“I’ll be waiting for you in the library!” It is common talk to Sookmyungians. From this you could guess that Sookmyungians use Sookmyung Women’s University Library (SMUL) easily and frequently. Also SMUL is making an effort to develop the library to be the place for spending the time in-between classes beyond the place for self-studying. However there are lots of complaints about the library from Sookmyungians. What kinds of effort does SMUL make for professionalism and convenience as the university library? And what kinds of remedies does SMUL plan for Sookmyungians?
How do you use the library?
The purpose of using library is divided into four: students usually go to the library in order to use information from documents, reading rooms, group study rooms, convenient facilities and resting places. SMUL possesses many materials from theses, 976,155 books, 25,515 non-book materials and publications, to ebooks and about 16,000 students per day use the library to develop themselves. Including the main library, there are special libraries such as the music library, the law library, and the leadership library to help get specific information. Also SMUL allows students to borrow books from the library to read them deeply. Anybody who studies in SMU can borrow up to 7 books for 14 days (if you take the course about using library in the internet) and ask for buying new books which are not in the library. Up to five books can be reserved, so if a book already borrowed by someone else is returned, the student who reserved could get the priority to borrow the book. However, because SMUL is used by all Sookmyungians, there is a fee for overdue books to manage the library efficiently. Moreover there are reading rooms for convenient self-studying in the main library and A, B reading rooms in the basement. A reading room is opened around the clock and the main library and B reading room is opened from 9 AM to 10 PM. In the trial period, the opening time can be extended flexibly for Sookmyungians. Also there are two types of lockers for students who want to leave books and personal belongings in the library to come and go easily: the lockers which can store belongings for 24 hours and the locker which can keep them in for one semester only for applicants. Students need rooms in which they can study with others for team projects. SMUL offers the team study rooms for Sookmyungians to engage in free debate without formality and constraint: if you want to use the room, it should be booked 3 days before and you can use it for 2 hours. SMUL provides conveniences as well as places to study. There are scanners, copy machines and printers, not to mention computers. Also, the computers are classified into computers for searching, text editing, and printing out, and it helps students to using them efficiently. Places for resting such as the cafeteria, sofas, and a roof garden make the library a place for more than studying, but a place for spending time inbetween classes in comfort.
Do You Satisfy Your SMUL?
According to the survey by SNOROSE* , 20 percent of Sookmyungians spend their time inbetween
classes at SMUL. Park Jungeun, School of English ‘10, said, “I usually spend the time in-between classes in SMUL. It is good that SMUL promotes a pleasant studying environment and is equipped with a number of comforts.” Some students are also satisfied with the diversity of books as well as the comforts. Kim Jungeun, Division of Business‘10, said, “There are many kinds of books and
theses so I can use them when I do my report. It is good that books about majors, and brandnew
novels are updated quickly.” It is the evidence that SMUL does its best to make a good library, and Sookmyungians are satisfied. Despite all SMUL’s efforts, there were many students who had complaints about SMUL. The number of students who were dissatisfied with SMUL was the highest. Kim, in the Department of Chemistry ‘09, criticized, “It is not easy to have a seat during exam weeks. I think SMUL needs to make more seats. Also the system that the seats in a 24-hour library change every 6 hours has a problem. I think it is inefficient to rotate the seat for every student who wants to use the seats.” Also Ahn, Division of Law ‘09, said, “Every exam week
there are many students who put only a paper to save their seats. It makes me angry. The main library doesn’t have rules to have a seat, so there are many empty seats with nothing but a paper on the desk to save the seats. In my opinion, the main library also needs the rule to have a seat at least duing exam weeks.” As well as reading rooms, there were many complaints about borrowing books. Lim, Department of Public Relations & Advertising ‘10, said, “I can’t get the book which I reserved. If it is the reference book, it would be harder to get the book. I think SMUL needs countermeasures to make students return books at a proper time rather than merelyincreasing the number of books.” Including Lim, many students bemoaned the system of borrowing and returning books, and some students claimed that the late fee should be higher. Students have many complaints about the student’s manners in the library. Hwang, School of English ‘08, said “I think students who eat food in the library need to be severely restricted. Its smell spreads out and the noise bothers others.” The group study rooms also got complaints from students because the rooms are not soundproof so many students are bothered. Some students complained about the books from the library which some students made notes on rudely. There are the rules or penalties for damaging books, but without any enforcement it doesn’t work efficiently. Moreover, there are no rules to penalize for bad manners such as eating and making noise in the library.
How About This?
Then how do other universities cope with these problems? For using reading rooms efficiently, Seoul National University applies two rules to have a seat depending on the period. Seats should be changed every 6 hours during ordinary days, same as SMU. During exam weeks, seats should be changed every 4 hours, to be used by many students fairly. Also the 24-hour library’s seats are assigned every 6 AM to prevent the monopolizing of seats. However, other universities don’t have any rules for main libraries’ seats as well. Libraries’ hours don’t have any difference withother universities except Seoul National University. It opens at 6 AM and closes at 11 PM. It can be used 4 hours longer than ours. Also they offer a night bus for students who study in the library until late at night. This library has a special building which can be used with ordinary people who are not the students of Seoul National University and limiting the age, the library does their best not to bother the students of the university because of it. Other universities also make effort to lend and get back books efficiently. Different from SMUL, Seoul National University and Korea University take 100 won per 1 day for the late fee. Instead of the late fee, Korea University gives a penalty that student who returns books late can’t borrow books for every day they are late. Also the chief librarian controls the borrowing time limit during vacation, so students can read books leisurely. In Seoul University, it has a special return rule, recall. It is the system to press returner to turn in books as soon as possible. The point of this system is that e-mail and SNS are sent by the student who reserved the book. The returner who gets them directly is informed of the limit of
returning and it should be returned until then. Korea University keeps the textbooks on the bookshelf for a semester. It prevents monopolizing the textbooks and references for the lecture in that semester and make students use them fairly. However, for damaging books, there are no innovative plans to prevent it except self-notifying. Different with SMUL, there is the borrowing service for handicapped students in Seoul National University. When handicapped students apply for the service in the Internet, the library delivers books and picks up the books. It helps them use the library without distinction and easily. Other universities also use a variety of methods for keeping comfortable surroundings in their libraries. Yonsei University classifies the group study rooms according to use for minimizing noise. Seminar rooms and presentation rooms are assigned in the floor which is far away from reading rooms so it reduces the noise from group study rooms. They are equipped with computers, 19-inch monitors, and white boards, so it helps students use the rooms efficiently. And there is are penalties to prevent using the library for students who bring foods in library.
Comment about using Library better
Other universities as well as SMUL are making efforts for reducing student complaints. “We will increase the number of students who want to reserve a book from 3 to 99 and the number of bookable books per student from 3 to 5. We will mitigate inconvenience of favorite books by buying 10 books per each kind. Also, we will give detailed consideration to the late fees compared to other universities’. We will hold a campaign about damaged books for arousing students’ attention.” However, most of the complaints were about the manners of students in the library. SMUL won’t depend on students’ consciences for maintaining comfort anymore; SMUL will find the steps themselves for making a more pleasant place to study. The officer of SMUL said, “It is one of the campaigns for making a pleasant library that students who go out for a while leave a paper with the absence message to share the empty seat during absence with other students who don’t have seats during exam week. We will also make the sharing seats board in front of the library, which is used by students who want to save the seat for a long time to share it in the meantime, to use the library efficiently.” In order to resolve the lack of seats, SMUL made another 100 seats for students temporarily in the final exam period. They will hold poster campaigns related to manners in
the library such as eating food and making noise. However it will be useless without Sookmyungians’ effort. Therefore, Sookmyungians themselves need to use the library carefully and be considerate of others. Beyond the campaigns, Sookmyungians must all work to make a better SMUL. “A library is an arboretum.” It is one of the lines in the drama, Mary Is Sleeping Out. It means that the library is filled with books which are made of trees and they make people comfortable and pleasant. However, an arboretum needs to be cared for by spectators as well as the keeper of the arboretum to make a better place with caring trees. SMUL also needs this effort to be a better arboretum. We are other members of SMUL who grow SMUL.