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Latest arrangements on services of Hong Kong Public Libraries

To tie in with the Government’s latest anti-epidemic measures, members of the public must comply with the requirements of the Vaccine Pass and are required to scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" QR code or register their names, contact number and the date and time of the visit before admission for necessary contact tracing if a confirmed case is found. Please refer to the Details.

Calculation of overdue fines has been resumed from 5 May for late return of library items. Readers are advised to renew their borrowed items on time or return the overdue items as soon as possible in order not to incur overdue fines.

Selection of Library Materials

Selection Philosophy and Criteria

The selection of library materials is very much a matter of subject knowledge with experience. Selection must be seen in context and be related to the aims and objectives of the HKPL. The needs and interests of the whole community as well as the users of individual public libraries have to be taken into account. Professional knowledge must be used to apportion the funds available among claims of the various groups concerned. Whilst emphasis should be on majority interests, minority interests are not to be overlooked. The following are key factors in assessing needs and interests of users and anticipating demand:-

  • usage statistics;
  • suggestions for purchase from the public;
  • reader surveys;
  • district profiles;
  • events that may generate new reading interests; and
  • local and international bestseller lists.

To ensure effective fulfilment of the duty to safeguard national security as required by the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, as well as preventing and suppressing acts or activities that may endanger national security, in selecting library materials for purchase and considering suggestion for library purchase, donations of books and books received from Books Registration Office, librarians shall ensure that the library collection is not contrary to the interests of national security.

The HKPL neither takes sides in public issues nor attempts to promote any beliefs or points of view through its collections. Part or all of the criteria set out below are adopted for guiding the selection and determining the quantity of items required:-

For general items

  • Whether the item is contrary to the interests of national security;
  • Conformity with the collection development direction of the HKPL;
  • Subject coverage and the relationship to other items in stock;
  • Authoritativeness and reputation of the author(s) and/or publisher;
  • Reputation for accuracy;
  • Style and clarity of presentation;
  • Format;
  • Currency and timeliness;
  • Demand;
  • Price;
  • Literary merits (for fiction);

For electronic resources

  • The above criteria for general items;
  • Date range of contents and frequency of updates;
  • Authoritativeness of component sources and stability of such resources;
  • Search features and interface design; and
  • Ease of use.

Selection of Materials and Suggestions for Purchase

The selection of library materials is performed by professionally trained library staff of the HKPL. Librarians from various public libraries form subject groups to identify library materials and assess their suitability for acquisition based on information obtained from a wide spectrum of sources, including publishers' and booksellers' catalogues, sample books, book reviews, bibliographies and subject guides, publishing news, and bestseller lists. The Librarian-in-charge of each branch library also makes his/her recommendation with reference to the needs and interests of the local community. The selections will then be submitted to the Collection Development Meeting under the HKPL for endorsement.

The HKPL welcomes suggestions for purchase from members of the public and professional bodies with a view to enriching its collections. Suggestions for purchase will be considered in accordance with the prevailing collection development strategies, and subject to the final endorsement of the Collection Development Meeting.


Apart from book acquisition, the HKPL also enriches its collections through accepting book donations from individuals and organisations. Acceptance of book donations is, however, subject to conformity of its collection development policy and approval from its Collection Development Meeting.

To make the best use of resources and achieve the goal of enriching library collections through book donations, the HKPL focuses on selecting materials relevant to Hong Kong as well as materials capable of strengthening its various reference collections. For details about book donations, please read the section on Donations under "Collection Development".