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Library Collections

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 collections 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.

About the Collection

As at the end of December 2023, the HKPL has a collection of 15.38 million items of library materials, of which 13.67 million items are books and other print materials. The remainder consists of non-print materials such as audiovisual materials.  The HKPL provides about 4 300 titles of newspapers and periodicals.

The HKPL strives to develop a print-based library collection while enriching its e-book collections and electronic resources to meet the needs of different sectors of the community.  As at the end of December 2023, the HKPL has 17 e-book collections with over 510 000 e-books and 82 e-databases.  Among these e-databases, 41 of them are available for remote access by library card holders via the Internet.

The composition of the system-wide library collections of all libraries under the HKPL is generalised in the proportions as follows:

Lending Collections Adult Collection Children and Young Adult Collection Total
Chinese books 5,120,000 2,910,000 8,030,000
English books 1,600,000 1,440,000 3,040,000
Total 6,720,000 4,350,000 11,070,000
- Ratio of Chinese books to English books 72.5% : 27.5%
- Ratio of Adult books to Children books 60.7% : 39.3%
- Ratio of Non-fiction to Fiction 70.2% : 29.8%
Reference Collections 2,600,000
- Ratio of Lending books to Reference books 81.0% : 19.0%
Non-print Collections 1,710,000
- Ratio of Print Materials to Non-print Materials 88.9% : 11.1%
Total Library Stock (items)* 15,380,000

*The stock figures include items available to the public (about 14.04 million), new items under preparation (about 0.16 million), items under processing and temporarily unavailable to the public (about 0.64 million), and items pending for withdrawal (about 0.54 million).