A number of government-run libraries reopened to the public on Wednesday after more than a month, as Hong Kong authorities moved to ease restrictions imposed to arrest a wide outbreak of the coronavirus which has now spread across the world.
Dozens of people queued up to get tickets to enter Central Library in Causeway Bay just ahead of its special opening time at 1pm.
Only 250 tickets were issued for entry and each holder was allowed only a one-hour session.
But for many of the people there, it was a welcome step as warnings against active social interactions had forced many to spend days cooped up at home.
Moreover, the closure of schools meant many children were also stuck indoors for long periods, if not for entire days.
So it was not surprising that a 11-year-old was all excited as he waited for the library doors to open.
Isaac Kwok said he plans to borrow the maximum amount of books allowed and that he’s not worried about coronavirus risks.
"I'm feeling a bit excited, because I'm feeling so bored at home, I don't know what to do," he said.
Kwok said he had already made up his mind on the kind of books he wanted. "Books on animals," he said. "Or some kind of mechanics or engineering," he quickly added.
He was not concerned about getting exposed to the virus while visiting the library. "No, because we are the first one to go inside. So when I open the book it's okay, no one would have touched it before," he said.
But Issac's mum was not planning another visit anytime soon. So, she brought along her daughter as well so that the three of them could take the maximum eight books out each.
As the bookworms waited patiently, a 70-year-old learned that his favourite sections – including the one with Chinese literature reference books – was not actualy opening.
The man, surnamed Hui, was among the first of a handful of people waiting outside the library and had spent nearly three hours in the queue. He was well prepared for the wait, bringing along a foldable stool and some snacks.
"I used to come two to three times a week to do research, go through poetry collections before the closures," he said. "I’m not like other elderly people who spent the whole day here reading newspapers.”
But he had to pack up and head home after finding out that his favourites section was not re-opening just yet.
"I am disappointed," he said as he was leaving.
Another page turned as govt libraries reopen
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