National Library of Korea, Sejong branch. (National Library of Korea)
In line with the second phase of the central government administration’s relocation to Sejong Metropolitan Autonomous City in late December, the National Library of Korea, Sejong branch, will open to the public on Dec. 12.
Aiming to become the hub of administration information in the country, the 21,077-square-meter library, located at the tail of the city’s long administrative complex building, will eventually store more than 3.3 million books and an even larger amount of digital information.
“We will first open with 80,000 books, 400 magazines and 8,000 pieces of digital content. We will continue to secure more than 50,000 books a year,” said Cho Young-ju, director of the library.
The interior of the National Library of Korea, Sejong branch, to be opened on Dec. 12. (National Library of Korea)
Aligned with the National Library of Korea in Seoul, the national library users at Sejong will be able to choose from a total of 920,000 books or documents ― all of which are stored in Seoul ― on the policies of governments and international organizations. Digitalized documents, including 1.86 million scanned pages of documents related to Korea and collected from overseas, 2 million online documents and 430,000 scanned books will be stored on the database. As well, 50,000 digitalized documents taken from policy.dibrary.net, the governmental policy portal, will be able to be accessed without having to visit Seoul.
But Sejong library will be more than just a library for administrative resources. It is expected to be the cultural hub of Sejong City, which is still undergoing massive construction projects and lacks cultural facilities. In the colorfully painted children’s reading room, located on the basement floor, young users will be given an RFID tag so that the parents will be able to trace their whereabouts while they go off to explore and read on their own.
The most distinctive service here may be the push email service, providing tailored information about the newest documents, books and digital content relating to one’s interests. First, though, the member must register his or her occupation or hobbies. “The email service has proven effective for people in need of the latest information,” Cho said. The library is planning to lease some of its space to public organizations lacking storage facilities for books, too.
For those who cannot visit the library to check out books, the library has installed 22 kiosks throughout the city. When a member requests a book online and enters the nearest kiosk, the book will be delivered to the kiosk. The book can be returned at the same kiosk.
“We will start nighttime service next year, staying open until 9 p.m. We are hoping that the library will satisfy government workers, their families as well as ordinary citizens with different needs,” Cho said.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com)