World of books

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 May, 2005, 12:00am

Name: Leung For-hing Age: 41 Occupation: Librarian

Young Post: What are the duties of a librarian?

Leung: We have four main responsibilities.

First, we have to run a library efficiently. This includes maintenance of the building and bookshelves, the distribution of manpower, and monitoring the quality of our services.

Second, we have to manage the overall development of the library. This means we have to decide on which new books to buy and which ones to remove from the shelves for storage.

Third, we have to show visitors how to fully utilise resources provided by the library.

For example, we [public libraries] have organised workshops on the search for books and journals online.

Finally, we have to put a lot of effort into promoting reading among the public.

Sometimes we meet representatives from schools or community centres to discuss promotional events. For example, we may lend books to a school for an exhibition on campus.

YP: Do you need to move books around or stamp books that are returned or borrowed?

L: No, that's the job of library assistants. Usually, that position doesn't require professional qualifications. Many people mix up the jobs of librarians and their assistants.

To become a librarian, we must first study classification and cataloguing because we need to help people sort out information from a huge database.

For example, a young man asked me about geography books.

But I soon realised that he was a tour guide who wanted information about the history of walled villages in the New Territories.

So I helped him find the relevant material.

YP: What do you think about the reading habits of Hong Kong people?

L: I think Hong Kong people like to read.

Statistics show that the number of public library users, especially among teenagers, has gone up in recent years.

Jin Yong's novels have been a hit with readers.

Among teenagers, the Harry Potter series has been the most popular in the past few years.

Although people say teenagers seldom read classical literature, I think it's important to nurture their interest in reading.

YP: What challenges do you face in your job?

L: We have to stay in touch with the rapidly changing world and provide the latest information to readers.

Information technology and travel books are typical examples.

We offered the latest Harry Potter book at the same time it was released around the world.

But what gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction is helping people find the information they need.