Free access to e-books and databases at HK Public Libraries

     Want to read but do not have time to visit the library? Need to do research for school projects? Want to enrich your knowledge for career advancement or learn a language easily with interesting audio materials? Want to share the joy of reading with the housebound or visually impaired? Thousands of e-books are now available at the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL), enabling users to dive into the new digital era of books without having to go to the library.

     Registered readers of the HKPL who have a valid library card or a Hong Kong smart ID card with library services can now access the e-books and online databases for free from any place and at any time via the public libraries' homepage,, to enjoy digital reading and the "Library Without Walls" services.

     Members of the public, including non-registered readers, can also access the rich e-resources and e-books, or listen to music, via workstations in all public libraries premises except mobile libraries.

     The HKPL has over 100 000 e-book items and 60 online databases with different reference materials, news, business and statistical information, specialised periodicals, research papers and thematic information. The general databases are accessible at all public libraries while the specialised databases are accessible at the Reference Library of the Hong Kong Central Library and other major public libraries.

     The seven diverse e-book databases consist of four English e-book databases, one English audio book database and two Chinese e-book databases.

     For English e-books, eBooks on EBSCOhost contains good reads ranging from academic books, classic literature, popular titles like "Chicken Soup for the Soul", travel guides and cookbooks. The ebrary Academic Complete service is an award-winning resource with over 50 000 academic books on multiple subjects from renowned university presses and major publishers. Targeted at college students, academics and self-learners, the database contains reading on a comprehensive range of subjects that are essential for building up knowledge and skills in various disciplines and professions.

     There is great demand for books in management and marketing to keep readers abreast of the fast-changing business environment. Safari Business Books Online provides books and information on different areas including finance, accounting, human resources, management and customer services. Safari Tech Books Online features a whole range of books on IT applications such as computer systems, webpage design, Facebook, Twitter and iPhone apps.

     The Naxos Spoken Word Library is a collection of about 400 audio books including English-language literary classics such as "Hamlet", "Pride and Prejudice" and "Oliver Twist", and children's literature like "The Story of the Three Little Pigs", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Pinocchio" read by leading English actors. It is a great resource for brushing up on your English by both listening to and reading English and American classics. In addition, readers can also listen online to recordings including classical, jazz, Chinese music, pop and rock via the Naxos Music Library.

     For Chinese e-books, Apabi eBook comprises some 50 000 titles published in the Mainland covering a wide range of topics including philosophy, social sciences, politics and law, economics, linguistics, literature, arts, history, geography, natural science, industrial technology, transportation, sports and fitness. It is a multi-subject collection for both adults and younger readers. For literature lovers, Vista E-Book in traditional Chinese features over 400 Chinese literary works and translations of Western authors' work. Some of the works available are from prominent Chinese authors such as Lam Hang-tsz and Lin Yutang.

     Apart from offering these rich and diverse contents, the e-books databases also provide full text searching and offer convenient ways for readers to search for specialised information. There are also personalised features such as note-taking and bookmarks as well as online dictionary, translation and text-to-speech functionality. Some of the Chinese e-books can be downloaded for offline reading and will be returned automatically on the return date.

     There are also 12 online databases with different articles and multi-media information available for registered readers to access via the Internet. They include Opposing Viewpoints, which covers different social issues; GREENR, on the environment and natural resources; Access Science and Science in Context, which provide information on popular science; Biography in Context, consisting of in-depth articles on historical figures and notable modern-day talents; and Omnifile Full Text Mega, which contains magazine articles on different subjects. The information is especially useful to secondary school students for liberal studies and to other readers for doing research projects.

     Logging in to the HKPL e-books and databases is fast and easy. Readers can enter the HKPL's homepage at, and then follow a few simple steps to find the e-resources required.

     For enquiries, please call 2921 0222 (from 10am to 9pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to Sunday, and from 1pm to 9pm on Wednesday) or email

Ends/Thursday, October 27, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:04