News & Announcements

4/F Main Library

Nov 03 2022

Librarian Message re: Update to the Special Collections Access Procedures

Published by at 2:00 pm under Breaking News

Librarian Message re: Update to the Special Collections Access Procedures


On 1st June 2022 the HKU Libraries issued an announcement regarding the procedural enhancements of using the space and materials of Special Collections, which include Chinese and Western Rare Books Collections, limited editions of publications, historic photographs and materials relating to Hong Kong, namely Hong Kong Collection.

Librarian Message re: Special Collections Access Procedure


Due to instances of users’ mishandling, damages and loss of the HKU Libraries’ rare materials within our Special Collections Area in the past, the arrangement is considered to be necessary to protect and preserve our unique, valuable, rare and irreplaceable materials which form our complete collections.


The international best practices of registration for access to special materials are adopted in our libraries. We referenced our Special Collections access procedures to international standards and best practice amongst international peers including The British Library, Library of Congress, Bodleian Libraries of Oxford, Cambridge Libraries, University of Sydney, Harvard University, American Library Association and numerous renowned institutions.


The new booking procedure also ensures priority is given to those who have genuine needs to use the Special Collections. Since the implementation of the booking procedure, the preservation of our materials is improved, less damages are found, and no loss has been reported despite high number of visitors.


We comply with the guidelines of Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) and follow strictly the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and Copyright Ordinance to ensure no personal data are compromised and copyrights are infringed. Photoduplication of copyrighted materials at Special Collections is allowed for private study but declaration of reproduction needs signing by users who shall be obliged to the Copyright Ordinance.


We have been actively consulting, acquiring and providing access to materials recommended by faculties and students to support their teaching, learning and academic development through physical and digital means.  We have also been collecting feedback and suggestions from HKU Libraries users and refining the access procedures to enhance our users’ experience. Please contact us at to help us improve.


Thank you for your continued support.


Yours sincerely,

Flora Ng
Chief Information Officer and
University Librarian

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