April 20, 2018

At IFLA’s Library and Information “Olympics,” South Korea Goes for the Gold

By LJ Staff

For just the third time, the annual World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) was being held in an Asian country, Seoul, South Korea. And according to the English-language Korea Times, which described the five-day event last week as a "library and information Olympics," the Koreans are hoping to bring home some gold. "While we may have fallen behind in the era of analog library, we can lead the world if we could combine our strong IT infrastructure with libraries," Han Sang-wan, executive chair of the Seoul organizing committee and president of the Korean Library Association, told reporters. Korean library officials said they hoped the conference would help raise awareness of library conditions in the country and lead to support for upgraded facilities. South Korea had one public library per 94,000 people as of last year. Comparatively, Korean officials noted, Germany has one library for every 9000 residents, the United States one for every 30,000, and Japan one for every 48,000. The conference included more than 3000 library leaders from 150 companies.