Hong Kong’s public libraries need a digital library database and longer opening hours on weekdays to improve the city’s reading culture, says Oscar Ho Hing-kay, a Chinese University cultural management professor.
“As Hong Kong’s Arts Centre’s former Executive Director, I tried extending the opening hours from 10am until 6pm, to 9am until 9pm. If public libraries can extend [their opening hours] by an hour from their current times (9am to 8pm), this will already greatly help those who get off work late,” said Ho.
“Like museums, people like wandering around libraries. Having a larger collections means they can appreciate books more too,” said Ho.
Ho was responding to an Executive Summary released by Ombudsman (the Office monitoring public governance in the city) in September. The report said that Hong Kong’s public libraries need do not have enough reading materials and should open until midnight and was not doing enough for a strong reading culture. These points were based on their investigation ending on August 31.
In comparison, many public libraries in Singapore and Taipei stay open until 10pm.
According to a spokeswoman, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) public libraries already provide the public with sufficient reading materials, reading events and long enough opening hours.
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“In 2017-18, the Hong Kong Public Libraries plans to acquire about 770,000 volumes of books, 60,000 items of audio-visual library materials to replenish the stock for existing libraries,” added the spokeswoman.
She said that currently, LCSD libraries open for 71 hours weekly until 8pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and until 5pm on Sundays.