Brigham Young University welcomed a donation of more than 2,200 new Korean books from the Kyobo Life Insurance Company, a Korean enterprise that also owns the largest bookstore in that country.
About 70 people attended a ceremony for the formal presentation of the donation last week in the Asian Collection area of the Harold B. Lee Library.
The five representatives of Kyobo Life who attended the ceremony also presented a gold-plated replica of a rare Shilla dynasty crown representing Korean religion during the 7th Century.
The sizable donation helped fill a void in the library's holdings of Korean volumes. Through the help of Won Wong Ko, an area authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kyobo Life Founder Yong Ho Shin agreed to donate a substantial dollar amount in books to BYU.
Mark Peterson, a BYU professor of Asian and Near Eastern languages, went to Kyobo's bookstore in Seoul and selected 2,259 volumes for the library's Asian collection.
In addition to donating the volumes, Kyobo paid for shipping the books to Provo and also covered some cataloguing costs.
"Our gift is a small one, but there is a lot of love in our hearts for Brigham Young University," said H.D. Chang, Kyobo Life president and CEO.
Shin has been dedicated to literacy and education efforts since he started Kyobo Life in 1958. In addition to winning numerous business and humanitarian awards, he launched a campaign to expand Korea's reading population to 10 million. Under his leadership, Kyobo has also donated millions of books and dollars to universities in the United States and around the world.
"We're particularly grateful for this generous gift because it more than doubles the current size of our Korean collection. It will contribute to students' educational and cultural experience for years to come," said Randy Olsen, BYU University Librarian. "We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship between the library and Kyobo Life Insurance Company."
Writer: Craig Kartchner