Friday 21st June 2013 saw the Grand Opening ceremony for the Window on Korea (WoK) collection at the Oriental Institute Library. This is a new collaborative project which sees the Bodleian Libraries liaising with the National Library of Korea, to consolidate our existing Korean collections along with a generous gift of over 3,000 new books on Korean subjects – to be added to by further donations over the next four years – in a newly-refurbished area of the Oriental Institute Library basement. The National Library of Korea also provided some of the funding for the new multimedia seminar room which was built in the basement last summer.
As regular readers of this blog will know, the preparations for this event have been going on for almost a year, beginning last summer with the removal of the Middle East Centre books to the Book Storage Facility so that we could make room for the new seminar room in the basement and re-organise the shelving for the WoK books, which have been arriving at the library since the end of 2012.
A monumental last push took place over the last few weeks, with several members of staff including Dinah Manisty, Dawn Vaux, Angela Arnold and Ha Yea Riley getting as much of the cataloguing and acquisitions work finished as they could, and the Bodleian Porters did a sterling job of moving boxes across Oxford so that OIL staff could make sure that the books were processed and on the shelves ready for the opening.
The Window on Korea collection was officially opened by Mr Kim, Kab Soo (Director of the Korean Culture Centre, UK), and Ms Kim, Nam Sook (Deputy Director, International Cooperation and Public Relations Team, The National Library of Korea). They were welcomed by Deputy Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden and Professor Ian Walmsley, the University’s newly-appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research
Presentations were also given by the Bodleian’s Head of Humanities, James Legg, and Dr James Lewis, University Lecturer on Korean History, whose speech remembered his initial introduction to Korean studies by the then Keeper of Oriental Collections, Dr Adrian Roberts.
The event was well-attended by many staff from the library and the wider Bodleian Oriental Collections,( although your humble blogger was sadly absent due to a prior appointment.) and has been hailed by all as a great success, and a testament to the hard work of Minh Chung and Ha Yea Riley (who dressed in a stunning traditional Korean costume for the event) as well as Angela Arnold and all the Oriental Institute staff who have been preparing for it for the last few months.
As a nice final touch, at the beginning of this week we were delighted to discover that the opening had made the news in Korea!
Acknowledgements: thanks to everyone who sent pictures and words to enable me to write this in absentia, especially Gillian Evison, Ha Yea Riley and Angela Arnold for the photos and Jonathan Acton for his concise account of the speeches! KG