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Library chief who visited 300 overseas libraries at her own expense  

Library chief who visited 300 overseas libraries at her own expense  

Posted November. 04, 2020 07:41,   

Updated November. 04, 2020 07:41


Dogok Information Culture Library Chief Cho Geum-ju (52) visited more than 300 libraries across the world. She was busy looking up libraries rather than sightseeing spots whenever she travelled. “I was eager to spread the merits of overseas libraries to Korean librarians,” Cho said. She recently published “World’s Libraries that Thrilled Me,” which introduces library cultures of the world.

Before taking office as the library chief in April 2017, Cho visited libraries in the U.S., Europe and Asia. She continued to visit libraries around the world by taking several days off near national holidays before COVID-19 broke out.  

She visited many fascinating libraries including one in Japan that had a disaster information system, a Taiwanese library that minimized environmental destruction and a Chinese library that was larger than a shopping complex, but the most memorable libraries were those in the U.S. and Europe that had “Youth Media” room. It is a cultural space that has facilities for the youth aged from 10 to 15.

The Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook, Illinois, provides video and audio equipment to encourage creative activities, and the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago provides a room for band practice instead of urging visitors to stay quiet. Meanwhile, library users can cook and even sleep at Biblo Tøyen Library in Norway.  

“My library trips gave me a goal to create a space for the youth in Korean libraries,” Cho said. When she visited American libraries and introduced herself as the chief of “the most representative library in Gangnam,” librarians gave her a hearty welcome thinking that she was from a luxury library in Gangnam thanks to Psy’s popular song “Gangnam Style.”

Go-Ya Choi best@donga.com