Students have one month to apply for a card that will allow them to use library study rooms during the busy exam period, after applications opened on Monday.
Those who want to use the study rooms at public libraries between March 1 and May 7 must apply before the February 4 deadline to receive an admission card.
The cards will give students priority access to the 35 study rooms made available to them during a set time period every day. The opening hours of the study rooms will also be extended from March until the end of May.
Application forms will be available at all public libraries. Students who are taking a public examination, such as the HKDSE or the IGSCE, will also need to get their school to approve their application.
If there are too many applicants, cards will be assigned by drawing lots, with 95 per cent of cards going to students sitting public or professional exams.
Results will be displayed on notice boards at libraries from February 19 to 28. Students then need to collect their card within a certain time period.
The applicants who don’t get an admission card will receive a standby card that gives them priority in taking up any empty seats on a first-come, first-served basis.
Library staff told Young Post that students without a card can still try their luck lining up for spare spaces, although they said the chance of finding a space during the busy exam period is slim.
Rachel Wong, 18, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, used the study rooms to prepare for her HKDSE exams last year.
She said it was often difficult to find a space to study during the exam season.
“The study rooms tended to be extremely packed after 10am,” Wong added. “You could see people reserving their seats by placing their personal belongings like bags or piles of books.”
Pauline Wong, 16, from Mary Knoll Convent School said the overcrowding put her off from using the libraries to read for leisure: “Some students may use those tables in the main areas when there isn’t space in the study area,” she said: “Often I can’t be sure that there’ll be a seat.”