A librarian who is also a library user, library lover, and a former part-time worker at a library, talks about the libraries of today.
- Book Intro
(English) The Librarian Who Ran Away to the Library
The student who ran away from home to the library now goes to work at the library
Most people have probably had an experience in the stormy days of their adolescence of leaving home in anger, though they may not have stayed out for days. The author, too, once an ordinary youth living in South Korea, often stormed out after having a fight with his parents. And where did he go? To the library.
Kim Jiwoo, the author and an incurable library lover, was once something of a fixture at the library and is now working as a librarian. It seems that someone who bolted from home only to go to the library must have been a good student, though somewhat naive. The author himself says in the book, “I was too timid as a youth to be able to say that I really lived, but I wasn’t dead, either.” What he has to tell us about libraries, though, is neither typical nor boring. What do libraries look like today—how different are they from what we picture in our minds without really being aware? In his characteristically pleasant style of writing, the author leads us into a new world of libraries, unknown to us until now.
What exactly does a librarian do?
What kind of work does a librarian do? If you picture a librarian helping people borrow books in the quiet of a reading room, you’re greatly mistaken. If you’ve paid a visit to the library recently, you’re probably aware that a machine takes care of the loaning and returning of books. Then what do librarians actually do?
The author of this book is mostly in charge of matters related to events. He prepares and hosts events held by the library. He contacts authors and readjusts the schedules as appropriate. He even ran a YouTube channel for a while. He creates library mascots and theme songs, and leads the supporters’ activities for college students. He demonstrates that the tasks of a librarian are quite dynamic, far from being static. Through the stories of the author, a current librarian, we can peek into the daily lives of librarians, often seen as nothing more than non-player characters (NPCs, in computer game lingo).
The library is not a place for studying—come to the library to play.
When people talk about their memories of libraries, many recall picking out books from the shelves or sitting down at the tables or desks and studying for an exam. For some, libraries only bring to mind memories of the pains and ordeals of studying. A search of libraries online reveals that the studying environment of a library accounts for a big part of the user experience and evaluation thereof. Libraries have taken on the image of a place for studying. The author, however, emphasizes that a library is a place for fun, not for studying. A library is more user-friendly than any other institution. It’s wide open even on the weekends, to provide the maximum convenience for users through interlibrary connection. In addition, many library personnel have taken an active interest in providing various new services, not just lending books or providing a space for studying. The makerspace, in which users can take part in a diverse range of creative activities using laser cutters, cutting machines, mug presses, and wood burning machines, is one of the major trends in the world of libraries today. How many people are aware that they can make their own toy figures using a 3D printer, or messenger emoticons using a tablet? If you come to see libraries in a different light through this book, how about visiting the library this weekend?
- About the Author
(English) Kim Jiwoo has always loved books since he was a child, and began to dream of becoming a novelist when he was twelve. Though the dream hasn’t yet been realized, he has published four books as a librarian and an author. He enjoys being able to both make a living and seek self-realization through books, and keeps books close at hand. He graduated from the Department of Library and Information Science at Yonsei University, and has served as a member of the subcommittee for the Seoul Book Festival and a member of the Seoul One Library One Book Committee, and received the Mayor’s Commendation for volunteer work for book promotion and the Best Award for People’s Proposal by the National Assembly Library. As a librarian specializing in events, he aspires to take the lead in giving rise to new events that domestic libraries haven’t yet attempted.