For the benefit of developing specialized collections and information services commensurate with the diversified and changing needs of the metropolis of Hong Kong, the Central Reference Library is divided into 6 subject departments of Hong Kong Studies (8/F), General Reference (8/F), Business & Finance (9/F), Social Sciences (9/F), Humanities (9/F) and Science & Technology (9/F). Together, the 6 subject departments offer an extensive array of print and non-print reference resources to satisfy your reference and learning needs. The collection now totals over 700,000 items, one-third of which are displayed on open shelves. Materials held in closed stack are available on request at Reference and Information Service Counters.
The Central Reference Library hosts a number of special collections, including the Hong Kong Collection, the Hong Kong Exchanges Collection, the Open University of Hong Kong Course Materials Collection, the Hok Hoi Collection of Chinese Classics, the Kotewall Collection, the Royal Asiatic Society (Hong Kong Branch) Collection and 9 Depository Collections of International Organizations. These collections provide invaluable tools for research, many of which are not available for public access elsewhere in Hong Kong.
The Map Library
The Map Library is located at the 5/F of Hong Kong Central Library. It is a part of the Special Reference unit and the materials in the collection are for reference use. The aim of Map Library is to be a comprehensive map information centre in Hong Kong by collecting all kinds of maps and cartographic information for use by the general public.
CD-ROM workstation is provided in the library for public access to the CD-ROMs and digitized cartographic information. Besides, large-sized map reading tables are installed for reader's use.
The Map Library stocks more than 23,000 materials, with emphasis on the Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China and major countries in the world. Its collections include:
- Different kinds of maps like general maps, topographic maps, thematic maps, city maps and historical maps
- Different kinds of atlases like general world atlases, national atlases, provincial atlases of China, city atlases and thematic atlases
- Old photos and aerial photos of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Street Naming Plan
- Reference books, newspaper clippings and leaflet information on Hong Kong places
Some of the maps and old photos of Hong Kong have been digitized after clearance of copyright and can be accessed via Multimedia Information System of the Hong Kong Public Libraries.
Hong Kong Literature Room
As a special reference unit of the Hong Kong Central Library, the Hong Kong Literature Room aims to present local literature and promote study and research related to Hong Kong literary scene.
Hong Kong Literature Room located at 8th floor of Hong Kong Central Library which mainly provide reference enquiry service. It has an area of about 200 square metres. Regular talks and thematic exhibitions on local literature will be organised in promotion of library stock.
Seats, Multimedia Information System workstations and Online Public Access Catalogue terminals are available for readers' use. The Hong Kong Literary Authors' Database is also available for public access to the information on authors and their works.
The Hong Kong Literature Collection has a stock of about 32,000 items of reference materials which include some 19,000 volumes of books and periodicals, 3,000 authors' manuscripts, 300 authors' portraits, 10,000 newspaper clippings and a database of nearly 1,000 authors' biographies, bibliographies of works and criticism of literary authors. Some of the authors' manuscripts and clippings related to local literature have been digitized after clearance of copyright and can be accessed via the Multimedia Information System of Hong Kong Public Libraries.
Chinese Literary Authors Collection comprises some 28,000 volumes of books of Chinese literary authors from Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau and overseas countries.
Hong Kong Village Life Collection has a stock of about 1,200 books and 1,000 historical documents obtained from several early New Territories citizens. These valuable books and documents are the first-hand sources of information for the study of economy, social and cultural development of early Hong Kong and traditional village life.
Arts Resource Centre
The Arts Resource Centre is housed on the 10th floor of the Hong Kong Central Library, occupying an area of about 1,850 square metres. It is a specialized arts reference library aiming at providing arts related information and reference services.
The Centre has a collection size of more than 197,000 items including books, music scores, periodicals, audio-visual and multi-media materials, online databases, etc. The collection is in both Chinese and English and covers various disciplines in arts such as music, paintings, calligraphy, design, photography, sculptures, architecture, theatre, dance and films, etc.
Readers can make use of the computer terminals in the Centre to search for the Online Public Access Catalogue, the Internet, the Multi-Media Information System as well as the Online Databases. Besides, black and white as well as colour photocopying and computer printing services are also available in the Centre. The Centre also provides reading tables with ports connectable to the Internet and leisure reading sofas for readers. Discussion Rooms and Music Practice Room are also available for hiring.
Hong Kong Music Collection
Through the Hong Kong Music Collection Campaign, the special collection housed in the Centre has received more than some 46,000 items of local music materials including manuscripts of music scores, lyrics and opera scripts, audio-visual materials, photos, programme leaflets, house programmes, posters and newspaper clippings, etc. The special collection aims at developing the understandings of preservation of Hong Kong music archive and encouraging studies and researches on Hong Kong music.