▲ The main stage in CCL. PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHO EUN BYUL.
Aimed to be the most imaginative university library in Korea, CJ Creator Library (CCL) finally made its appearance for the first time on May 30. “We at Korea University wish CCL to be a friendly place that students see as a part of their daily lives,” said Yeom Jae Ho, the President of Korea University (KU), at the opening ceremony. He showed a great expectation for CCL to be KU’s landmark. However, there are voices of concern that CCL is not all rainbows and roses. Will CCL be able to become the studentfriendly library it claims to be?
With an ambitious goal to build a library different from a stuffy studying room, CCL was built to be a place of the KU students, by the KU students, and for the KU students. Built upon the students’ ideas, its blueprint and design were handpicked from the winners of a contest held to gather ideas from students. The catchphrase of CCL, “An idealistic library that cannot be found elsewhere,” is also the work of a student. CCL is open to all KU students and even to local residents on weekdays from 9:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. It is located in the middle of the underground hallway of Central Plaza.
CCL consists of four main structures—a stage wide enough for performances, a resting floor where students can lie down and rest, professional broadcasting studios, and study rooms of various sizes. Students are free to borrow filming equipment such as DSLR cameras and stage lighting units. While reservations are required for studios and study rooms because of their limited number, other facilities such as the event hall, sofas and browsing zones are to be used freely. Reservations can be made both online and offline.
▲ One of the creators’ studios. PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHO EUN BYUL.
▲ The broadcasting studio. PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHO EUN BYUL.
Despite its efforts, there are doubts that indicate CCL is far from perfect. One controversy centers around the fact that a large reading room that used to be popular among students had to be sacrificed to build CCL in its place. While the shortage of seats was already a problem in the Central Plaza’s reading rooms, the reduction of studying areas fuelled the discontent among students even further. “During the last midterm examination, I heard a lot of complaints about the lack of seats. Because the place became more crowded, the air circulation also did not work well,” said Lee Dong Hun (’13, School of Media and Communication).
To make things worse, a noticeable lack of information on how to use this brandnew facility has left many confused and hesitant to use it at all. As a result, CCL became a mysterious, unapproachable place for students. Although the school promoted the fact that CCL will provide opportunities for student creators, the advertisement was distorted by a rumor that CCL was open to only students in the School of Media and Communication. This added weight to the existing perception that CCL was built to give privilege to a certain group at the expense of the vast majority of KU students. Moreover, some point out that the resting floor is often used as a sleeping place for certain students rather than a space of creativity.
However, it becomes evident that these rumors are groundless with a closer look at the place. The library provides spaces—such as the browsing zone, resting rooms, and sofas—for ordinary students. It also holds free lectures on Photoshop, Premier Pro1, and DSLR every week. Since the equipment can be borrowed from CCL, all students can avail themselves of these opportunities. “It is undeniable that students in a particular major and broadcasting clubs use the facility more often, but a lot of people regardless of their majors or clubs are also taking advantage of the facility. As for studios, not only students but also professors, school staff, and exchange students are using them for various purposes, like creating YouTube videos, taking photographs for albums, or preparing for competitions. Since CCL staff offers assistance with how to use these types of equipment, we hope that more KU students take the advantage of what is prepared for them." said Park Tae Jun, a staff at CCL.
Fortunately, a growing number of students have been showing interest in CCL. “I think CCL provides a good opportunity for KU students who want to practice using the professional equipment,” said Kim Min Ji (’15, School of Media and Communication). According to the data provided by CCL, the usage rate of both study rooms and studios has seen an increase since its opening. "It is true that the usage rate of the studios was not high at the beginning. However, it more than doubled during last semester alone, from 24 percent to 56 percent as word-of-mouth about CCL gradually spread. Nowadays, at least half of the rooms are occupied during the opening hours," said Park.
As the number of users has grown, there is also a greater need for KU students to participate in creating a better environment at CCL. “Since CCL has a rather relaxing atmosphere with couches and floor, we often find people sleeping. Certainly, the place was built to somewhat help students relieve stress and give them a place to rest, but students should be aware that CCL is not a place for a deep sleep,” said Park. In addition, he emphasized that users of the equipment be punctual. Sometimes, late returns mix up the schedules of following users and delay the closing hour of the library.
Although a few obstacles remain to be overcome to tap into the full potential of CCL, it is obvious that the newly built library is on the right track as an essential part of the Anam Campus. “CCL is surely a sensational place for KU students that they have never had before. Many students go to nearby cafés between classes, but CCL is a perfect place for people like me who feel that going to a café is a waste of money,” said Lee. Among various members of KU, CCL is slowly finding its place as a comfortable lounge for rest, a place of creativity, and an incubator for media start-ups. After all, the place opened only a couple months ago, with still much more room to grow.