hong Kong. Other major special reference collections of the library system include the Basic Law Reference Collection, the Hok Hoi Collection, Hong Kong Collection, Royal Asiatic Society (HK Branch) Collection, Kotewall Collection, Hong Kong Literature Collection, Chinese Authors Collection, and Hong Kong Village Life Collection.


Multimedia Service

Computer and Information Centres are located at the Hong Kong Central Library, five major libraries and most of the district libraries. They have workstations with commonly used computer application and multi-media programmes and Internet search capabilities. Members of the public can book the terminals for their own use or attend the regular computer literacy training sessions held in these centres. All the static libraries also have multimedia workstations for access to the Internet and multimedia databases, while audio and visual facilities are provided in the major and district libraries.

 
Members of the public use computers at a library.
 
Members of the public use computers at a library.*


Library Automation

The public library system is fully computerised. The library automation system supports more than 1,200 terminals and is one of the world's largest computerised library systems with both Chinese and English capabilities. It provides 24-hour daily Internet library services for readers to search library holdings, renew their borrowed items and reserve library materials. In 2002, the Internet library services were used by 49.55 million readers, representing an increase of 496% over the preceding year.

 
Readers enjoy more convenient services after the public library system becomes fully computerised.
 
Readers enjoy more convenient services after the public library system becomes fully computerised.*

The public library's homepage is currently the third most frequently visited Government homepage in the HKSAR. The library automation system also offers telephone renewal and borrower record enquiry services. Readers can now borrow and return library materials in any of the branch libraries. The project for installing self-charging terminals at all libraries is scheduled for completion in 2003. We plan to enhance the library automation system by enabling readers to use the smart ID cards to be issued by the Government in mid-2003 as library cards.

 
Readers can borrow and return library materials in any one of the branch libraries.
 
Readers can borrow and return library materials in any one of the branch libraries.*


Multimedia Information System

A Multimedia Information System (MMIS) has been developed for the Hong Kong Central Library. It provides audio and video on demand, on-line CD-ROM and reference-searching and document-viewing services via workstations in the Hong Kong Central Library and the Internet. The system offers on-line access to varied materials including old local newspapers, books, photographs, maps, government documents, clippings, manuscripts, posters, and house programmes of local cultural presentations. It also has online booking facilities so that patrons can book workstation time in the Hong Kong Central Library a week in advance. The MMIS has won a number of local and overseas awards, including: the Hong Kong Computer Society's silver award in the application category of its IT Excellence Awards 2001; and the best award in the E-Government and Service category of the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards 2002, presented by the government of Malaysia. It is also one of the finalists for the Stockholm Challenge Award.

 
The MMIS won a number of awards, including the Best award in the E-Government and Service Category of the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards 2002.
 
The MMIS won a number of awards, including the Best award in the E-Government and Service Category of the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards 2002.*
The MMIS won a number of awards, including the Best award in the E-Government and Service Category of the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards 2002.
The MMIS won a number of awards, including the Best award in the E-Government and Service Category of the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards 2002.


Support of Lifelong Learning

The public libraries have collaborated with the Education Department in support of lifelong learning by organising the Library Cards for All School Children scheme, a programme that aims to encourage primary school pupils to use public library resources for life. Library staff have also held regular liaison meetings with school librarians to explore ways to support school curriculum reforms. The Open University of Hong Kong has deposited its course materials in 15 public libraries. The public libraries continue to provide supporting library services to Project Springboard and have strengthened their collections specifically to support the self-learning and continuing education needs of the community. Plans are also in hand to set up a Business and Industry Reference Library and an Education Resources Centre at both the City Hall Public Library and the Kowloon Public Library.

 
The public libraries support lifelong learning, encourage children to use public library resources for life.
 
The public libraries support lifelong learning, encourage children to use public library resources for life.*


Outreach Programmes and Promotion of Literary Arts

Outreach programmes form an integral part of library services. Educational and cultural programmes are organised on a continuing basis to promote library facilities and services, cultivate lifelong reading habits and enhance the public's appreciation of the importance of free access to up-to-date information. Programmes organised throughout the year included children's hours, book displays and exhibitions, seminars and thematic talks, interest clubs and group visits. Regular sessions were held to teach people how to use the On-line Public Access Catalogue, on-line databases, the Internet and CD-ROMs.

 
The public libraries organise educational and cultural programmes to cultivate reading habits.
 
The public libraries organise educational and cultural programmes to cultivate reading habits.*

To mark the bi-centenary of Victor Hugo's birth, the Hong Kong Central Library, in association with the Consulate-General of France in Hong Kong and the Alliance Francais de Hong Kong, jointly organised subject talks and exhibitions. In 2002, a total of 17,451 library outreach programmes were organised.

The libraries also play an active role in promoting the literary arts in Hong Kong by organising several major literary competitions. They included the Awards for Creative Writing in Chinese, the Chinese Poetry-Writing Competition, the Hong Kong Biennial Awards for Chinese Literature, and the Competition on Story-Writing in Chinese for Students. The 4th Hong Kong Literature Festival, jointly organised with the Arts Development Council in July and August 2002, attracted an attendance of 80,274. The award-winning competition entries were published for sale to promote creative writing. To date, the public libraries have published 95 titles of Chinese literary books with sale over 1.1 million volumes.


Promotion of Reading

To encourage good reading habits in youngsters, reading programmes and related activities have been launched by the libraries. These included a large scale Story Kingdom exhibition and a series of programmes to stimulate children's interest in reading and to encourage parents to actively participate in the reading process.

In addition, Teens' Book Clubs were introduced in the Hong Kong Central Library and five major libraries, and 98 schools nominated their students to participate. In view of the favourable response, we plan to set up similar reading clubs in all district libraries in 2003.

The public libraries continued to co-operate with the Education Department, Po Leung Kuk, and Hong Kong IT Education City in organising the Read to Enjoy programme which provides mobile library services to 300 schools without library facilities. Other reading related activities included the 2002 Ten Recommended Good Books jointly organised with the Radio Television Hong Kong; a Selection of Good Books for Secondary School Students and Reading Carnival jointly organised with the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union.

 
Mobile library services are provided to schools without library facilities.
 
Mobile library services are provided to schools without library facilities.*

The libraries provide block loan of books and audio cassettes to non-profit-making organisations, rehabilitation and penal institutions, homes for the aged and the physically handicapped, thereby extending library services to members of the community who are unable to gain free access to normal services. Block loan service is also available to schools. In 2002, more than 1.54 million library materials were arranged through block loan for 1,352 organisations and schools.

For the first time, a Book Donation and Sale Campaign was launched to encourage the public to read and to share their books with others. Some 140,000 books were collected and $330,000 was raised for the Community Chest from the sale. Any unsold books were donated to local libraries or organisations.


Service to the Disabled

The libraries provide a wide range of services and facilities for people with disabilities. The Hong Kong Central Library provides tactile guide paths, special service counters, adjustable reading tables and toilets for disabled. Adequate access for the disabled is provided in all new libraries and most existing libraries, and there is a hotline for people with disabilities. Five major libraries stock English fiction in large print for the visually impaired and elderly, and the Hong Kong Central Library has a reading machine for the blind and a colour image magnifier. In addition, computer software and equipment for the visually impaired is installed in the branch libraries.


Library Initiatives

Two major initiatives are the launch in February 2002 of the CD-ROM lending service and the extension in January 2003 of the Hong Kong Central Library's opening hours from 68 hours to 74 hours per week.

Two new libraries were opened in January 2003, namely a full-scale district library for reprovisioning the small library in Fanling and a small library in Fu Shan, Wong Tai Sin. Renovation work has begun at the Butterfly Estate Public Library to enhance facilities.

For the convenience of readers wishing to return books outside library opening hours, "book-drop" facilities were extended to 43 public libraries. Other plans include the installation of a book detection system in the New Territories and the gradual setting up of Computer and Information Centres in the district libraries.

 
Book drops have been installed in libraries for the return of borrowed materials after opening hours.
 
Book drops have been installed in libraries for the return of borrowed materials after opening hours.*

In addition to the regular Customer Liaison Meetings held in the libraries, an opinion survey on the Hong Kong public library services was conducted in December 2001. The survey showed that 81.2% of the adult library-users were satisfied with the overall facilities and services and 16.2% rated them average.

An independent consultant was commissioned by the department to study the future development of public libraries. The study includes the formulation of a strategic plan for the development of the public libraries, as well as the most suitable mode of governance of them. The consultant submitted its report in November 2002, and public consultation on the recommendations commenced earlier this year.


Exchange Programmes

During the year, the Hong Kong Central Library established an exchange of publication programme with a number of overseas libraries and cultural organisations, as well as those in Mainland China.

A librarian from Shenzhen Library was attached to Hong Kong Central Library for one month to study the library's operation and its diversified services. Professional library staff from the department have actively participated in overseas library conferences such as: the World Library Summit in Singapore; the Asian Library Conference on Collection Development in Penang, Malaysia; the APEC Workshop on E-Learning and Digital Library in Taiwan; and the Chinese Document Development and Cooperation Conference in Beijing. Such events help us to keep abreast of the latest developments in librarianship and to maintain contacts with overseas library professionals.


Books Registration Office

The main functions of the Books Registration Office are to help preserve Hong Kong's cultural heritage through the registration of local publications and to monitor the use of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) System. A Catalogue of Books Printed in Hong Kong is published quarterly by the Books Registration Office in the Government Gazette, which can be accessed through the Internet. In 2002, the office registered a total of 11,900 books and 12,923 periodicals, and issued 517 new publisher prefixes conforming to the ISBN.

 
 
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