History of National Library of Korea through Photography
The National Library of Korea(NLK) has a 100-year-long history from the Library of Joseon Government-General of Korea in Sogong-dong(소공동) in 1923; to Namsan(남산) Library from 1974 to 1987; and to the National Library of Korea in Banpo-dong since 1988. Its century-long history is presented through the following pictures.
A photograph holds much more time than thoughts and more stories as well. It, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the photograph tells us all the stories, replacing a great number of others. That’s because history holds much more events which haven’t been or couldn’t be described than those which have already been described, By the same token, there exist much more photographs than those on display here as only part of them are presented by choice.
So, we tried to stick to a rule of passing on earlier cultures or ideas without adding anything new. But, however we may try, we could hardly free ourselves from subjective judgments and we fear history. And thus, what it matters is our endeavor by which we, so far from excluding each other in narratives, tracing the meaning of a photograph neutrally and based on the description of materials by focusing, on history alone if possible,
The pictures of the Library of Joseon Government-General of Korea are bound into a photograph package and it is well described in government bulletins such as “MoonHeonBoGuk” (문헌보국) and “The History of National Library of Korea” (국립중앙도서관사, 1973). We, however, feel the lack of photographic archives in a systematic way covering both volumes of the 60-Year-History of National Library of Korea“ and ”the 70-Year-History of the National Library of Korea. Though the period of Japanese colonial rule may be regarded as the result of the nationalistic bureaucratic system with a centralized management style. it is regrettable and deplorable that we have so far witnessed little or no systematic approach to archiving history data including photographs even if it took a great deal of time for the NLK to recover its place as the national library since the Korean liberation from the Japanese colonial rule.
It is fortunate that our endeavor finally helped us to look back on the history of NLK and it is now our mission to unearth and restore the history which remains hidden with state-of-the-art technology. There is no history without human beings. Ruminating on the NLK history, we realize how much sweat and tears many predecessors and senior colleagues have had to shed for the NLK. We would like to express our due respect to them. Besides, it is hoped that a casual walk through history through the photograph collection helps you open a new chapter in history wisely.