There are currently many libraries in Macao. Why build a New Central Library?
The Macao public library system consists of 17 libraries, including the Macao Central Library, located at Tap Seac Square. In fact, at the level of its scale, this library is actually a community library, containing a limited collection lacking in diversity and essentially serving the citizens that live nearby. In functional terms, the New Central Library will be quite different.
What is the difference between a community library and a central library?
Community libraries are rooted in communities, serving primarily the residents of the community in which they are located. In turn, the Central Library is meant to serve the entire population of Macao, not only providing basic library services, but also supporting community libraries, coordinating Macao Public Library resources and fulfilling its mission by promoting social development and the preservation of the city’s memory.
After the establishment of the New Central Library, will community libraries be closed down?
As they both serve different roles, existing community libraries will continue to function and serve citizens. Both will coordinate with each other in order to complement each other at the functional level.
What are the limitations of the current Macao Public Library? What will change with the New Central Library?
Due to the insufficient space, the library’s collection is currently spread over several community libraries and rental book repositories in industrial buildings, which prevents services from being provided in a comprehensive and convenient way for readers. With regard to Macao documents, these only have one small storage room, which makes it difficult to develop a “Macao Deposit Library”. With this in view, it is hoped that the New Central Library will be able to solve these problems.
More and more readers prefer reading by means of electronic resources. Why build a New Central Library?
Providing printed or electronic reading materials is only one function of the libraries. Large modern libraries are also responsible for other functions, including conservation and restoration of books and documents, conducting reference studies, digitizing documents, offering multimedia material, organizing cultural exchanges, urban hall, urban memory, organizing exhibitions, offering leisure spaces, among others. Only a large central library can cater to all these needs.
What criteria was based on when selecting the New Central Library site?
The Macao SAR Government has taken a series of international indicators and studies as reference to select the New Central Library site, determining that it should be located in the city centre, for readers’ convenience and for flexibility purposes, in order to create a space conducive to adjustable and sustainable development; the land plot should also be square-shaped, in order to facilitate the organization and management of the functional areas within the library. In addition to meeting the above criteria, the Old Court Building is also of profound historical and cultural significance.
Were the traffic problems around the Old Court Building addressed?
The New Central Library is located in the city centre. As a result, the site is equipped with an extensive public transportation network, with four nearby car parks (1,600 car parking spaces and 770 motorcycle parking spaces available) as well as a number of hourly rental car parks in commercial buildings (including the New Yaohan and the AIA Tower). Over 30 bus lines are also available, and a future Macao LRT station will also be located close by, making the site very accessible. In fact, the traffic problem in this area is a problem that requires a global solution. It does not result from the construction of the New Central Library. Our society is in the process of evolving, so necessary adjustments must be made to respond to these developments.
How was the 900 million patacas budget to build the New Central Library estimated?
The New Central Library construction project will be guided by the principle of simplicity, valuing “quality” rather than “luxury”. The estimated construction costs, based on the principles of professionalism and objectivity, are being calculated according to the market prices for public works projects of the Macao SAR Government, namely on the prices for 2015 (MOP 23,000 per square meter), to which an annual inflation rate of approximately 5% was added. The budget for other elements, such as furniture and equipment, can only be calculated after the completion of the design development.
What kind of facilities and collection will be available at the New Central Library?
Upon completion of the preliminary analysis plan, the features of the Old Court Building and the Former Judiciary Police Building will be preserved, while new and underground floors will be built, bringing the total number of floors to 11. The building will be divided into three sections, namely a section for the library collection, a public section and a technical support section. In order to promote the sustainable development of the library and to cater to the needs of several generations, the New Central Library project will focus on the library’s flexibility, in terms of its spaces, functions and transit routes. Case studies in Mainland China and overseas will be used as reference and the construction regulations of library buildings will be strictly observed, with a view to offering the city the ideal reading room.
According to the New Macao Central Library project, the library collection will include Macao documents, rare books, special collections, books and periodicals, multimedia material, electronic resources, among other items. Upon completion of the design development, the number of floors of the building, the spatial distribution, the number of functional areas, the number of facilities and equipment, and the type of services and collections available will be more accurately determined.
What principles will the Macao SAR Government follow to revitalize and reuse the Old Court Building?
The main cultural value of the Old Court Building lies in its architectural and artistic features, which represent the typical style of the era in which it was built. By planning the construction of the New Central Library in the land plot occupied by this building, the Macao SAR Government is responsible for ensuring the preservation of its culturally valuable features and also for highlighting and enhancing them. To this end, the project should fully preserve the Old Court Building, including its unique style and all architectural elements of cultural value, while ensuring that new architectural space and elements will be pursued, bequeathed and developed in terms of architectural arts and urban design. On the other hand, the revitalization and reuse of the building must meet the functional needs of modern central libraries, comply with applicable construction norms and guidelines, as well as to meet the expectations of modern citizens regarding public cultural spaces.
Regarding the Old Court Building, classified as a monument, what parts of the building does the Macao SAR Government plan to preserve?
The Cultural Affairs Bureau will base on the protection requirements stipulated by the Cultural Heritage Protection Law to develop the New Central Library project. The project ensures the complete preservation of the Old Court Building, including its unique style and all architectural elements of cultural value, including its distinctive façade, roof, structure, pavement and interior spaces.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau will also develop the revitalization project of the Old Court Building, based on the norms and demands of the international community for the revitalization and reuse of heritage buildings, as well as relevant international charters, in order to make the necessary adjustments and thus ensure the protection of the building when it is reused. Upon completion of the New Central Library, the Old Court Building will remain fully intact, which will enhance the positive contribution of the New Central Library building to the cultural development of Macao.