The Korean Collection of the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library at the University of Toronto (UofT) was established in 1979 with a grant from the Korean Traders Scholarship Foundation (now the Foundation for the Support of Korean Studies at UofT). The Foundation also donated 900 Korean books to the Library in 1990. Since 1997, as the first institution in Canada, the Library has participated in the cooperative collection development program of the Korean Collections Consortium of North America funded by the Korea Foundation, Seoul, Korea. More recently, in 2005, South Korean firm, LG Electronics Canada donated $33,000 to the Library for the development of Korean electronic resources not previously available in Canada.
The Korean section houses a wide range of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources related to Korean Studies. In addition, the Korean team selects, organizes, and makes the collection available to users to promote Korea, and to function as a stepping-stone between Korea and not only Canada, but also the entire world.
The Library also acquires materials through exchanges and gifts. It promotes vigorous materials exchange programs with numerous Korean universities and government organizations, including Seoul National University Library, Kyujanggak, National Defence University, the National Institute of Korean History, the National Assembly Library the National Library of Korea and the Academy of Korean Studies.
The Collection primarily supports the teaching and research of the faculty and students in the Korean Studies programs at UofT, but the resources are also available to researchers in Canada and internationally through Interlibrary Loan Services.
The Korean Collections’ strength lies in the humanities and the social sciences with substantial holdings in history, literature, language, philosophy, religion, anthropology and the arts.
Special effort has been undertaken in recent years to strengthen the holding in Korean Christianity, North Korea and Korean women’s studies in order to support the active and rapid growing Korean Studies teaching and research program at the University of Toronto.
As of July 2014, the Library maintains over 65,000 volumes on Korea, including books, serials and audio-visual materials.
The 14-member Korean Collections Consortium of North America, a cooperative collection development program sponsored by the Korea Foundation for the purpose of sharing resources, supports Korean studies teaching and research programs in North America by providing library services to optimize access and use of the Korean studies collections developed through the Consortium. The Consortium materials are loaned free of charge to any Korean studies scholar or student anywhere in North America.
In 1997, the University of Toronto was the first institution in Canada to join the Consortium. As a member of the Consortium, we are responsible for acquiring materials on the following areas:
- Local and regional government
- Military science and history
- Modern literature
- Modern philosophy
- Socialism and communism
- Publications on Koreans in Canada as a whole
- Publications on Korea and Koreans published in Eastern Canada (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)