Annual Report 2004 - Leisure and Cultural Services Department Brand Hong Kong - Asia's world city
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  Public Libraries

The LCSD operates the Hong Kong Public Libraries system comprising 72 public libraries, including nine mobile libraries. It also manages the Books Registration Office. The public libraries system provides free library and information services to meet community needs for information, lifelong learning, research, informal education and the profitable use of leisure, and to promote reading and the literary arts.

The libraries have a comprehensive collection of 9.76 million books and 1.33 million items of multimedia materials catering for 3.14 million registered borrowers. In 2004, 62.16 million library items were borrowed and 4.02 million reference enquiries were handled by staff, representing an increase of 6.04% and 2.81%, respectively, over 2003.


Hong Kong Central Library

Since its opening in May 2001, the Hong Kong Central Library has developed into a major information and cultural centre in Hong Kong. Occupying a gross floor area of 33,800 square metres with a total stock of 1.99 million items, the 12-storey building 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, Hong Kong Literature Room, Basic Law Reference Collection Room, Map Library, Language Learning Centre, Young Adult Library and a Toy Library. There are also facilities for hire 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.


Specialised reference services, including the Map Library, are provided at the Hong Kong Central Library.
Specialised reference services, including the Map Library, are provided at the Hong Kong Central Library.

In addition to regular cultural activities and subject talks, Hong Kong-wide events were organised during the year. The Distinguished Contemporary Chinese Scientists Seminar was held in October in collaboration with the China Association for Science and Technology, the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre. The seminar covered a series of talks on science and technology by renowned scholars and speakers in the field. It attracted an audience of over 1,000 and many others on the Internet through web-casting. Large-scale talks on CEPA and Hong Kong and Regional Development in China were held to promote understanding and awareness of the social and economic developments in Hong Kong and the Mainland. An exhibition on Hong Kong's Music Collection was presented to display materials collected through the Music Collection Campaign.


Treasures of Music — An Exhibition of Hong Kong Music Documents Collected provides a trip down memory lane for visitors to the Hong Kong Central Library.
Treasures of Music — An Exhibition of Hong Kong Music Documents Collected provides a trip down memory lane for visitors to the Hong Kong Central Library.


Initiatives in Library Services

The public library system has made dedicated efforts to improve its services to the public through enrichment of library stock and reference and information services, use of information technology, promotion of reading habits in the community, and improving access to public library services.

Three new libraries were opened during the year. In April, a small library at Tung Chung was added to the public library network, significantly enhancing library services on Lantau Island. In December, the Tai Po Public Library, a sub-standard district library in leased premises, was relocated to new premises at the Tai Po Complex, and a new mobile library was also put into service in the same month. Preparations were in hand for the opening of a new district library at Ma On Shan in early April 2005.


Opened in April, the Tung Chung Public Library offers comprehensive services to residents and children on Lantau Island.
Opened in April, the Tung Chung Public Library offers comprehensive services to residents and children on Lantau Island.

A new mobile library takes to the streets during the year.
A new mobile library takes to the streets during the year.

The public libraries continued to promote and support lifelong learning in the community. The Library Cards for All School Children Scheme remained in place in collaboration with the Education and Manpower Bureau to encourage primary school students to use library services. Regular meetings were held with school librarians on the provision of library services to support the school curriculum. The provision of supporting services in 16 public libraries to the Project Yi Jin education programme and course materials of the Open University of Hong Kong, has facilitated the pursuit of self-learning by many in the community. Plans were also under way to set up an Education Resource Centre at the Kowloon Public Library.

The Artwork on Loan Scheme jointly launched with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, which allows each reader to borrow two pieces of artwork and institutions to borrow a maximum of five pieces for a loan period of 30 days from the Arts Resources Centre of the Central Library, proved to be popular and the scheme will be further expanded in the coming year.


Reference and Information Services

Reference and information services are provided at the Central Library and the five major libraries — City Hall, Kowloon, Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun. The Central Reference Library has a total collection of 910,000 items, providing comprehensive reference and information services through its six subject departments. It features an extensive collection of electronic material 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 also holds the permanent collection of books deposited under the Books Registration Ordinance and the depository collections of nine international organisations. Specialised reference services are also provided at the Arts Resources Centre, the Hong Kong Literature Room and the Map Library of the Central Library.

In September, the Central Library launched the new Internet Reference Enquiry Service in collaboration with the Zhongshan Library, the Shenzhen Library, and the Macau Central Library. The new service enables readers in the respective regions to directly pose reference enquiries to the participating libraries with the easy click of a link provided on the web page of the library of their home region. This 'virtual' combination of professional resources represents an important step towards information and knowledge exchange in the Pearl River Delta.

The year also saw the opening of the Basic Law Library at the City Hall Public Library. Opened in December as a joint project with the Basic Law Institute, the Library combines the collection of over 5,000 items donated by the Institute with the Basic Law Reference Collection of some 3,600 items originally housed at the Central Library. The total collection covers a wide range of materials on the Basic Law, constitutional law, administrative law, human rights, and civil rights. Readers can use the collection to better understand the Basic Law of the HKSAR and to conduct research on these subjects.


The Basic Law Library provides a comprehensive reference for readers to better understand the law.
The Basic Law Library provides a comprehensive reference for readers to better understand the law.


Digital Library and IT Initiatives

The Library Automation System of Hong Kong Public Libraries is one of the world's largest computerised library systems with both Chinese and English capabilities. It provides 24-hour Internet library services for on-line searching, reservation and renewal of library material. In 2004, 15.93 million items were renewed through the Internet and Telephone Renewal Services. With the growing popularity of on-line public library services, the Hong Kong Public Libraries home page (http://www.hkpl.gov.hk) was among the most popular web sites in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Public Libraries continued to expand the application of information technology to provide more convenient and efficient services to the public. Following the launch of the new smart ID cards in 2003, residents of Hong Kong were allowed the option of using their smart ID cards as library cards to borrow, renew and reserve library material. Continual growth in the number of readers opting for the service in 2004 resulted in a significant rise in the use of smart ID cards for library services. More computer terminals with Internet access were installed with e-Cert compatible smart card readers for public use to promote wider use of information technology and electronic services. In addition, the e-mail notification service introduced last year was warmly received. Over 60,000 readers had opted for the new service by the end of 2004 and over 147,000 e-mail notices were issued. To meet the increasing demand for information searches through the Internet, planning was under way to set up a pilot scheme for the installation of Internet Express Terminals in eight libraries in 2005. Plans were also in hand to install more self-charging terminals to further promote self-services in libraries.


Readers using self-charging terminals to borrow and renew publications.
Readers using self-charging terminals to borrow and renew publications.

The Multimedia Information System (MMIS), developed for the Hong Kong Central Library, opened up new realms of information retrieval by offering the public instant access to a wide variety of digital documents, and audio and video programmes on demand. The MMIS has received a number of awards for the provision of outstanding digital library services. The system has been extended to 25 branch libraries and made available for Internet web browsing by the general public to further improve accessibility.


The Multimedia Information System, a user-friendly information retrieval service, provides digital documents and audio and video clips on demand at libraries and on the Internet.
The Multimedia Information System, a user-friendly information retrieval service, provides digital documents and audio and video clips on demand at libraries and on the Internet.


Outreach Programmes

Outreach programmes form an integral part of library services. Regular programmes like story-telling sessions, book displays and exhibitions, thematic talks and seminars, group visits and community talks were organised throughout the year. In line with the digital library initiative, educational programmes on teaching the public to use the On-line Public Access Catalogue, on-line databases, CD-ROMs, MMIS and the Internet were also held regularly. The libraries organised a total of 16,967 library outreach programmes during the year.

A variety of reading programmes and reading-related activities were organised to promote reading and sustain reading habits and interest. A month-long reading promotion programme was organised during the summer holidays. The event included an exhibition of Classic Children's Stories and a series of children's reading programmes, such as musical drama, competitions on drawing and dramatisation of stories, film shows, reading talks, story-telling sessions, and interactive workshops.


Young people are encouraged to become more involved in reading and other literary pursuits through activities in the Summer Reading Month.
Young people are encouraged to become more involved in reading and other literary pursuits through activities in the Summer Reading Month.

The Teens' Reading Clubs were extended from the Hong Kong Central Library and the five major public libraries to 25 district libraries. Activities such as Meet-the-Author talks, were held to support the reading clubs, and these drew an enthusiastic response. Other major reading activities included the Reading Carnival and the Selection of Good Books Scheme for Secondary School Students, which was jointly-presented with the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union; and the Ten Recommended Good Books programme held jointly with Radio Television Hong Kong.

A number of special programmes and large-scale competitions were held to promote creative writing and to engender an appreciation and development of the literary arts. The 5th Hong Kong Literature Festival was organised in July in collaboration with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and offered an array of over 30 programmes including symposiums, interflows and dialogues with authors and creators, a series of workshops, an exhibition on portraits of local authors, a literary camp, and competitions on dramatisation of literary works and postcard design. Other major activities included the Chinese Poetry Writing Competition, Competition on Story Writing in Chinese for Students, and the Award for Creative Writing in Chinese, jointly organised with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. The winning entries in these competitions were published. So far, the public libraries have published 103 Chinese literary books.


Adopting the theme 'New Vision of Literature', the 5th Hong Kong Literature Festival explores the meaning and function of the new era in Hong Kong's literary arts.
Adopting the theme 'New Vision of Literature', the 5th Hong Kong Literature Festival explores the meaning and function of the new era in Hong Kong's literary arts.

To encourage the sharing of books and to support recycling, the Book Donation and Sale Campaign was held again in February. Some 160,000 books were sold, raising over $810,000 for the Community Chest. A new event, The Old Stories of Our Districts, was held to arouse public awareness and interest in local history. It comprised 18 talks by distinguished personalities and celebrities in local communities and attracted a very good response.


The Book Donation and Sale Campaign was organised to encourage the sharing of books and to support recycling.
The Book Donation and Sale Campaign was organised to encourage the sharing of books and to support recycling.


Cultural Exchange

The year saw the continued strengthening of co-operation with public libraries outside Hong Kong, particularly with those in the Greater Pearl River Delta region. Reciprocal visits were made with the libraries for professional exchanges and the development of joint services especially in the areas of cataloguing and reference services.


Readers in the Greater Pearl River Delta region can enjoy cataloguing and reference services provided by the Hong Kong Public Libraries.
Readers in the Greater Pearl River Delta region can enjoy cataloguing and reference services provided by the Hong Kong Public Libraries.


Books Registration Office

The main functions of the Books Registration Office are to help preserve Hong Kong's literary 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 2004, the office registered 13,885 books, 14,630 periodicals and 709 new publisher prefixes conforming to the ISBN.

 
 
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2005© Important notices Last revision date: 24/11/11