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HK Public Libraries introduces new e-resources

Image Credits: HKSAR Government

According to a recent press release, the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) is taking part again in the Hong Kong Book Fair this year. Through game zones and demonstrations, members of the public can find out more about the rich e-resources of the HKPL.

The Hong Kong Book Fair will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17 to 23 July 2019.

Visitors can try out augmented reality (AR) games at stalls. Participants are able to step into a story world of their choice to complete a short task or take a video clip with book characters. Members of the public can learn more about e-books and e-databases of the HKPL. Readers can also try HKPL’s e-resources on-site and experience convenient online library services.

The HKPL continuously enhances its digital collection. Designed for children aged between 4 and 11, the Kids InfoBits educational database released this month covers various topics including arts, people, sports and science.

Magazines, news, pictures and educational videos suitable for children are also available in the database while the reading function is useful for junior English learners. OverDrive eBooks launched in February 2019 offers about 5 000 English e-books including leisure reading materials, children and young adult collections, fiction and biographies for readers to explore in the worlds of literature, technology, commerce, economics, social science and more.

The Chinese e-book collections HyRead and SUEP in the HKPL’s digital collection are popular among readers. The leisure and popular reading materials offered are suitable for people of all ages.

The HKPL provides over 310 000 e-books and 77 e-databases, 28 of which can be accessed via the Internet. Members of the public can log in to their library accounts to read online or download to computers and mobile devices for e-reading anywhere and anytime. Hong Kong residents who have never applied for library cards or HKPL e-accounts can visit the HKPL’s website to apply for e-accounts and enjoy immediate access to the diversified e-resources.

Hong Kong libraries taking tech turn

An earlier article by OpenGov Asia notes that the HKSAR Government is working to build a reading culture in Hong Kong. The internet and digital transformation are enabling this goal.

E-books, for example, can be used to pique the interest of reluctant young readers, while reading online often enhances the experience for elderly people by allowing them to enlarge the font size of text so it is easier to read.

Hong Kong’s public libraries currently cater to e-reading demand with a database of 290,000 e-books and they also have a vast array of electronic resources to help library users with research or personal and professional work.

Users can log onto their library accounts from anywhere to access the resources online, or read the information using a library workstation.

To further encourage e-reading, a campaign was launched in January 2019 to give members of the public access to 40 e-books in Chinese without having to log in, as they do now.

Campaigns like this as well as coordinating in-library events and programmes have always been part of a librarian’s role, but these parts of the job may grow in importance as reading rates fall in Hong Kong and around the world.

The chief librarian also needs to identify potential collaborators, such as different government departments, community centres and non-governmental organisations.

It is hoped that libraries can partner with like-minded partners to build a reading culture in Hong Kong. She noted that working with partners enables the sharing of resources, networks and marketing platforms.

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