This summer (winter for Australia) I undertook my Endeavour Executive Awards program at the National Library of Australia. I had been eager to pursue a fellowship program for some time when I applied for this placement through the Australian Government’s Endeavour Executive Awards in May 2008. (I wanted to enrich my knowledge and skills in library science, and also wanted to acquire some experience in a national library setting.)
The Author (front left) with the staff in the Asian Collection at the National Library of Australia (Photo: Hana Kim)
Korean studies librarianship is a highly specialized field, requiring a specific knowledge and skill set. With no formal Korean Studies librarianship training program in existence in library schools, Korean studies librarians tend to be forced to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills through on-the-job training. Working at the University of Toronto’s East Asian Library and being one out of only two Korean Studies librarians in all of Canada, I often feel that I am on my own in performing my job duties. The challenge lies in the fact that most institutions lack the expertise to train their Korean Studies librarians. The rapid growth of Korean collections in recent years has only intensified the need for a training program. This is the reason that I applied for the Endeavour Executive Awards program and fortunately, my proposal was accepted and I was able to take part in an eight-week training program (July 1 to August 21, 2009) at the National Library of Australia in Canberra, Australia.
During this training program, I established several learning objectives: 1) studying digitization project management skills; 2) examining and learning the Asian Collections and Services of the National Library of Australia, focusing on Korean Studies; and 3) learning quality leadership and management skills.
While I was participating in the Awards program, I received numerous orientation and training sessions from the Asian Collections, and the following branches or units/sections: Digitization and Photography Branch, Web Archiving, Integrated Library System Management (ILMS) Unit, Australian Collections Management Branch, Serials Collections Management and Standards, Digital Preservation Section, Reader Services Branch, Preservation Services Branch, Libraries Australia, Australian Research Online, Picture Australia, People Australia.
During my Awards program, I completed an assignment of researching the North Korean Collection at the National Library of Australia and preparing a description and assessment paper on the Collection which will later be used for an introduction page of the North Korean Collection on the National Library’s website. In addition, I gave two presentations to the National Library’s staff on the University of Toronto Library, focusing on the Korean Collection, my role as Korean Studies librarian, and some observations from me on the similarities and differences in Asian studies libraries in Australia and North America.
Also, I had the opportunity to visit the University of Sydney Library, Monash University Library, University of Melbourne Library and the Australian National University Library. By visiting these top university libraries holding Korean Studies collections, I was able to carry out a comparative study of Korean language library services in Australia which provided me with a comprehensive picture of the Korean collections and services in Australia.
The Author (front right) with the staff in the Asian Collections at the ANU Library and the National Library of Australia (Photo: Hana Kim)
My Awards program at the National Library of Australia helped me to develop and strengthen my leadership and management skills which may be applied in the future changes that will be required by East Asian libraries as we proceed into the 21st century.
Furthermore, I was able to gain useful background knowledge on the methodology of digitizing library materials, and related problems such as copyright and metadata issues.
My time spent in Australia was truly an experience I will never forget, and one that would have never been possible without the support of many others. I would like to thank all the staff at the Asian Collections for guiding me and making me feel so welcome, and other branches in the National Library of Australia, as well as very talented East Asian subject librarians in the university libraries I visited for making my visit so wonderful. At the same time, there are a few wonderful people whom I met at my workplace, from whom I learnt much, and with whom I shared many enjoyable times.
Lastly, I am grateful to the Australian Government for providing foreign professionals with the opportunity to learn and experience through their Awards program at hosting organizations in Australia. Thank you very much.