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Hong Kong Library Association


Hong Kong Library Association Biennial Award 2018

This award was established by the Hong Kong Library Association in 2010. The Association is committed to provide comprehensive professional support to its members. This Award is hence set up to address the professional development needs of eligible Full Members of the Association who are practicing at paraprofessional to middle professional levels in the library and information fields. Through this Award, the Association will support the professional development of the awardees, such as conference or workshop attendances, overseas professional visits, preparation of a scholarly publication or any professional activities, etc., which are otherwise unlikely to be sponsored by their employers, nor by the other scholarships or awards currently offered by the Association. Details of the Award can be found from the HKLA website at,english/

Application form of the Award is available at

Deadline for application will be announced in 2018. For enquiries, please contact the Ms Helen Chan, Education and Training Officer, The Hong Kong Library Association, by phone: 2346-1033; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Additional materials in support of an application can accompany the application form. Please note that each applicant can only apply for one HKLA scholarship or award within the same year.

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  Home arrow Conferences arrow Read, learn, live - Connecting People
Read, learn, live - Connecting People Print E-mail

Read, learn, live - 'Connecting People'
The Public Library as a living space 

Urban life, 'community building' and 'social engineering'

Many cities in Europe are facing profound changes in society and urban space. Germany makes no difference. European city traditions have led to the formation of clear functional characteristics: there is the classic city centre shaped by commercial, administrative, transport and cultural buildings; residential and industrial areas are located in the periphery and in the precincts.

Processes of deindustrialization and the shift of traffic have created urban wastelands that must be revived. There are also significant trends of a spatially and socially segregated urban society, which are answered with means of 'social engineering'. Processes of demographic change described in the short form of 'older, more colorful, less' form the major frame of the evolution of urban societies. So, what holds (urban) societies together and what drives them apart, is a topical question. Urban society and the 'urban policy' (Hartmut HauBermann) must be prepared.

And the libraries?
We are accustomed to think of public libraries in their educational and cultural mission. However, to consider their social relations and their installation in the civil society is an ongoing challenge. In practical terms, this means thinking about public libraries in their communicative dimension as meeting places and gathering places. Because of the enormous increase in the extent of ubiquitous digital information, the public library might experience a loss of importance: the exclusivity of its information capacity is tending to get lost. Conversely, the commercialism-free libraries turn to places of public (city) Culture, communication and encounters. For this they need to have some structural elements. Some things they already bring to the community: Public libraries are usually easily to use; they are often located in the cities' centres; there are no social barriers to get access and their use is free of charge or achievable at reasonable prices.

The concept of 'third places'
The concept of 'third places' (Ray Oldenburg) describes that people are initially rooted socially embedded in their families and homes and their work or training place. Additionally there are important places which are crucial to social life like cafes, bookshops, beer gardens, coffee shops or hairdressers and retail trade - they all may win the features of 'third places'. Characteristics of these places are first and foremost that they are public, easily accessible and their services are free or at least affordable.

Libraries as 'third places'?

Cities need shared territories' (Richard Sennett). If we realize the existence of social disintegration and less social cohesion the question must be put, what libraries may contribute to 'community building'. We want to ask whether public libraries are able to contribute at all and what libraries may contribute in particular. Under which conditions may a public library to be considered as 'social space'? In the presentation we want to focus on the practice of the City Library in Bielefeld (18 among the 80 largest cities in Germany with approx. 325.000 inhabitants, 258 square kilometers, a central library with eight branches) which follows the slogan 'Read, learn, live'. Based on the plans for the new location of the Central Library, which was inaugurated in March 2012, aspects of the qualification of this location to a 'third place' are to be presented. The concept and practice of "library volunteers" is as well considered as the contact with groups and associations.   

hp, 12.4.2012   

Curriculum vitae

After several engagements in public and scientific libraries in Berlin and other German cities Harald Pilzer MA is the Director of the Public Library of Bielefeld since 2001. Since 2006 he is also responsible for the department consisting of the Public Library, the city's archive and a special library covering the history of Bielefeld and North-western Germany. 

He is interested in all questions of digital information and future library services as well as in the positioning of libraries in the public and the enhancement of their public acknowledgment. Since 2012 he is chairman of the association of libraries in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.


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