National Library of Korea’s collection now numbers 10M
The library has come a long way since its initial years in the early 1920s. It traces its roots to the Library of the Japanese Government-General of Korea, which opened in 1923 during Japan’s colonial rule of Korea between 1910 and 1945.
After Japan surrendered to Allied forces and World War II ended in 1945, however, it reopened as the National Library of Korea. That is why it considers this year to be its 70th anniversary, just like most state-run institutions in Korea.
The library is also the 15th in the world to amass a collection of 10 million books, the officials said.
Lim added that although the library has been working on digitalization for the past several years, it is true that progress is slow.
“The biggest hurdle is the cost,” he acknowledged.
Using the Austria-made digitalization robot the library has adopted, it costs about 100,000 won ($91.58) to digitalize just one book, according to Lim. Nonetheless, the library’s budget for digitalization has been slashed this year to 2.1 billion won from last year’s 2.8 billion won, according to insiders.
“We are trying to secure a bigger budget by inserting our digitalization project into the content database initiative led by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning,” an anonymous source within the library said.
So far, the library has digitalized about 456,000 books, about 18 percent of the 2.5 million books it has already cleared the copyright for.
Despite the task ahead, the library has planned a host of events for the coming months in celebration of breaking the 10 million mark, including exhibitions, conferences and musical performances.
BY KIM HYUNG-EUN [email@example.com]