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Historical development, 1912-present

    Historical timeline on the development of the University of Hong Kong Libraries
Time Significant Events
1912 - 1960
Apr 1912 Sir Cecil Clementi, then Hong Kong Colonial Secretary, donated the 1,628-volume Gu jin tu shu ji cheng (古今圖書集成) to the library
Oct 1912 The University opened its door to students. The University Library occupied two rooms, with a total floor area of about 288 square metres, in the Main Building
June 1914 The Morrison Library was on loan to the Library
1921 Appointment of the first full-time Librarian, Mrs Marie E.M. Ring. The Libraries had a total of 14,880 volumes, staffed by one clerk and one coolie. Students were allowed to borrow one book at a time. Also available was a Medical Section, which was housed apart from the Main Library in the Pathology Building of the Faculty of Medicine 
1925 Morrison Library became the property of the university
1927 The Libraries set up Zhen Yong Collection (振永書藏), a basic Chinese collection of 31,000 volumes. It was named after a donor who gave $20,000 towards the founding of the School of Chinese and purchasing the books
Dec 1932 Fung Ping Shan Library (馮平山圖書館) was opened by Sir William Peel, then Hong Kong Governor.
Dec 1933 Purchased the ‘China’ section of the Hankow Club Library, a valuable collection of books on China and things Chinese, for $25,000
1938 An additional 500 refugee students from Lingnan University (Guangzhou) could use the Libraries for evening work
Dec 1941 Japanese invasion of Hong Kong. The Libraries had a total collection of 98,000 volumes, including 49,000 volumes in the Fung Ping Shan Library
2 Jan 1942 The Japanese took possession of the University and the Libraries was sealed
1942 Japanese policy of confiscating private and institutional libraries, and centralizing the resultant collections at the Fung Ping Shan Library. About 240,000 volumes were collected in this way. Mr Chan Kwan Po, Head of the Fung Ping Shan Library, was asked to stay on and take care of the library. These books were returned to their owners after the war
Sep 1944 Fung Ping Shan Library became the Library of the Government of the Occupied Territory (香港占領地總督部立圖書館)
Aug 1945 The Second World War ended. The Libraries was more fortunate than many other departments of the University in that it suffered comparatively little damage during both the periods of actual hostilities and occupation
Oct 1946 The University’s first post-war academic session began. The Libraries re-opened.
1950 The Main Library occupied “ten large rooms and four smaller rooms” on the ground floor of the Main Building
Aug 1950 Mrs Dorothea Scott became the second university librarian, succeeding Mrs Ring who retired in July
1953 Acquired the Huang Collection (南海黃氏劬學齋藏書), a collection of some 17,600 volumes, many of which have been included in the Chinese Rare Book Collection. Also acquired in this period were selected titles of the Liu Collection (吴興劉氏嘉業堂藏書), one of the best known private collection in 20th century China. This Collection now forms the nucleus of the Chinese Rare Book Collection
Sept 1957 The Robert Morrison Exhibition commemorating the 150th Anniversary of his first arrival in China was held. Sir Alexander Grantham, then Hong Kong Governor, performed the opening ceremony
1959 Acquired an unique copy of Sir George Staunton’s An authentic account of an embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China for £1,150
1961 - 1991
May 1961 Mr H.A. Rydings became the third university librarian, succeeding Mrs Scott who resigned in 1960
Sept 1961 The Main Library moved from the Main Building to the Library Old Wing
Jan 1962 The Fung Ping Shan Library moved into the Library Old Wing and integrated with the Libraries
29 Oct 1962 Sir Robert Black, then Hong Kong Governor, toured the Main Library to mark the official opening of the Library Old Wing
Nov 1965 Introduction of photocopying service 
Dec 1965 The Medical Library was opened adjacent to the Li Shu Fan Preclinical Building, Sassoon Road
1967 Circular letters sent to Heads of Departments, inviting suggestions or criticism on services and facilities. Probably this was the first user survey ever conducted by the Libraries
1967 Addition of two floors (5/F & 6/F) to the Library Old Wing
Sep 1969 Opening of the Law Library, located in temporary accommodation at 158, Caine Road
1969 Built a half-floor at mezzanine level, Library Old Wong
Apr 1970 Opening of the Reserved Book Room on 1/F, Old Wing
Jul 1973 The Law Library moved into 5/F Knowles Building
Oct 1973 Produced a computer print-out of the catalogue of materials in the Reserved Book Room
Apr 1974 Hung On-To Memorial Library (Hong Kong Collection) was opened
Aug 1974 The total number of current journal titles exceeded 4,000 for the first time
Nov 1975 Set up an enquiry desk in the library entrance area to encourage the use of the reference service
Aug 1976 The library collection increased to half a million volumes and for the first time, the number of new titles catalogued a year exceeded 10,000
Jan 1978 The Education Library was opened on the sixth floor of the Library Old Wing
Aug 1978 The 3M Tattle Tape book detection system came into operation. From November 1979 users were allowed to take bags into the Main Library
Aug 1978 The number of registered borrowers passed the 10,000 mark for the first time
1978 First automation project with the development of a Machine-Readable Cataloguing (MARC) database
Feb 1979 Storage facilities for less-used books and periodicals at Bethanie ready for use 
1980 Introduction of an Online Information Service, using the ORBIT system of SDC Search Service, Santa Monica, California, using a satellite link arranged by Cable & Wireless (now PCCW)
1981 The Dental Library was open in Prince Philip Dental Hospital
1981 Implementation of automated systems for cataloguing and circulation
1982 The Music Library was open in the Main Building
1 Dec 1983 Dr L.B. Kan became the fourth university librarian, succeeding Mr H.A. Rydings who retired in June
Jan 1984 The Education Library moved into its new (existing) premises on the fourth floor of the Runme Shaw Building
1985 Introduction of automated Serials Control System to handle the financial aspects of serials management and to compile a complete list of holdings of western language serials
Jan 1986 First online public catalogue was available to allow users online access to a short form catalogue containing much of the Main Library’s active stock
Mar 1986 The first library publication University of Hong Kong thesis and dissertations, 1941-85 was published
Apr 1986 Approval in principal given by the UPGC (now UGC) for the construction of a library extension (now Main Library New Wing) on the site of the old Student Union Building, with completion planned for 1991
Aug 1986 Automated book ordering system went live
Dec 1986 Automation of CJK materials started. An in-house microcomputer system was used for book ordering and accessioning by the Fung Ping Shan Library
1986 Mr Leung Kau Kui and Mr Robert Tam each gave $5 million to set up Library Endowment Funds in their names. Mr Tam made a further substantial donation to the Robert Tam Library Endowment Fund in 1988
1988 Introduction of CD-ROM-based information services
1988 Dental Library received an additional space on 5/F of the Prince Philip Dental Hospital
1989 The Law Library was relocated from the Knowles Building to the K.K. Leung Building. The basement store in the K.K. Leung Building became available for use by the library
1989 Implementation of the DRA system, an integrated library system, replacing the cataloguing, acquisitions and serials systems which had been designed in-house in the 1980s. Subsequently the online public access catalogue was named DRAGON, a acronym of DRA GO ONLINE
1989 6/F of the Library Old Wing formerly taken up by the Language Centre were returned to the Libraries
Jun 1991 The library collection increased to more than 1 million volumes
17 Dec 1991 Audio-visual Department commenced operations
1991 Completion of the Library New Wing. It was fully operational on 1 July 1991. The official opening ceremony was held on 19 December, when Sir David Wilson, then Hong Kong Governor, unveiled a plaque commemorating the event and toured the new library building
1992 - present
Apr 1993 First CD-ROM towers installed. Development of the Hong Kong University Libraries Information Systems providing a hub for accessing the growing collection of CD-ROMs
Dec 1993 Completion of the Main Library Old Wing renovation. A compact storage was built on Old Wing ground floor which enabled the relocation of books from the Bethanie and the K.K. Leung Building basement
1994 The number of registered borrowers passed the 50,000 mark for the first time
1995 HKU Libraries Homepage launched. Since that time, it has developed into the virtual hub for accessing a rich collection of digital resources that the Libraries provides
Jul 1996 Innopac brought into use to replace the DRA system. For the first time in the history of the library, the Western language and CJK (Chinese Japanese and Korean) records were held in the same integrated system. Patrons could view their own circulation records as well as manage their own book requests and renewals. Simultaneous search on several library catalogues was also made possible
Dec 1996 The Music Library moved into the Hung Hing Ying Building
1996 Scanning of the 1990-1995 HKU examination papers completed. This enabled the launching of the first HKU Libraries Digital Initiative, ExamBase, which allowed students to access past examination papers on the web.
1996 Opening of an Electronic Information Centre on New Wing G/F. It was adequately equipped with the state-of-the-art hardware to access and retrieve data in a variety of electronic formats
1996 The Main, Fung Ping Shan, Law and Music Libraries were re-cabled from Ethernet to Fast Ethernet yielding a much improved speed of 100mbps
1996 Compact shelving was installed in Medical Library and AV Collection
Sep 1997 Introduced Book Recommendation Online, an online system for ordering of books and other library materials
Sep 1998 Cooperated with the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems and the Computer Centre to introduce a new three-credit General Education Course, Foundations to Information Technology (FIT), to first year students
Dec 1998 Upgraded the Electronic Information Centre into the Knowledge Navigation Centre, which was equipped with the latest hardware and software to integrate learning, research and digital publishing
1998 Created ‘Internet Resources’ webpages of evaluated and annotated links for each teaching department
1998 New procedures were set up for scanning faculty’s lecture notes and creating an Electronic Reserve Collection, allowing search and retrieval of these materials
1998 Added an off-campus site at Hing Wai Centre to house the Bindery and a compact storage of less frequently used collections
Dec 1999 Started using OCLC to handle interlibrary loan requests
1999 Participated actively in the University’s Digital Campus initiative. 450 new network access nodes were installed throughout the Libraries for users to plug in their notebook computers to be connected to the Access Everywhere network (ACENet) 
Apr 2000 Became the first library in Hong Kong to provide electronic books via the vendor, netLibrary
2000 Compact shelving was installed in the Special Collections
2000 Became Hong Kong’s mirror site for China Journal Net, a journal database covering the full-text of 3,500 titles and abstracts of 3,000 other titles, all published in Mainland China
Apr 2001 Wi-fi connection was available at the Main Library. There were only 4 access points at that time, each communicating at a speed of 11 Mps. Now the Main Library is equipped with 62 access points and the communication speed is ten times faster than what we had a decade ago
May 2001 Dr Anthony W. Ferguson became the fifth university librarian, succeeding Dr L.B. Kan who retired in June 1999
Oct 2001 Re-designed the Library homepage in anticipation of the information needs of the knowledge community
2001 Renovation of the user instruction room completed. It was renamed e-Learning Lab and provided a conducive environment to users to learn electronic information discovery skills
2001 A new server room was set up on 2/F Main Library Old Wing and the Systems Staff Office was moved to the same floor.
2001 Compact storage was installed in Law Library
2001 Additional compact storage facilities installed in the off-campus storage facility on 31/F Hing Wai Centre to house the less frequently used collections
Jan 2002 Launched the HKUL Book Talk to enrich the cultural life of the library users and friends
Nov 2002 Launched MyLibrary, a user-driven, customable information service which allows users to create their personal webpage listing information available from the HKU Libraries
Dec 2002 Launched the Honour with Books campaign
2002 Replacement of the Main Library network Fast Ethernet (100mbps) by a new Gigabit Ethernet (1,000mbps) backbone
2002 The Medical Library moved into its state-of-the-art facility in the Faculty of Medicine Building
2002 Joined OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), the world’s largest library consortia in resource materials and services
2002 Became the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) Databases Exchange Centre in Hong Kong
2002 The library collection increased to more than 2 million volumes. The Second Millionth Volume Celebration was used to draw the attention of the HKU and Hong Kong communities to the importance and contributions of the library
2002 Introduced the EZproxy software to streamline off campus access to licensed electronic resources
Oct 2003 Launched the MyLibrary@Hand service to give users access to several key library services, such as selective dissemination of information and searching DRAGON, using their PDAs
2003 Started the HKU Libraries Leadership Institute to provide library directors and senior librarians from the East Asia region with an opportunity to develop new management and leadership skills.                                                     
2003 Initiated a two-year experiment with Lingnan University and City University of Hong Kong to allow selected patrons at any of the three libraries to search the resources of all three collections and initiate their own interlibrary requests
2003 Implemented a comprehensive online interlibrary loan system, ILLIAD. The system enabled online requesting of materials held in other libraries as well as electronic delivery of articles and other documents
2003 Launched the HKU Libraries Circle of Friends to secure donations. The Circle in turn sponsored a number of activities to bring the Libraries to the attention of the University and Hong Kong communities
Sept 2004 Began sending out library notices for overdue, recalls and pickup as well as courtesy reminders 3 days in advance of their borrowed items becoming overdue via short text messages service (SMS) to users’ mobile phones 
Oct 2004 Introduced the plagiarism detection software Turnitin to HKU
2004 Introduced WebBridge, MetaFind and MyAlerts to help users better access the myriad of electronic resources the library owned
2004 Opened the Student Learning Centre, a 7x24 studying facility when staff and students could stay from morning until late at night
Jan 2005 Inter-branch delivery service launched. It allowed all borrowers to request books held in the Libraries to be delivered to main and off campus library pickup locations
Apr 2005 Joined RAPIDILL, a cooperative resource sharing system that was developed to provide very fast cost effective article requesting and delivery through Interlibrary Loan by Colorado State University Libraries
2005 Became the first member, outside of North America, of the Centre for Research Libraries (CRL), giving the library access to over 4 million additional publications within the CRL collections through interlibrary loans and/or electronic delivery
2005 Became the first library in Hong Kong to take advantage of the digitization capabilities of the China-America Digital Academic Library Project after signing an agreement with the Zhejiang University Libraries
2005 Took a leading role in establishing the Hong Kong Academic Library Link (HKALL), a union catalogue allowing the students and staff of the eight UGC-funded libraries to search a mega collection of over 6 million titles of monographs (9M+ volumes) held in the eight participating libraries. They can make direct requests on these materials, and have the materials delivered to the libraries of their respective institutions for further checkout.
Sep 2006 Introduced the bibliographic management software Endnote to HKU
2006 Launched the HKU Scholars Hub, HKU’s institutional repository using DSpace software, developed by MIT and Hewlett-Packard
2006 The library e-book collection increased to more than 1 million volumes. A year-long celebration was held to publicize the acquisition and promote the use of e-books
2006 Partnered with the Centre of Asian Studies (now Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences) to obtain funding of HK$53 million from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Clarities Trust for the establishment of the Hong Kong Memory Project, a web-based digital library of Hong Kong’s unique history and culture
2006 Submitted 75,912 original cataloguing records to the OCLC WorldCat database, making the library the largest contributor among the Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC) libraries. At the time of writing, the Libraries continues to be the largest contributor in original cataloguing records to the OCLC
Oct 2007 Launched Wiki@HKUL, the Libraries’ knowledgebase
2007 Introduced an Interbranch Electronic Article Delivery Service for teaching staff
2007 Relocated the entire Technical Services staff to the Kennedy Town Centre in order to gain space to accommodate three additional years of collection growth in the Main Library.
2007 Partnered with the Hong Kong Central Library to launch the first referral service for public library readers to apply for a temporary pass to an academic library in Hong Kong
2008 Opened the Main Library 24 hours a day during the Revision Week and Assessment Period
2008 Installed over 1.1 million radio frequency identification (RFID) tags into items with barcodes. This enabled users to check out and check in their own library books using self-check stations
2008 Improved access to our Dragon catalogue by introducing a next generation library catalogue, Dragon 2.0
2009 The old office of the Technical Services on the 2/F of the Main Library was renovated to an open access compact shelving facility, providing an additional 10,940 linear metres of shelving space that could help accommodate the collection growth in Main Library for three years
2009 In a collaborative project between Professor C.J. Jim of the Department of Geography, the Estates Office and the Libraries, the rooftops on the second and fourth floors of the Main Library New Wing were converted into experimental green roofs to study their impact on building temperature. The green roof on the second floor is open to users during library opening hours and provides a reflective, inspiring environment
2009 Received funding from the HKU Knowledge Exchange Office to enhance the HKU Scholars Hub. The Libraries created author profile pages, “ResearcherPages”, each of the 1,300 current HKU academic staff. These pages show contact details, research interests, areas for media comment, bibliometrics on quantity and quality of research output, and full text items authored by these HKU researchers
Feb 2010 Revamped the e-Video webpage by broadcasting digitized library video contents with a “YouTube” feel and look
2010 Completed the first outsourced rare book digitization contract. Over 1,000 volumes of western rare books from Special Collections were digitized. The second contract started a couple of months later and included Chinese rare books from Fung Ping Shan Library as well
1 Jan 2011 Mr Peter E. Sidorko became the sixth university librarian, succeeding Dr Anthony W Ferguson. Dr Ferguson stays on until May 1 working on the Joint Universities Research Archive project
25 Mar 2011 Official launch of the Libraries centenary celebrations - Professor Wang Gungwu gave the first talk of the HKUL Centenary Book Talk Series on 25 March 2011
June 2011 Dr Tam Wah Ching donated $10 million in support of the setting up of a learning commons facility (Level 3) at the Main Library
Aug 2011 Construction work for renovating the entire third floor of the Main Library into Level 3 began. With a total floor area of 2,781 square meters, Level 3 is a technology rich, collaborative and flexible facility for student learning
Aug 2011 Received a set of Zhonghua zai zao shan ben (中華再造善本) (9,129 volumes) from the Central Government on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the University.
Oct 2011 Completed installing RFID system at the branch libraries and Main Library’s Audio-visual & Reserve Collection. Together with the items converted in 2008, we tagged a total of 1.8 million items and by far, are the largest global RFID installation in university libraries. The Libraries, in conjunction with the contractor 3M (Hong Kong), also received the Silver Award for the Best EPC/RFID Implementation in the 2011 Hong Kong RFID Awards
3 Jan 2012 The Technology Zone of Level 3 commenced operation, replacing the Knowledge Navigation Centre located on G/F Main Library