Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Checking out a new library: the Hong Kong Central Library

We loved our libraries in Maryland and were sad to say good bye to them when we moved to Hong Kong last year. Luckily, our main children’s librarian moved to Hong Kong with us! Well not directly with us but her husband works at the US Consulate and she is here directing us to good Hong Kong libraries. This week we ventured down to the main branch of Hong Kong’s library system in Causeway Bay (near- ish to Central, where Phil works). The 12 story building is new and beautiful with numerous literary statues and fountains out in front. We loved the steps leading up to the library that had both English and Chinese quotations carved into them. To be honest, I loved the quotes and the kids loved the flashing lights on the library’s floors and the cool 180 degree view elevators inside the building.

Once we finally made it to the children’s library, we were a little underwhelmed but only because the building looks so big and grand and most of their collection is of course Chinese language. The English materials were fine, though mainly English as in British. Royce and Adam scoured the English language stacks to find the titles that we knew. Tori pulled the Ancient Egypt books once again. We did read and laugh, quietly, without incident. Our closest branch of the Hong Kong library system is in Stanley, just minutes from our apartment. Despite it proximity, we never use it due to their very strict silence rules. Reading out loud, even to yourself as a beginning reader is not allowed. Roycie was once reprimanded for laughing and then of course started crying. Anyway, the central library was a much better reader friendly environment and well worth the trip into town.

The library we use throughout the year- and the one that is closed this summer- is Tori’s school library. They really have a great collection and a somewhat lax 25 book limit rule. We have enjoyed the librarian picking out books not only for Tori but also for Adam and Royce. It is a smallish room with comfortable chairs, puzzles, coloring paper and about everything we need to spend a good Friday afternoon. Before our sea shipment of belongings arrived and books were sparse around our house, we survived off the lower primary library’s collection. And I will always remember them fondly for that.

The only complaint we have with the Hong Kong Central Library is its one parent- one child rule. For example, if a kid wants to attend a story hour, one parent must attend with one kid. This rule has always been an obstacle for us with the twins. At the Central Library, we had reservations to be admitted to the Library’s Toy Library. I didn’t know what it was but it sounded good (it was again underwhelming). The librarian in charge was not going to admit us due to the 3 kids and 1 adult thing. We were all pressed against the glass of the toy library looking in at all the toys. Tori very bravely told us to go ahead and go play and she would wait for us. Then she realized this would not work either. I think her very dramatic "our family just wants to play but we are too big!" was just what we needed. We were admitted and we played for our full 45 minute session.


Blogger Don said...

Hi, Albie,
I've read only a few of your blog posts so far, and those I've read I have thoroughly enjoyed. You are a good "picture painter."

I just reestablished contact with your mom. I wrote her a letter a couple of months ago and had just about given up on hearing from her. What a nice surprise to get her letter today. She included your blog address and some pics of your beautiful children.

I visited Hong Kong on my way home from my Peace Corps assignment in India in July, 1968. I'd love to visit again and see how much it has changed. Your wonderful descriptions are giving me a good idea.

I've done a little blogging, also. If you want to check them out they are at: http://tennyank.blogspot.com/, http://thedonald627.blogspot.com/ and http://donald-clement.blogspot.com/.

I did not know until I got your mom's letter today that your dad had passed away in 2002. I never got to meet him, but my mother used to talk about what a fine man she thought he was. I'm sorry for your loss.

My email address is donc@sssnet.com. I'd love to hear from you.

8:14 PM  

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