In the middle of the hustle and bustle of Causeway Bay sits a huge building that stands out from the rest; Hong Kong Central Library. This truly amazing library is perfect for book lovers, nerds, reading enthusiasts and the general perusers of literature, languages and learning.
The Library, or emporium I believe is a better word, has 12 floors and 2.3 million books. There are books in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and each floor is designed to cater for different kinds of readers including children, adults, language learners, history lovers, travel enthusiasts and comic book readers. Each floor is connected by escalators and elevators and signing up is easy. It took around 5 minutes to get my HKID registered as my library card and I had my first two books borrowed!
An interesting fact, the $690 Million HKD building houses one fifth of the Hong Kong library systems collection and with excellent views of Victoria Harbour, who wouldn’t want to spend a Sunday Afternoon curled up on one of the many couches pouring through the volumes.
Hong Kong Central Library functions in a similar way to a National Library, meaning that the library is designed to be the countries pre-eminent repository of information. For this reason, Hong Kong Central Library has whole floors of books that are for reference only and is home to many rare and historic texts.
The arc shaped doorway at the buildings peak is designed to represent the Gate of Knowledge, a perfect symbol for such a wonderful place. When this was first proposed however, the design received much critique from the Urban Council.
As I wandered the library, using the escalators and ensuring I saw every floor, I was taken aback by the sheer amount of people reading, studying, practising languages and catching up with friends. The people here truly appreciate the library and one can see how important knowledge and culture are to the citizens when walking around such a place. I was also thoroughly impressed with the children’s floor, decorated to look like you were in the mind of a children’s author and totally engaging to the youth of Hong Kong. Children were encouraged to watch their cartoons (with headphones of course) and practice the English added on to the bottom.
I highly suggest a visit to the library if you are ever in Hong Kong. You don’t have to be a member to enter but remember, you must be quiet!
Hong Kong Central Library, 66 Causeway Road