When I first stepped foot into the Hong Kong Central Library, I had immediately realized had entered the library of the future. The Central Library, the largest of the 76 public libraries in a city of 7 million people, is the main library of Hong Kong. Located at the intersection of Moreton Terrace and Causeway Road in Causeway Bay, the Central Library is a 12-storey high building in with an area of 9,400 sq. metres plus a floor area of 33,800 sq. metres, built at a construction cost of HK$690 million. What are some of the features which make HK Central Library on par with the best knowledge institutions of the world? Here are just a few:
(1) Intelligent Building - The Hong Kong Central Library is an intelligent building, using the most advanced architecture. Intelligent Buildings concepts include a purpose is to control, monitor and optimise building services, (eg. lighting, heating, security, CCTV, and alarm systems, access control, audio-visual and entertainment systems, ventilation, filtration and climate control, and even time & attendance control and reporting (notably staff movement and availability). This is also called building automation, which is essentially a control system using a computerized, intelligent network of electronic devices, designed to monitor and control the mechanical and lighting systems of a building
(2) State-Of-The-Art Multimedia - Called the Multimedia Information System, the MMIS is an example of all-embracing use of information technology and computer application in the Hong Kong Central Library. As such a three level audio-on-demand and video-on-demand system are set up. In order to enable more public use of the first level video and third level audio and video of the AOD/VOD system, about ninety Asynchronous Transfer Mode terminals are installed in the library. In other words, the library allows its users the most advanced technologies available.
(3) Global Repository - has been designated as the legal depository library in Hong Kong for nine global organizations: Asian Development Bank, European Union, International Labour Organization, International Maritime Organization United Nations, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Bank, World Trade Organization; and World Food Programme.
(4) Looking Back, Moving Forward - Because of the Central Library's sheer size coupled with its unique facilities, it even hosted the Hong Kong Library Association's 50th Anniversary conference. HKLA held the international conference in 2008, called "Looking Back, Moving Forward: Asian Libraries in the World of Information" which focused on the key issues and challenges which face libraries in Asia.
(5) History & Culture - Very much an educational institutional as it is a technological masterpiece, cultural symbolism is highlighted throughout the building. In particular, memorial plaques dedicated to famous modern Chinese writers in the library emblazon the library, one of them was for the witty and erudite scholar-novelist Qian Zhongshu (錢鍾書).