At the time, April 2nd 2001 seemed like any other day in the library. But in hindsight it marked what was to become a major development for our services. On that day, we added the first book in the Korean language to the catalogue. It was a Korean version of St. Augustine’s Confessions, which we purchased to assist the students with their studies in Early Church History.
For several years, this was the only Korean language book in the collection. Then, several years later, following a visit to Korea by the former UTC Principal, Rev. Dr. Sarah Mitchell, we purchased the Korean version of the Interpretation Bible Commentaries. At this stage, we decided we had better place these Korean books together on a small group of shelves.
Our efforts to build a Korean language collection were brought to the attention of Prof. Ross Chambers, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Charles Sturt University and having recognized the importance of this initiative, he allocated a certain amount of funding, each year for five years, to support the development of the collection.
At the end of 2010 we had a collection of 1200 books and subscriptions to 10 Korean theological journals, which regularly impresses visitors from academic institutions in Korea when they visit the Library. They invariably look to see whether we hold their publications!
By early 2013, the collection holds more than 2000 books, over 1500 of which were published between 2000-2013. The collection now represents a wide range of topics and it is used by students undertaking courses as part of their ministerial formation, by Uniting Church ministers enrolled in postgraduate courses as part of their continuing education and also Korean speaking lay people of the Uniting Church.
In the course of 2010 I became increasingly concerned about the fact that we were only displaying all the information in the catalogue record in a translated (English) format. So we embarked on a lengthy journey to explore how we could display multi-lingual (English and Korean) catalogue records. This is involved looking at the catalogues of several theological libraries in America and selecting a new system, whose software supported the inclusion of Korean characters. In this project we were very blessed to have the skills of Phoebe (Dong Suk) Kim, a qualified Library Technician. Over several months we undertook the project to add Korean characters to the catalogue records. As a result, our library catalogue now features Korean text showing titles and authors for all Korean language books. Searches for Korean language books can still be conducted in English or, if you have a Korean keyboard, searches can be done in Korean.
Students can also obtain access to two full-text Korean databases (DBPIa and KISS).