The college library is one of the few places where every university student has found themselves in at least once during their college life. They might have needed to borrow a book for class, find a place to study, spend time during an awkward free slot in between classes, or rush to the library for a last-minute study session before the exams. For this issue of The KAIST Herald, we interviewed the KAIST library team to find out more about the recent remodeling project that has been going on since the beginning of this year.
Hi, could you briefly describe the current library remodeling project?
The current remodeling project was started to renew almost all aspects of the library, such as its facilities, book stock, and IT infrastructures, which has been in operation for 27 years after its opening in 1990. The current goal is to have the library reopened by March 2018.
Consultations about establishing the basics of the remodeling plan were carried out first in September 2015. Currently, the Academic Information Management Team (AIMT) is in charge of the organization of space, books, and furniture, the operation of the temporary library, and the storage facilities in the Munji campus. The AIMT has been given the task of overseeing any IT-related items and the construction of the new “KAIST Vision Hall”, which is to be located on the first floor of the newly renovated building. Almost everyone is involved in the remodeling project and we keep in close touch with the construction team, purchasing team, and the budget team for a successful remodeling.
Initially, we intended to build a completely new library from scratch to minimize the inconvenience that might arise from construction and in order to maximize library usage. However, due to a shortage in available funds, we had to settle for a remodeling project. The remodeling was done with a budget of 8 million USD. We are also funded by the “Didimdol Campaign” with an amount of 700,000 USD. We intend to make a “Donor’s Wall” on the first floor of the new building. Please come and have a look at the names of the people who made this possible!
What are some of the new features of the library that you would recommend to students?
We would like to recommend the new “Travel Zone” area, which is going to be located on the first floor of the building. Inside the “Travel Zone”, students will be able to use the information system to find the maps of the places they want to visit and other important information they might need while travelling. Please visit the new “Travel Zone” a lot!
Also, we recommend the new “featured books” service. This section is going to display bestsellers from various sections and other recommended books chosen by the librarian. We also plan to keep this section updated on a regular basis so if you are wondering about which books to read, please have a look at our “featured books” section!
What are some things you liked or found hard while working at the library?
As mentioned, the remodeling project aims to not just fix up the old facilities of the Main Library. We want to create new spaces with new purposes and provide services that we had been unable to provide. Therefore, we had to do a lot of investigations on libraries both domestic and abroad, to see and learn how they are changing and adapting. We also tried to find out the reason why some students did not visit the library frequently, so that we could provide services for them too.
The library might seem like a quiet place with little change, but underneath the surface, we try hard to adapt to the rapidly changing world so that we can cater to the needs of our students.
Even now, many KAIST members refer to the Main Library as the “Science Library”, and some might not even be interested in the remodeling project that the library is undergoing. It has always been one of our priorities to advertise the library and shed a positive light on it without spamming people. It is when the students, professors, and workers at KAIST feel satisfied about the library that we feel proud as librarians.
Is there anything you think KAIST students could improve on?
According to the article “RangBonDae” by JoongAng Daily, KAIST is ranked as number one in Korea for the number of borrowed books by university. We are very proud of this fact. After the library gets renewed, we hope that more students will come visit it. Members of KAIST are the true owners of the library and we urge students to let us know if they have any suggestions for improvement.
We hope that you, the members of KAIST, support us, and help us become a library that grows along with our fellow KAISTians.