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Memories of the Libraries shared by users and staff
 
  The start of my HKU story
Tara Yue (Alumnus)

我和港大的缘分之始,确切的说,是因为那座不高大不炫目,却如宝库般、有慑人魔力的图书馆。

第一次去港大,属于友情演出,RA性质。那几个月的时间,并不喜欢香港。和多数初识香港的人一样,我不喜欢那里的狭小拥挤、没有窗口的办公室、潮湿闷热的天气、听不懂的语言,也不习惯老板的做事风格。可是也许做得还算不错,老板很快就问我,愿不愿意来这里读博。那时,我已经在武汉读了一年博士,上完了所有课程,导师是位大名鼎鼎的双院士;而且,我刚有了自己的小家。所以,心底里,我首先投了否定票。

工作之余,除了逛街,我还有个去处就是港大的图书馆。对我而言,那里天文地理国际政治娱乐八卦封建迷信各式杂志书籍视频一应俱全。那楼本身虽不大,却如宝库,深不可探。至今还记得,在英文部探索了许久以后,第一次去中文部(冯平山楼)——在小说书架间流连,忽见一个女生席地而坐、背靠着书架,手里捧着一本书,正在唏唏嘘嘘地抹眼泪。阳光正好透过窗口撒在这个伤心女孩的身上,我见犹怜…… 我继续走到其它书架,眼光却仍然偷偷瞥向那个角落; 再一撇,顿时哑然失笑——但见那女生身边放了包薯片,她伸手取了一片塞到嘴里,翻一页书,然后继续抽泣,抹一把眼泪!原来,这书和薯片一样,是享受消遣;眼泪和笑一样,是读书的乐趣。

这个有点戏剧性的小场景至今仍然记忆清晰,因为当时忽的就被触动了——原来,图书馆里不止一排排书架一本本的书,不止是埋头苦读的地方,还可以是这样活生生恣意享受读书乐趣的地方。

那一刻就这么被定格了,不仅在记忆里,也成了我的生命中改变方向的一个片段。因为这个图书馆,我选择来到了港大,我的人生道路和信念从此也逐渐改变了。

在这里,我曾经查找学术资料写论文,看录像读小说,也曾经参加各种读书会。毕业后每次再去港大,我都会再来这里坐一坐,仿佛成了一种仪式。其实图书馆一早就禁止携带食物了,那包薯片,也许是上天安排的小道具,呵呵……
 

 
  浮游書海心漸寬
黃毅英 (Alumnus)

圖書館永遠是一個啟蒙之地。讀中學時,老師已告訴我們,學校所學的有限,課本的知識也有限,要多看課外書。1974年就讀大學數學系,進入圖書館方驚覺知識天地之寬,世界上原來有那麼多不為我所知的學問,甚麼「藏學」,「埃及學」等等。除了看了許多本科(數學科)的各類書刊(包括修課所需的及其他諸如數學史、數學哲學的書)外,就是無拘無束地瀏覽書海,尤愛在功課做得頭昏腦脹時看一些畫冊影集。

馮平山書館更是我的「探秘樂園」,由於內藏善本書以閉架方式處理,只能透過書目尋書,就好像偵探一樣。還記得當時翻過張擬的《碁經》、歸莊的《萬古愁曲》和曾國藩的《冰鑑》等(當時不少善本書均蓋有梅振軍之印,不知何許人也,想亦好書之人,後將大量珍藏捐贈)。

後來,陸續修讀研究院課程,由碩士到博士,圖書館永遠是我蒐集資料的大後方。現時在網上搜尋太方便了,當年要影印學術論文,首先要到銀行換一大袋二角硬幣。因為當年沒有影印卡,要逐個硬幣投放作影印。現在我有我的博士生了。我還常告訴他們,現時互聯網自然方便和有效得多,但在圖書館中作紙本搜尋有時還是難以取代的。
 

 
  Some reminiscences of the HKU Library
SIU Man Keung (Alumnus)

In my youth a public library was not as common. The first public library maintained by the Hong Kong Government opened its door with the establishment of the Hong Kong City Hall in March of 1962. Before that I could only enjoyed the pleasure of reading and borrowing books from either the library of my school, or the United States Information Service Library (on Ice House Street near to Duddell Street) or the British Council Library (in Gloucester House, where now in its place stands the Landmark). In the summer of 1963 upon finishing registration as an undergraduate of HKU I immediately went to visit its Library. I was thrilled to find a library with several storeys (with even a lift inside!), each floor having lines and lines of bookshelves filled with enticing volumes. In comparison to the four aforementioned libraries this was absolutely superb. Years later I have occasions to visit many more libraries, public or of an institution, which are far more spacious and hold far more volumes. However, that first impression made in a young undergraduate bred a close affinity that will forever make it the library I love most.

During the years spent as an undergraduate of HKU I spent many hours in the Library, particularly during the summer vacation when the place was quiet and with very few people studying there. The Union Canteen was in the Student Union Building next to the Library, where now the New Wing of the Library stands. In the afternoon during term time we sometimes stood on the corridor of the Student Union Building and looked towards the Library on the opposite side about fifteen to twenty meters away, across the fountain that was supposed to be part of the air-conditioning system for the library. Through the tall windows of the first-floor Reading Room we scoured for classmates who might be studying there. Our theory was this; if we fixed our stare long enough at somebody, that somebody would “feel” the stare and look back! Indeed, that was how we usually lured some classmates away from their study to have a cup of tea or a glass of “ning lok (Coca-Cola with a slice of lemon)” with us at the Union Canteen!

There is one incident that I should feel indebted to the Library for saving my life! In one hot summer day of 1966, instead of taking an afternoon nap as I used to do, I went to the Library to read some book. When I returned home I found that the beam on the ceiling fell down while I was away, making a huge dent on the iron rail of the upper deck of the double-deck bed I shared with my sibling. (Our residence was on the top floor of an old and somewhat run-down house that leaked whenever it rained. For years I was accustomed to sleeping with a couple of buckets on my side to catch the leaking droplets. But it was beyond expectation to know that the beam would fall down one day!)

When I became a faculty member of HKU I had the fortune to return my debt (so to speak?) to the Library by serving as a member of the Science Faculty Library Committee from the mid-1980s until I left the post to serve as the Head of Department of Mathematics in January of 2000. Those were difficult years, financially speaking, so that we were continually bothered by the problem of cutting subscriptions of journals and devising alternative plans to alleviate the situation. I am glad to say that, with the cooperation of colleagues, we did manage to go through that difficult period.

In an article about the first class and the last class I taught at HKU as a regular faculty member (published in the New Year issue of Convocation Newsletter in 2006) I conclude with the remark: “I always say, no matter how the environment and mood of the tertiary sector change for better or for worse, there are three places which I love and feel comfortable with --- the classroom, the Library and the swimming pool.” Today, seven years after retirement I still harbour the same sentiment. Now that I do not have the frequent chance of enjoying the classroom, the library may have become the first on the list.
 

 
  Wonderful Main Library
Jeffrey So Chi Hong (Alumnus )

From 1994-1998, I studied in HKU as an undergraduate, I had one more year to stay intensively in Libraries, to read the stuff I wanted to read, to write the thing I wanted to write..... Of course, I skipped many of my subject lessons, saved time and went to this place.

I was also a committee member of Library. Once, I led a group of students from Singapore to visit the main library, a place of knowledge.

More than this memory......

Wonderful Main Library, I listened to Horowitz in AV collection.

Wonderful Main Library, I read Chinese Philosophies in FPS.

Wonderful Main Library, I read Social Work and Social Sciences Literatures, which are of doctorial levels, when I was just an undergraduate.

Wonderful Main Library, I found Shakespear and William Blake on 2/F.

Without this library, knowledge would be hidden.

With this library, knowledge enshines.

Thanks HKU libraries!

 

 
  Artificial Intelligence
Yan King Yin (Friend of the Library)

I'm an independent researcher building an AI called Genifer. This is me pulling out a book from the library. The author of the book (Mentifex, aka Arthur T Murray) is a famous (notorious?) person on the internet because of his half-joking AI theories and programs. I was surprised to find his book actually in the library.

Thanks to HKUL for providing me with such a good research library.
 

 
  Reminiscence
Choi Pak Sing (JULAC user 2009-11)

Shalom Sassion! Shalom Sassion!
In whom we feel like being at home!
Salute our academics, who instruct us with an unflagging passion!
Study our subjects, which instill us with an unfaltering dedication!
Strengthen our minds, which elevate us to the unbounded skies!
Sense our souls, which empower us to reach unlimited potential!
Shalom Sassion; shalom Sassion;
In whom we find our renaissance!
 

 
  Photocopy
Sung Chow Wing (PCLL 1992)

When I first used the Main Library in the summer of 1983, I needed to purchase a few packets of 20-cent coins. Around 1997, libraries in Hong Kong began to use storage card. This is a convenient measure. However, each library had its own storage card. Therfore, I kept several storage cards in my bag. Now, we all use a single octopus card for all libraries.
 

 
  Memories of the HKU Library in 2008
Gu Guoping (Visiting Student, Dept. of History 2008)

I, togethr with 2 other fellow students, came to study as a Ph.D. student at the Dept. of History in 2008 and was introduced to the wealth of books and other research materials and tools in the HKU library.

During our stay, we were impressed by the nice food in the university canteens. We were impressed by the diversity of plants and trees in the campus. Most importantly, we were impressed by the quality of service offered to us by the faculty at the History department and the library.

As we spent the better part of our stay in the HKU library, I like to take this opportunity to extend our special gratitude for the excellent library service we received. As far as my research was concerned at the time, I was doing American economic policy towards Japan and China after the 1980s, which was more contemporary than purely historical. So unlike the other two of my fellow students (Chen Juebin and Feng Ping), I did not spend as much time before those scanning machines for old historical documents. But I nevertheless benefited as greatly from the resources in HKU library. In particular, the library resources in the fields of US-Japanese relations and a number of comparative studies on Japanese and Chinese strategies were especially valuable for my research because I could not find many of these books in Beijing, even in the National Library. When I wrote my doctoral dissertation back in Beijing, I drew heavily on these resources and was later given credit for this during my defense.

Besides the treasure of academic resources, the HKU library has impressed us in another way. We were surprised and touched by the kindness and seriousness with which the HKU librarians responded to our requests. I still vividly remember one occasion when a librarian asked me to leave my phone number after failing to help locate a misplaced book in the shelves. The next morning she called me saying the book was found. One of my fellow students had the same experience in the library. To be frank, as students we had not expected that kind of service (which is really something unexpected in a library on the mainland). So in private we joked that our stay in HKU gave us a taste of the so-called life with high dignity.

All I want to say is a special thanks to the HKU library.
 

 
  The Cataloguing Department
Brian Thompson (PhD 2001)

I suppose I will always associate Hong Kong with HKU Libraries, as I began working there days just days after moving to the city. Perhaps my fondest memory is of my time in the cataloguing department. My desk was next to the telephone and although there was a clerk who usually answered calls, when she was away from her desk I answered the phone. Usually, the caller hestitated for a moment, no doubt surprised to find a gweilo answering the call. Often though they would just ask for the person they wanted to speak to, and I learned everyone's name that way -- although, I expect, without getting the tones right very often.

From there, I moved on to study in the music department, and enjoyed many hours in the lovely little library in the Hung Hing Ying Building, with a window looking out on a papaya tree.
 

 
  Happy time in library
Mei Lei (PhD 2010)

Kelly and I came to HKU for PhD program in 2006, we know each other in a course given by library, and we became friends soon. We are from different faculty, we have different major, but we like to study in library and here we have so many wonderful memories. Both of us graduated on time in 2010, I stayed in the faculty and work as a RA, Kelly chose to go back to Beijing and continue her life there. Before she left, we went to liberary again and took some photos (We were very quiet and did not disturb others...). It's so meaning for us.
 

 
  Sneaking in was Easy
Chohong Choi (MPhil 1999)

I first visited HKU in August 1995 - two days after I had returned to Hong Kong. A faculty member who was a friend of a family friend brought me to the university and even lent me his staff card so that I could access the Main Library. Back then, the checkpoint was manned by a guard, and one could simply flash a university ID to him and be allowed to enter. Since my benefactor (whom I will keep anonymous) and I had different hairstyles, he advised me to cover the top portion of his photo so that the guard would not become suspicious and ask for a closer look. I need not have worried, since the guard never gave the ID more than a perfunctory glance. I was able to enter the library several times with this ID until I enrolled at HKU and received my own ID.

Every university is built around its library (or libraries), and every time I visit a university, I try to enter its library to check out its layout and collections. If the library does not impress, then the university probably does not as well.
 

 
  Haven of Peace, Research and Knowledge
Ruqaiya Ebrahim (MSocSc 1989; BSocSc 1978)

Between 1975 to 1978, going to the library was a regular routine for me. I would look through the index card to find the books or journal articles that were in our reading list. When I located the books on the shelves my eyes would wander to other books with similar titles nearby which I would scan and pick up also. And I devoured the journal articles that were of interest to me apart from the assigned ones, as I looked for the ones I needed to read. Often I would sit with a stack of books plying through them feeding my thirst for knowledge. In those young Bachelor days I would not buy many books as I felt they were too expensive, but I borrowed tons and tons of books and satiated my appetite in that manner. The library was a quiet haven with people like me doing similar things. I especially liked the times in the nights when it was even quieter and there was peaceful silence that guarded the research process of developing my mind.

After graduation it was not long after that I applied to be a life member. I visited the library now and again after work to try to find solutions to problems I had encountered at work. That would broaden my perspective and lead me to clearer understanding of the situation and what I needed to do. Many a stress, burden or anxiety were relieved with this research. Often new ideas would subtely emerge from my normal straying eye to read more that would interest me. As I walked over the years in the library I would also marvel at an art exhibition dispayed or at the small changes that were ever occuring to make the library more user friendly, or the big changes where the building itself had changed and there was now a new wing.

Then came the pursuit of my part time Master's Degree 1987-89 and with it came endless hours of research, conceptualization and integration which was aided by the new technology of the computer and made the research and writing of the theses so much more easier. I marvelled at how much more we were able to produce compared to Master students in the previous generation due to the advance of technology. Many a times I would ask the staff to support me with the new technology and they would always be courteous and helpful. Faces changed over the years but the attitude remained the same.

Soon I was teaching Master students 1988- now instead of learning and was using University libraries where I was teaching, but I would still come back to the HKU library as it was located near home and had a special place in my heart. I would treasure the visit to my sanctuary where I felt I had a sence of belonging. It would often be the night visits which I enjoyed the most. When the bell rang singnalling us that it was the last minutes to borrowing or leaving the library, I would sometimes feel remiss that a productive night would soon be over and sometimes happy to leave for my bed.

Then I also enjoyed watching learning videos and films making use of visual technology to accelerate my learning and teaching. And now of course is the vast array of DVDs availble and doing a subject search on the computer and downloading articles. It has been a gradual but distinct advancement in use of library resources, but I still love to go back to the library premises and just browse now and then in my knowledge growing peace making haven.
 

 
  Library in graduation photos
Alvin Kan (MUD 2010; BA(ArchStud) 2009)

15 years ago, I took a photo with my aunt in front of HKU library for her graduation. Two years ago, I took another photo for my graduation. This year, I am going to come to the same place and take a photo with my younger sister for her degree. And hopefully next year, I will take mine again for my second master degree !
 

 
  港大情緣
Leung Koon Keung, Jack (BSc 1977) and Leung Lam Sau Mei, Josephine (BA 1984)

港大情絲月老牽
書林一敘定姻緣
鵲橋美玉從天降
借石留言妙韻傳

  In 1982, I went back to the Library to search for information. I felt a bit tired and took a nap. Suddenly, I was woken up by noise and saw a cute innocent girl searching books. I asked her, "Do you like to join me for tea?"…… I then asked her, "Do you like to marry me?"...... Now we have a happy family - a son, a daughter and a lovely cat.
 

 
  My HKU Library Memories – Sunbath Paradise
Lee Yu Chun, John (BSc (APBT) 2006)

Established in 1932, Fung Ping Shan Library has been our oldest HKU library of all time. Although it has moved into the Old Wing of our Main Library since 1961, it remains as my most favourite “hideout” during my U-life 10 years ago.

Especially the self-study cubical area on sixth floor, because where I enjoy spending most of my academics as a Biotech-majoring student – Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building, is just within a glimpse outside the window. Just by looking out whenever I feel stuck with my lab reports or rushed by presentation deadlines, can already loosen up my nerves and feel calmer.

Being situated on the top floor of the Main Library Building with mainly Chinese books also drives relatively fewer students on a regular school-day. Quiet atmosphere, light breeze air-conditioning and arrays of warm sunlight over the shoulders on a beautiful day...this was certainly a paradise to me and occasionally, I would even drop by for a quick-nap after my Saturday morning HKU Campus Tours as a dedicated Green Gown Guide!

While I truly hope this “sacred” place would not be overwhelmed with students after this sharing of mine is published, I highly recommend our HKU currents to check it out at their leisure…and of course for studying or reading but not for sleeping… =P
 

 
 

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