중앙데일리

Citizens taking ‘free books’ too far

Jan 14,2009
Teenagers browse through the empty bookshelves at Daejeon City Hall Subway Station on Sunday. By Kim Seong-tae

There are two bookshelves near the ticket gates inside Daejeon City Hall Subway Station, located in Dunsan, western Daejeon, from which citizens can freely take books to read, with the understanding that they will be returned. Today, the shelves mostly carry dust.

As part of the “Library for Citizens” program launched at subway stations across Daejeon in April 2007, Daejeon Express Transit Corporation stocked bookshelves with 800 books. In less than two years, acquisitive readers have cleaned them out. Only 30 or so books remain.

The situation is apparent with the library’s near-empty bookshelves at the city’s subway stations.

When the second stage of construction on Daejeon’s subway line No. 1 was completed, the transit authority provided 22 subway stations with about 30,000 books that had been mainly donated by citizens. Whenever books went missing, the authority restocked them.

It was an uphill battle.

So far, the authority has added some 66,000 books. However, there are only 6,000 books left; 90,000 books have vanished.

When the value of recyclable paper shot up last July, about 2,000 books went missing every day.

“There were some citizens who were caught taking a bunch of books in a bag with the intention of selling them to make some money,” said Kim Yong-deok, head of the authority’s public relations team.

Faced with rampant pilfering, the transit authority plans to launch a campaign to restore books for the library. To add muscle to the effort, the authority will place teams at each station to impress upon would-be petty thieves the need to keep public property public. The teams will meet once a month starting in February. About 500 people, including transit officials, civic groups and citizens, are expected to participate.

Labels reading, “These books are public property of Daejeon citizens. Let’s be conscientious and make sure that books are returned after reading,” will also be attached to all books, the authority added. To aid the consciousness-raising effort, the transit authority plans to set up separate boxes beside the shelves to hold returned books.



By Seo Hyung-sik JoongAng Ilbo [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장