KAIST has decided to remodel the Main Library, which was built in 1990, starting from March 2017 until March 2018. The school will be expanding its size by building and connecting the Academic and Cultural Creativity Building to the Main Library. The renewal is looking forward to providing up-to-date services for using the library. “Information Commons” will be placed on the first floor where students are free to use smart devices for cooperation projects or team projects. Students will be able to use self-checkout services and multifunction kiosks for reserving seats. For students who enjoy spending time in the Main Library, KAIST is replacing the desks and carrels. The Academic and Cultural Creativity Building will provide spaces mostly for group work by proving an extra 780 seats. KAIST not only decided to improve the usability of the library but also made a wise choice by investing big on building the Academic Creative Culture Building for some extra space. The chairs were uncomfortable and the library did not have enough seats for people to study, do research, relax and read some articles.
All the favor KAIST is providing is appreciated but what many students would have appreciated even more would have been bringing in some additional carrels. For students who find their own rooms inappropriate for studying due to roommates or just prefer to study outside of their rooms, the Undergraduate Branch Library or the Main Library is one of the most popular places for studying. During the exam period, the Main Library is mostly occupied so it becomes difficult for students who have classes and dorms near the the south of campus to go all the way up to the Undergraduate Branch Library to find a place to study. The Undergraduate Branch Library also has numerous issues to solve. Because not all seats in the Undergraduate Branch Library can access a receptacle for charging their laptops or smartphones, some seats are valued over the others. Many students leave their belongings throughout the entire exam period to claim ownership of the seats. Group study rooms have become increasingly harder to reserve. The sound proof is horrible and to make the matters worse, the majority of the clubs that play instruments are nearby.
The Academic Creative Culture Building could have been a solution. The Main Library is located at the center of the campus and would have been a perfect location for students to find a study area for students all around the campus. 780 seats are planned to be added but only 115 are allocated for personal study space compared to an additional 224 seats of sofas for reading books. Though some may argue a library is a place to read books, bringing in twice the number of sofas over carrels is probably not what most of the people who use the library would find appealing. The number of group study rooms is reduced to 10 from 11. New conference rooms and community halls are needed for lectures and seminars but the entire campus has halls and auditoriums for large audiences in almost every departments. Since the whole building is being renewed, improving the soundproof capability, providing receptacles for all carrels so students do not have to fight over “popular” seats would have been a wonderful idea. Though the KAIST Library has already spent a tremendous amount of time for the remodeling, whether they were able to truly see what the students need is questionable.