An Oasis for the Reader in Us All
An Oasis for the Reader in Us All
  • Raymond Close
  • 승인 2012.04.11 19:39
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Postechians, by nature and necessity, are readers, and English readers at that. Whatever your position here, you probably spend a good portion of your life working your way through textbooks, journal articles or even student assignments. English reading is a big part of our work lives, so we sometimes start to feel that reading is the same thing as working. I think, however, that a lot of us are also lovers of reading. Sure, we have to read some things, but we know the exquisite pleasure of escaping between the covers of a great read, too. The pure escapism of fantasy, romance or mystery novels is wonderful, but so is the joy of learning something purely because it fascinates us. Moreover, we know that English is an important skill that we should continually develop. Thus, an interesting book is simultaneously an escape and an investment. It’s like that ideal fantasy food: it’s both good and good for you!
Here’s the problem, though. Readers need books, which can be expensive and difficult to obtain. Of course, there are websites you can order from, but nothing beats the feeling of walking into a room packed full of books with an open mind and no clear objective. Just as the brick-and-mortar bookstore will never be replaced by Amazon or Kyobo’s online site, there will always be a place for libraries, big and small. An unread book is a good thing, the possibility of new thoughts and imagined adventures, so a room full of books waiting to be read? That’s something to be treasured. Our university is not deficient in terms of libraries, either. The Tae-Joon Park Digital Library is marvelous for the student and the researcher. But it does not always satisfy the book-lover’s soul.   
These days, between student assignments and proofreading work, I’ve been reading two good books: The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt and Glory Road by Robert Heinlein. One is a fascinating intelligent account of how the modern era of scientific and technological development began, a melding of history and drama. The other is absolutely mindless fun. Both are good, but really quite different, and I like it like that. Always reading the same kind of thing is quite boring, isn’t it? As I’ve been reading these books, it has occurred to me that our university is now much better equipped to serve the diverse needs of readers than it was just a few years ago. While technology is undoubtedly part of this, the main change has been the establishment and growth of the POSLEC English Library.
The POSLEC Library is located on the fourth floor on the Mu Eun-jae Building (room 431). Visitors first entering the room will be struck by the density of the place. All the walls are lined with shelves, more shelves fill the center of the room, and our poor English department jo-kyo is pushed over into one corner by all these books. And it is quite an impressive and diverse collection of books. 
Years ago, when the library was first started, the majority of titles were books chosen for use in the English program, with the focus on providing a wide selection of easy titles to help strengthen our younger students’ reading abilities. Those are still good, valuable books and we still keep a large selection of them to serve our students. Students need the experience of reading comfortable books as opposed to just doing “study-reading”.  Those are totally different activities, with different sets of benefits, but this shouldn’t be an essay about learning English. Sorry about that. I’m here to talk about books.
Our campus has a diverse population, so the library has been steadily expanded.  Now there are plenty of titles that will interest any Postechian. Some statistics will show this clearly: The library currently has 2315 unique titles available. While 868 of those titles are graded readers, the majority (1361) are “authentic texts”, i.e., they are the original versions of books as read in English-speaking countries. Moreover, the range of levels in the authentic books is quite wide. Some are easier young-adult fiction, some are popular fiction, and some are quite high-level texts. The two highest levels total 582 titles, quite a large selection if you ask me.
The library also has quite a few audio books available, and many are easily accessible through the idisk software. Just join the English Library club and you can conveniently listen to hundreds of titles, ranging from the Twilight saga to Obama’s The Audacity of Hope.
The total number of books isn’t really the most impressive thing, however. Dr. Kwon Su-ok, who has overseen the establishment and growth of the library, has done a remarkable job of selecting a diverse range of genres and levels. Those two books I’m reading? One is academic, historical and sociological. The other is playful escapist fantasy. But maybe that’s not what you are looking for.
Maybe you want literature classics. Check. Maybe you want cheesy romance novels. Check. Maybe you want Economics, maybe you want Freakonomics. Check, and check. Have you read anything by Malcolm Gladwell? If not, you should, and our library can provide his works for you.  Did you like the Twilight movies? Read the books! Are you planning to watch The Hunger Games? Read it first. That’s the way it should be done. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy has attracted a lot of attention recently; come and check out all three volumes. Or, maybe, just maybe, you are ready to try the magical realism in an African voice of Ndedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death. Reading can open new worlds for us.
   My point is that, whatever your reading interest, whether it is Pride and Prejudice or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a stop at the POSLEC Library is likely to reward you with an interesting title that just might make your life a bit better. Now, get back to reading that journal article!