The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced its 2nd five year plan on March 20. According to the plan, a total of 80 billion won will be invested in improving university libraries by 2018. With the plan, the MOE aims to enhance teaching and learning support by university libraries and strengthen librarians’ competence.
The 1st university library five year plan was carried out from 2009 until last year. However, it was revealed that university libraries in Korea still lacks in information infrastructure compared to those of overseas university libraries, and the inequality of education and research environment has been aggravated due to the academic information gap between universities.
For example, the total number of books contained in Korea universities libraries amounted to 650,000, which is only one third of the number of books in the United States (U.S.) university libraries and also the number of library staff were on average 12 in Korea whereas 119 in the U.S. The 2nd university library 5 year plan has been therefore organized to improve these unsolved problems under four major categories. Firstly, the MOE plans to transform the role and functions of university libraries into complex cultural space and implement an integrated service for education and research of universities. In order to do so, teaching and learning support from university library will be reinforced, integrated information resources management will be provided between universities and the librarian competency will be strengthened.
The goal is to alleviate the gap between universities and researchers by expanding the accessibility on overseas academic resoure and the center of foreign papers resources. The MOE announced its plan to promote communal usage by operating the center of foreign papers business more efficiently and stably and also expand the accessiblity to excelling overseas academic DB to the maximum of 40 from previous 22. Also, it plans to expand regional society education and culture and improve service accessibility for those who are not able to obtain much information by opening up the university library facilities and data. It will also stimulate academic information resources usage in university libraries by activating the collaboration between university libraries and outside institutes, such as companies and regional society.
Furthermore, it will strengthen libraries’ role and establish a base for maturation that has a virtuous cycle through systematic evaluation for improvement on the relevant law on university library. It will set university library standard through university library law and seek improvement on university library by arranging standard for evaluating university library on its accomplishments according to each university’s specialty.
“Compared to the former plan, the second plan focuses on establishing a law to promote university libraries,” said Lee Gyu-yeoul, an official of Academic Research Affairs Dvivision. “Through such changes it is expected that not only the government will invest more to increase the number of books and faculty, but universities themselves will also strive for achieving better the conditions of their libraries.”