Kyoung-Young Lee, Assistant Manager of the Central Library Electronic Resources Team, helped to write this article. The electronic access system was installed in order to solve security problems. The study rooms are open all day with minimal security. With no one to check who is coming into the library, anyone can gain access even if they are not associated with the university in any way. However, this system was shut down last year due to student complaints and suggestions from the Association to Advance the University because whenever students forgot to bring their ID cards they had to call an assistant in order to enter the library. A few months ago, there were some accidents, so the library administration considered reinstating the electronic access system. Now, a new plan whereby the gates on the first floor are closed at night is being tried. Someday, the system will reinstate a policy where only the basement gate is open with a new security office that will be built. However, there are many other issues that need to be addressed in the near future.
One of the biggest problems is the lack of seats in the study rooms. Specifically during exam periods, all the seats are taken and many students are left with nowhere to sit and study. However, Assistant Manager of the Central Library Electronic Resources Team said "We can't do anything to increase seats, but we have always recognized that there is a lack of seats, so I hope that in the future the university can construct a new building specifically for study." That would be a very good solution in the long term, but one that does nothing to deal with the immediate problem at hand. Another problem is the smoking areas near the entrances. Although signs have been posted stating the areas near the entrances are non-smoking areas many students still smoke there. Students passing by have no choice but to deal with second hand smoke. One possible solution would be for the library to set up smoking rooms out of the library.
There is also a lack of facilities for disabled people. Of course, our Central Library has some facilities for the disabled, but the problem is most people are unaware of them. To make matters worse, even the staff of the library seems to be unaware of many of the services. Other universities like Catholic University of Daegu seem to be much more concerned about being accessible to the disabled, and they run a free pickup and delivery service for them.
There are also issues with the book lending system. Professors can borrow books for up to 180 days, or the length of a semester. However, students can only borrow books up to six weeks. If a professor borrows a book of which the library has only two copies, all the students at YU must share the one remaining copy. Although many universities have a similar book lending system, professors at the Catholic University of Daegu can borrow books for 90 days. Their Central Library also checks the lending status of books so they can buy more copies of any books that are borrowed at a high rate. Our library should look into a ”reserved book” system. In this system the library holds books that are used as university text books or are borrowed at a very high rate as “read in library only” books.
Another problem is the lack of power outlets in the Study Room 1. There are two study rooms, and one of them has seats available that have power outlets, and the other one doesn’t. Therefore, many students who use electronic equipment must use Study Room 2, but this causes increased noise levels in the room with power outlets. The Central Library should set up power outlet seats around area with more comparative noise levels.
There is also a lack of lockers. Most students apply to get lockers, but many students are not able to get them. As a result, some students actually bought and sold lockers in last year. This system was changed to an online system from last semester. The rate of student requests for available lockers before the new system was about 5.4:1, but now it is about 3:1. Now the lobby and Study Rooms 1 and 2 have lockers. The library needs to set up more lockers on the first floor as well as other places.
Finally there is a problem with the hours of operation during vacation. In that period the library reduces its operating hours, and is open from 10:00-16:00. However, students need more access to books because they have more time to read during vacation. In contrast the Medical Library is open from 08:00 to 19:30 during vacation. There are several reasons for the reduction in hours, from labor laws to power conservation, but in the end it is still the students who are inconvenienced.
Many problems go unsolved because there simply is not enough effort to solve them. Of course, one of the biggest reasons why solutions aren’t carried out is cost. Whenever exam time comes around too many students simply can’t find a seat to study in. There is simply no effort being made to solve the problem, so it is a very disappointing situation. Not every problem requires a lot of money to fix, sometimes it just takes some good ideas and a positive attitude.