SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — Public libraries in South Korea will be implementing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide smarter services designed to meet various demands including job searching, childcare, health, and other needs.
Library facilities will be improved to ensure accessibility for disabled persons, the infirm and military personnel, as well as seniors, pregnant women and families with toddlers.
The libraries will go through a series of renovations to go beyond their original functions to act as a platform for closer engagement among various communities.
The Presidential Committee of Library Information Policy and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism jointly announced the third five-year plan for public libraries on Wednesday.
The new plan upholds inclusiveness, innovation of space, and information democracy as the three core values, based on which it has come up with four strategic objectives, 13 main tasks, and 36 sub-tasks.
The plan aims to add 426 public libraries to the current 1,042 libraries in the country by 2023. The government also plans to build 762 additional mini-libraries to supplement the current 6,058 mini-libraries.
The government is also setting the goal of having 2.5 books available per citizen, expanding from the previous 2.03 books.
“We will duly carry out the task to build public libraries that can accommodate the healthy growth of individuals as well as communities,” said Shin Ki-nam, chairman of the presidential committee.
“At the core of the new plan lies the intent to ensure access for all citizens, regardless of their status,” said Lee Sang-bok, head of the Korea Library Association.
Based on the new plan, libraries will be defined as platforms to educate future civil potential needed to cope with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, offering various programs on humanities, culture, and art.
For those who have difficulties visiting libraries due to limited time and space, public libraries will offer enhanced online information services as well as smart service packages designed to fit the lifestyle of each visitor.
Libraries will develop services based on the studies and demand from visitors, using AI technology to provide effective curation services.
Specialized libraries will offer extended weather, medical, and public information services.
The National Library of Korea will strengthen its function as South Korea’s representative library, while the National Assembly Library will offer extended legislative information services.
The Supreme Court Library of Korea will provide enhanced legal information services.
The new plan will meet service demands in local communities and bolster the role of regional libraries via joint projects with related regional authorities.
The plan will also seek to resolve the inequality of information arising from aging, internationalization, and IT development.
Optimized tools will be developed to measure inequality in each library and education sessions will be held to minimize the information gap.
Cafe and lounges will be installed to ensure availability of space, and will also serve as shelters during natural disasters.
In addition, universal design principles will be applied to all facilities for the convenience of disabled persons, seniors, pregnant women, and families with toddlers.
In terms of service, libraries will connect with social agencies that provide courses on culture/humanities, childcare programs, and employment assistance.
Special services for Koreans residing abroad as well as multicultural families will also be expanded.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)