University library rekindles reading habits
University library rekindles reading habits
  • Kim So-jung
  • 승인 2018.10.16 13:01
  • 댓글 0
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Students make use of the free online lecture services offered by university library. Photo provided by Ewha Womans University Library.
Various study groups practice for class presentations, employment interviews and other occasions in the university seminar rooms. Photo provided by Ewha Womans University Library.

With the prevalence of handheld devices and the increasing ease with which we obtain information, reading is no longer soㅜgreatly appreciated by the wider public. In fact, the low reading rate amongst even university students has been pointed to as a serious social problem. Statistics published by the “2018: Year of Reading” organizing committee funded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism show that for most people, peak reading level is reached at the elementary level of education and follows a downward spiral from then onwards. In reaction to this, many universities have taken up the mission to encourage students to read.
Unfortunately, not many students are aware of the myriad opportunities and resources the Ewha Womans University Library has to offer students. Not only that, the library staff at Ewha strive to approach students, via library research education classes, interactive library events, book recommendations and useful study spaces.
One of the biggest weaknesses of many institutionalized libraries is that they are not customized to the needs of the individual reader or student. For a better reading experience, the Ewha library offers personalized service to better aid one’s balanced reading habits. 
“We offer an algorithm-based book profiling system determined by the books you’ve checked out” said Lim Bo-ram, who works at the Ewha ACE Collection Team under the Library Administrative Office.
“It may be explained as an attempt to incorporate the smart guesswork of big data into the reading habits of students.
He further explained that the library is more than just facilities and spaces for group and individual study. 
“Many students are at first astonished by the existence of the audiovisual room, which provides the latest high-quality video repository and which they can access during their free time,” he said.
The library’s services extend to accommodate everybody from the novice reader to the seasoned researcher. The website offers recommended lists, book reviews, and a collection of books donated by the faculty, titled “Ewha Collection.” When students come across problems navigating the library, or have questions, they can also receive help from the many librarians stationed at various points in the central library.
It is not just the traditional paper books and access to academic papers that the school offers. Following the current trend of reading on electronic devices via Kindle, the library also allows the borrowing of up to 100 Crema Sound devices. Video lectures that span expertise ranging from second language courses to computer courses to many more are also available and used heavily by students during the summer and winter breaks.
With such a variety of services at hand, the library does not cease to promote its facilities. In a recent nation-wide university library assessment, it was awarded first prize for circulating original documents. One way that the library reaches out to students is through holding sessions on research methodology. 
“Students feel that the ‘googling’ way of research methodology is upgraded once they learn how compact and extensive are the resources that the Ewha Library website can provide,” Lim said.
Just by learning to navigate the Ewha website, one is more likely to find relevant information. The key however, is not simply having access to a large body of relevant information, but the ability to select the most succinct resources.
The library has been receiving significant financial support thanks to Funding for the Improvement of Library Environment, which allows for renovations of facilities. This has resulted in noticeable improvements in the study room areas. The library’s focus on improving both the form and content of its services is expected to create a positive cycle of increased student interest and more investment in library facilities.

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