Have you noticed the gradual changes in the stairways of the library? Did you see that you are no longer able to print seat slips from every kiosk? These small changes have occurred during the summer break to make the library a better place to study. Although the changes have been quite small, the library is on its way to bigger changes in the future. Look out for these upcoming changes.
During the summer vacation of 2012, the library was redecorated. With Professor Yoo Kwan Hee (Business Administration) taking office, the library held several surveys of Korea University (KU) students to gather opinions and criticisms on the current operations of the library. Accommodating the opinions of these surveys, some changes were in and out of the library include replacing lamps with LED, getting new computers, and changing the name of reading rooms in Central Plaza. Other changes were in infrastructural matters, such as modifying the stairways, repainting, and decorating them with UCC still photos of KU students.
▲ Author Shin Kyung-sook is telling her story of life. Photographed by Choi Ji Won
Changes in the content of the library were also seen. The library changed the organization system of books and opened a bestseller corner at the front of the checkout counter. The new organization system was organized according to classification codes, rather than by subject matter. In the past, it was hard to find books and papers by only subjects, but now it is fairly easy. Also, each floor now has a certain professionalism. Rather unpopular books that were not sought out for a long time were moved down to Uncho Education Hall. Moreover, dirty and non-readable books were newly bound and came back as fresh as new.
Aside from books, the slips after being assigned a seat were said to be vulnerable to private information, so now the last two digits of the student ID number are marked with asterixes. In the past, these slips were seen lying around here and there on tables. One could see the full names and the full ID numbers of the previous seat owner. This is, of course, the responsibility of students, but the library is trying to prevent any problems from occurring with this new policy.
Moreover, the library started a project named “Library Story,” which invites famous figures to give lectures to KU students. Monk Haemin and author Shin Kyung-sook came to tell their life stories and to give hope to young adults in despair. Students who signed up for the lecture were overflowing so much so that the location needed to be changed to a bigger space. The library proudly displays these famous authors’ signatures and comments on the first floor.
All these radical changes seem to be based on the change of the library’s motto. Hong Sun-Pyo, the Assistant Manager of the Library services Department, says “We regard students as customers, not just ordinary users. Based on this motto, we are trying to transform into a service department.” Although there is no certain competition, the library is trying to accommodate what the students expect to the fullest. The library continuously held meetings with the student council and heard what the students had to say. The student council represented students’ opinions gathered from Koreapas (The KU Student Online Community) and offline during the meeting, requiring the library to rethink its plans for the building usage.
Students are showing positive responses to the changes. Lee Seung Hee (’11, Business Administration) commented that, “I am generally satisfied with the changes at the library. Especially the bestseller corner in each floor shows us at once what kind of books are in right now. I can just pick up a book from the shelf and start reading.” However, she also expressed some concerns over the services of the library. The first and foremost was the inconvenience in using computers. Lee says that computers on the first floor still become frozen quite often.
Another student, Yoon Sung Won (’12, Health Science) said, “I have not noticed any considerable changes in the library, but I did feel a bit of difference in the stairways and the reading rooms. All in all, I can say that I am satisfied, since I do not have any complaints at this point.”
Also, students in general are calling for restrictions regarding saving seats, especially during the exam period. The Centennial Memorial SAMSUNG Hall makes students check out at the kiosk when they leave the site. The seat is automatically logged out if the student does not come back for an hour and a half. However, the studying rooms in the Central Library do not make students check out. Students make use of this system, saving a seat before they go to class and coming back after. This causes idle seats, when during the exam time even one seat is precious to students.
The library has shown its effort to accommodate these opinions of students endlessly. As for the problem of saving seats, the library says it trusts KU students to act shamelessly, but is also planning to check whether people actually do have their ID cards. This inspection may be troublesome for others, but it should help with holding off those without identification.
The library is on its way to becoming a multiplex building. Although it has a long way to go, the library seems to be taking steps toward becoming a much more student centered building.