PAARL's library benchmarking tour was held in Seoul, South Korea from 16-19 October 2014 (Thursday to Sunday).
Why Seoul? On its fifth year of benchmarking libraries within Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, PAARL has chosen the “Land of the Morning Calm”, this former “Hermit Kingdom”, as one of the better cities in the world that has metamorphosed into a world leader when it comes to innovation and cutting-edge technology. Seoul is quite literally one of the most connected cities in the world!
The overall objective of this benchmarking activity is for our participating libraries and librarians to remain competitive and demonstrate evidence of good practice which will contribute to every Library’s goal to be:
• A quality library that is client-focused;
• A library that is continually improving its services;
• A library that adopts innovative, new ideas and technologies; and
• A library that is efficient and effective.
The tour specifically aims to (1) identify best practices in Korean libraries, in terms of technological, space-planning, and infrastructure development; (2) learn new trends and concepts of library services; (3) observe closely how Korean libraries address today’s issues and challenges in their desire to go digital; (4) foster professional and cultural exchanges between Filipino and Korean librarians; and, (5) establish a linkage with counterpart Korean libraries for future collaborative undertakings.
Day 1 and 2 activities highlighted our visits to well-selected academic and research libraries, public information centers, and archives, namely : (1) The National Digital Library of Korea (Dibrary) at the National Library of Korea, (2) Yonsei University Library, (3) Seoul Metropolitan Library, (4) Sungkyunkwan University Library, (5) Seoul National University Library, and (6)Gyujanggak Royal Library of SNU.
The National Library of Korea was established in 1945. It houses over 9.18 million volumes, including over 1,134,000 foreign books and some of the National Treasures of South Korea. Dibrary is a new name for the digital library of the National Library of Korea, which harmonizes nature, humanity, and information. Dibrary is the world’s first hybrid library combining digital and analogue ideas. It consists of “Dibrary Portal,” a virtual space, and a physical service space called “Dibrary Information Commons”. It was opened in May 2009 after seven years of construction. Facilities allow access to over 800 libraries and other institutions around the world, including the U.S. Library of Congress, and a total of more than 264 million pieces of content. Access is available to foreigners.
Yonsei University Library was founded in 1915, but it was only in 1979 when the new library building (now Yonsei Central Library) was completed, and it has been used as the main library of Yonsei University until 2008.
In 1990, Yonsei University Library became the first to operate a computerized library system in Korea. To serve its endless efforts in research information, the Library initiated a web-based research system in 1999. In 2001, the Library also systemized a digital library which offers bibliographic information, original texts, non-book media materials, lecture and research information, the internet services, and more. The library upgraded and redesigned its digital library system as well as library webpage in 2005 to provide Yonsei community members with more up-graded academic information services.
In 2007, Yonsei University Library successfully embarked on the Subject Librarian Services first in Korea and is equipped with high-tech IT environment as well as strengthened digital content management system. With the opening of Yonsei-Samsung Library in 2008, the Library changed its name from the ‘Central Library’ to ‘Yonsei University Library’ to name Yonsei Central Library and Yonsei-Samsung Library together. Yonsei University Library reorganized the setup of departments and added two more divisions and four more sections so that it can integrate and manage these two libraries more effectively. The opening of Yonsei-Samsung Library and the new library system will make Yonsei University Library to become a future-oriented high-tech academic information center.
The Library’s collections total more than 1.9 million printed works and 16,000 serials. A variety of electronic resources, including 200 academic databases and 62,000 e-journals can be accessed both on and off campus.
The former City Hall, that used to be the center of city affairs, is now the main library in Seoul. The Seoul Metropolitan Library offers over 200,000 books, book shelves along 5m-high walls, Disability Collections, and Seoul Documents Collections. It also offers a comprehensive search tool to identify materials among 320 libraries in Seoul. The Library will be the “Information Hub of Seoul and Center of Libraries in Seoul” and “Representative Library in Seoul” that creates and implements programs for the libraries in Seoul.
In addition, the library restored the outer wall, halls, and the main stairway of the former City Hall that had been built in 1926, symbolizing the historical heritage of Seoul.
Because the Dibrary opens at 10am, the group visited the Kimchi School after a hearty breakfast at Cheongha Restaurant. Here we learned the traditional way of making Kimchi. The Kimchi School offers kimchi-making classes guided by a professional kimchi instructor. Participants can taste the kimchi they make, have it packed up, and take it home with them. People may also choose the option of learning how to make tteokbokki along with kimchi. In the same place, we were shown different ways of wearing the traditional Hanbok that Koreans wear on formal occasions. With curves that flow like ripples in the water and woven in a rich tapestry of colors, the hanbok is a thing of splendid, yet simple, beauty. So everyone had fun having their pictorials wearing Hanbok complete with headgear.
For more photos, see links below:
Day 1 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.800422546645132.1073741837.208...
Day 2 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.806988185988568.1073741841.208...
Day 3 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.801456856541701.1073741838.208...