My Account

Close My Account

Check your library account, renew or reserve library materials.

My Info.

CloseMy Information

You can review your selected extension activities and library information. Please click "My Setting" to check or update your setting.

Event TitleDateTimeVenueType
Library NameDateContent

My Setting

Ask a Librarian


Close the menuOpen the menu

Selection of Library Materials

Selection Philosophy and Criteria

The selection of library materials 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, the HKPL shall ensure that the library materials are not contrary to the interests of national security.

The selection criteria for purchasing library materials include:

For general items

  • Whether the item is contrary to the interests of national security;
  • Conformity with the direction of collection development;
  • Subject coverage;
  • Timeliness and accuracy;
  • Authoritativeness and reputation of the author(s) and/or publisher;
  • Style and clarity of presentation;
  • Format;
  • Demand;
  • Price; and
  • 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 platform stability;
  • Search features;
  • interface design; and
  • Ease of use.

Selection of Materials

The selection of library materials is performed by professionally trained 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. 

Suggestions for Purchase

The HKPL has been encouraging members of the public and professional bodies to put forward their suggestions for purchasing suitable library materials, with a view to enriching its collections and widening the public’s scope of reading.  Suggestions for purchase will be considered in accordance with the prevailing collection development strategies and available resources, subject to the endorsement of the Collection Development Meeting under the HKPL.


Apart from book acquisition, the HKPL also enriches its collections through accepting book donations from individuals and organisations.  The HKPL focuses on selecting materials relevant to Hong Kong as well as materials capable of strengthening its various reference collections.  Once the materials are donated to the HKPL, they will be handled in accordance with the donation policy and procedures.  Acceptance of book donations is, however, subject to conformity of the collection development policy and approval from the Collection Development Meeting.

For details about book donations, please read the section on "Donations" under "Collection Development".