As the final examinations are drawing nearer, more and more Kingos are visiting libraries to study for their exams and to tie up the goals they made at the beginning of the semester. During every exam period, several issues regarding the library reading rooms become more problematic due to a boom in the number of library users. Accordingly, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) will explain problems associated with the library reading rooms of both the Humanities and Social Science and Natural Science Campuses. Furthermore, the SKT will seek ways as to how our libraries should move forward.
Kingos’ Studying Companion, Library Reading Rooms
Central Library on the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus
The Central Library has five floors. Students generally use the first floor to the fourth floor, and the fifth floor is for professors’ offices. The opening hours are the same on normal weekdays as they are during the exam period. To use reading rooms, students must reserve their seats through the library application or the kiosks in the Central Library.
Samsung Library on the Natural Sciences Campus
Samsung Library has nine floors from the second basement floor (B2) to the seventh floor. B2 is used as a stack room, and the sixth floor is for offices; students normally use the library from B1 to the fifth floor. From the second floor to the fourth floor, there are many seminar rooms and study rooms in which students can freely use for team projects or discussions. The methods of reservation for the reading rooms are identical to Central Library; students have to reserve the seats through the library application or kiosk.
Problems Surrounding Library Reading Rooms
The SKT conducted an online survey for one week from May 7th to 13th to gather students’ opinions on the usage of library reading rooms. 255 Kinogs answered the questionnaire: 150 students were from the Humanities and Social Science Campus, and 105 students were from the Natural Science Campus. Based on the results of the survey, the SKT classified four of the students’ complaints on the usage of library reading rooms.
1. Seat Privatization
The term ‘seat privatization’ refers to occupying a seat even when one is not physically sitting in the seat. Since more Kingos use reading rooms to study during the exam period, there are not enough seats for all the Kingos. Moreover, some Kingos not using the seats that they have reserved makes the seat shortage problem even worse. According to the survey, 49% of the Humanities and Social Science Campus respondents and 54% of the Natural Science Campus respondents claimed that seat privatization is a problem of using reading rooms during the exam period. In the Samsung Library, when Kingos who reserve a library seat are away from the library for more than one hour, their seat is automatically returned. Since there is no entrance barrier unlike in the Central Library, Kingos can stay outside of the library for more than one hour without tagging their student identification (ID) card at the entrance gate. Even if they do not tag their student ID card, they are free from any restrictions. Therefore, many Kingos do not tag their ID cards before going outside of the library.
|Opened Entrance Gate in the Samsung Library|
2. Air Circulation
In the Central Library’s reading rooms, there is a total of four air purifiers and air conditioning equipment for air cleaning and circulation. As reading rooms are packed with a number of Kingos during the exam period, however, the air circulation has inevitably been an issue among Kingos. Both the Central Library and Samsung Library have difficulties with natural air circulation in reading rooms because of structural limitations. 75% of the respondents on the Humanities and Social Science Campus and 68% of the Natural Science Campus respondents agreed with the air circulation problem.
3. Security During All-night Study
|Entrance Gate to Reading Rooms in the Central Library|
In the Central Library, the reading rooms 1, 2, and 3 located on the first floor of the library operate around the clock. During the nighttime, Kingos must tag their student ID cards both on the outside door, and the entrance gate inside the library to enter the reading room. However, since only a few students study in reading rooms late at night time without a gate-keeper and with the library entrance gate often opened, some students are concerned about the security of the reading rooms during these hours. According to the survey, among the students who have pulled an allnighter in the library, about 5% of the students felt that the reading rooms are “very dangerous” at night time and 20% of the students responded “dangerous”. Also, in the case of Samsung Library, 30% of the respondents who said that an opened entrance gate is problematic claimed that the gate is vulnerable to security issues.
4. Noise Issue
Both the Central Library and Samsung Library have noise issues in the reading rooms. In the Central Library, students using the seats near the gate can easily hear noises outside of the reading room. Also, the Samsung Library has open architecture where reading rooms F and G are connected with the library aisles without any barriers, which makes students easily exposed to noises made from outside of the reading rooms.
|The 4th floor reading room is exposed to noise due to open architecturein the Samsung Library.|
Resolving the Reading Room Issues for All Kingos
1. Solutions for Seat Privatization
The Central and Samsung Library Student Committees are trying to solve this problem regarding seat privatization. They promote a campaign to prevent seat privatization. The slogan of the campaign says, “Make sure to issue a seat before you use it.” Also, the committee is operating a desk that keeps belongings from the unreserved seats for a while. If the owner does not take their belongings, they get rid of them. While the committees have been striving to solve this problem, Kingos have low recognition of the committees’ actions, which made this problem lasting. Therefore, improving the Kingos’ awareness of the committees’ activities could be a suitable way to solve the long-lasting problem that makes Kingos feel uncomfortable. In the Samsung Library, when a student reserves a seat, the seat reservation system allocates a time until the closing time of the library, which makes the seat privatization problem worse. To solve the problem, the Samsung Library can introduce a time-limited system like the Central Library. Moreover, the installation of a gate barrier may solve the drawback of going outside of the library without tagging a student ID card.
2. Improvement of Air Purifier System
Reading rooms 1, 2 and 3 in the Central Library and reading rooms A, B, C and D located on the basement floor in the Samsung Library have ventilation problems. As the survey result showed, most of the Kingos on both campuses claim air quality problems, and so the air ventilation systems should be upgraded. In the case of Central Library, by contacting the Facility Management Officer, the SKT figured out the air purifying facilities do not work at night. Therefore, the library assured that they would turn on the air conditioning equipment at night for the upcoming final exam to resolve this problem.
3. Entrance Security Enhancement of the Central Library
Currently, there are two Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems in operation at the outer entrance of the Central Library with no blind spots. At night, there is a doubletagging gate system on the way to enter the reading room. Although the excellent security system is in action, the crisis results from some students not closing the outer door. Therefore, Kingos who enter the gate should shut the door completely to keep the library secure. Promoting a campaign to encourage Kingos to close the door completely can enhance their consciousness.
4. Promoting an Etiquette Campaign for the Resolving Noise Issue
The noise problem has been known for a longer time than other problems; thus, conducting a noise reduction campaign of the committees on both campuses may be a breakthrough for soothing the problem. It could help Kingos realize that their voices can be disturbing to the students studying in the reading rooms. If Kingos participate in this campaign actively, and take action accordingly, such as talking quietly, and reducing the noise of their footsteps, it will have an enormous effect on resolving the noise issue.
The libraries are the spaces in which Kingos spend a lot of time reading books and studying. There are still plenty of problems that should be solved in both the Central Library and Samsung Library. In particular, during the exam period, many problems have shown up as many Kingos visit the library to study. If these problems are alleviated, the libraries will be a more pleasant and secure cradle of knowledge for all Kingos.
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