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Statement on public library materials

In response to media enquiries about the current procedures being adopted by the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) in handling library items including newspapers/periodicals classified by the Obscene Articles Tribunal as "indecent articles", the Leisure and Cultural Services Department today (October 2) issued the following statement:

"In line with the principles stated in the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, the HKPL strives to develop library stocks that meet the community's needs for information and research, support lifelong learning, continuous education and profitable use of leisure time. Under these principles, the HKPL, while striving to maintain free flow of information, will not perform censorship of the library items it acquires."

"However, if the Obscene Articles Tribunal has classified any library item including a newspaper/periodical as a Class II (Indecent) item, the library staff will follow established library guidelines by taking it out from the open library stock and placing it in the closed stacks. Staff will also stick a warning notice on the cover of the library item in question for easy identification. This library item in the closed stacks will then be made available only to readers aged 18 or above on request. In processing the loan of such a library item, staff may request a reader to produce proof of age. If the reader is under the age of 18, staff will refuse the proposed loan with explanation. As all such library items in question are placed inside the closed stacks separated from the open stock, and are made available only to readers aged 18 or above upon request, there is no need to wrap each of these library items."

Ends/Tuesday, October 2, 2007
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