The HKPL provides a network of 70 static libraries and 12 mobile libraries, which are interconnected by an integrated automated library system to provide convenient access to a wide range of library collections for people from all walks of life. The HKPL provides readers with free access to all library collections, which are broadly classified as below:-
Print and Non-print Materials
- Print items
Including books, newspapers, periodicals, maps, music scores, and any other print materials
- Non-print items
Including audiovisual materials, electronic resources, microforms, and any other non-print materials.
Lending and Reference Collections
- Lending Collections
The lending collections, covering a comprehensive range of subjects, are developed to cater for the needs of readers of different age groups. They are categorised as adult collection, young adult collection, and children collection.
- Reference Collections
The reference services of the Hong Kong Public Libraries aim to provide the latest information to readers. Its collections aim to collect and preserve the monograph of different subject disciplines for reference and research by the general public.
- General reference collections
The general reference collections held by the Central Reference Library encompass a great variety of subjects with the exception of those already covered by special reference libraries/resource centres under the HKPL. The collections, focused on topics specific to Hong Kong, China, Chinese humanities, business practices and management, and issues of local and international concern, are kept in six subject departments, namely Hong Kong Studies, General Reference, Social Sciences, Business and Finance, Science and Technology, and Humanities. They feature essential quick reference tools, standard or scholarly works, research reports, and expensive sets which provide quality and reliable reference sources relevant to general or special information needs, systematic self-learning, or research purposes.
The general reference collections held by major libraries including the City Hall Public Library, Kowloon Public Library, Sha Tin Public Library, Tsuen Wan Public Library, Tuen Mun Public Library, and Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library aim to satisfy the information and lifelong learning needs of the respective regions.
- Special reference collections
There are twenty special collections being kept in the Hong Kong Public Libraries which comprise of a wide variety of reference materials mainly related to Hong Kong and of some other thematic collections and subjects, including books, periodicals and newspapers, celebrities' correspondences, manuscripts, maps, photographs, music scores, opera scripts, archival documents, microforms, audio-visual materials and digital files, covering the subjects of local history, philosophy, literature, art, education, society, economy, folklore, etc. Some of them are rare books and out-of-print publications. They are mainly kept in the Hong Kong Central Library, major reference libraries and some district libraries.
- Depository collections
The Hong Kong Public Libraries is keeping the depository collections of nine international organizations in the Hong Kong Central Library.
- General reference collections
About the Collection
As of the end of 2018, the HKPL has a collection of 14.99 million items of library materials, of which 13.14 million items are books and other print materials. The remainder consists of non-print materials such as audiovisual materials. The HKPL provides more than 5,000 titles of newspapers and periodicals, about 76 electronic databases and 290,000 e-books. The composition of the system-wide library collections of all libraries under the HKPL is generalized in the proportions as follows:-
|Lending Collections||Adult Collection||Children and Young Adult Collection||Total|
|- Ratio of Chinese books to English books||73.4% : 26.6%|
|- Ratio of Adult books to Children books||63.6% : 36.4%|
|- Ratio of Non-fiction to Fiction||70.7% : 29.3%|
|- Ratio of Lending books to Reference books||81.5% : 18.5%|
|- Ratio of Print Materials to Non-print Materials||87.6% : 12.4%|
|Total Library Stock (items)||14,990,000|