Scope and Level of Library Collections
The HKPL operates a five-tier library system whereby service points at different levels provide library materials appropriate to their respective purposes and clienteles. It is through this elaborate system of libraries that the HKPL achieves a more diversified provision of library materials to meet the pluralistic needs of individuals. Library users, on the other hand, are afforded the convenience of accessing or borrowing library materials across the whole system through the integrated automated circulation system and Online Public Access Catalogue. To maintain unity in diversity, the HKPL collections are regularly reviewed from a system-wide perspective as well as a regional/district perspective.
- Hong Kong Central Library
- Major Libraries
- District Libraries
- Small Libraries and Mobile Libraries
The Central Library, being the information hub of the HKPL system and a territory-wide information and cultural centre, is dedicated to developing a comprehensive range of lending and reference collections. In addition to quality reading materials for general readers, the Central Library also pays special attention to providing items from various disciplines so as to satisfy the needs for professional enhancement, lifelong learning, and research. Depending on anticipated demand from the public, library materials are acquired on different subjects ranging from the undergraduate to graduate levels. As regards Hong Kong studies and selected subject areas such as art, literature, China studies, etc, library materials are collected to the research level. The Central Library also houses depository collections of international organisations and specialised reference collections of primary and retrospective sources, which are intended for permanent preservation.
The six major libraries, namely 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, are regional information centres equipped with a dedicated reference library in addition to standard public library services. Their collections, ranging from general readings to materials at the undergraduate level, are geared towards the needs for knowledge, information, lifelong learning, and personal development of the communities they serve. The reference libraries are stocked with general reference materials, which serve the needs for daily information, systematic subject studies, and self-learning pursuits. In addition, the libraries are also committed to providing specialised thematic collections to cater for the specific needs and research purposes of members of the public.
District libraries offer a full range of standard library services to serve the general needs of their respective districts. They maintain a balanced collection covering both standard works on all subjects and materials catering for different levels of readership up to the undergraduate level. Owing to its size, a district library is only equipped with a small quick reference collection rather than those extensive subject collections in major libraries. The difference between the lending collections of major libraries and district libraries is one of degree rather than substance.
Small libraries and mobile libraries aim to provide basic lending services to adults and children. The collections offered include materials for leisure reading such as hobbies and fiction as well as materials for basic information up to the secondary school level. Basic reference tools are also available in small libraries.