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2023 International Innovators

Photos of National Central Library's Open Lab Multimedia Center
National Central Library’s Open Lab Multi­media Center includes a DIY studio, for activities like sewing, and music rooms.

Two libraries earned this year’s American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects. The winning entries are the National Central Library (NCL) in Taipei City, Taiwan, and Seoul National University Library (SNUL) in South Korea.

The citations, chosen by the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), were the creation of 2007–2008 ALA President Loriene Roy. The awards recognize exemplary services and projects that draw attention to libraries that are creating positive change, demonstrating sustainability, and providing a model for others.

The winners were honored this year during IRRT’s International Librarians Reception at ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition on June 26.

The deadline for submitting a project for the 2024 Presidential Citations is January 31, 2024. Those interested can visit

Open Lab Multimedia Center | National Central Library Taipei City, Taiwan

In November 2022, NCL debuted its Open Lab Multimedia Center, transforming an old office into an interactive makerspace designed to foster exploration, learning, creation, and communication. Open Lab provides not only books but also emerging technologies and space for creative pursuits. This includes rooms to practice and compose music (an electric piano and drum set are available onsite), film and broadcast studios, and services for hands-on activities like sewing, printmaking, and carpentry.

Open Lab has expanded hours and serves younger patrons compared with NCL’s other facilities. Children ages 6 and older can use Open Lab without an adult, whereas patrons must be 16 years old to use other NCL spaces unsupervised. The site also offers workshops and courses for those looking to hone their skills. Recent classes have covered subjects including 3D printing and leather engraving.

LikeSNU | Seoul National University Library, South Korea

An ongoing project since 2022, the LikeSNU information services platform developed by SNUL uses big data analysis to create optimized functions for individuals and fields of study across the university.

A Knowledge Map of popular books in Seoul National University Library’s collection, created by the LikeSNU information services platform.
A Knowledge Map of popular books in Seoul National University Library’s collection, created by the LikeSNU information services platform.

LikeSNU collects and connects university data—such as the 2.5 million library checkouts from 60,000 people over the past decade, biblio­graphic information of SNUL’s collections, and university-produced materials like dissertations, course enrollment histories, and syllabi—to examine and determine meaningful correlations. The goal is to create better learning and research opportunities for professors, students, scholars, and locals who use the library.

LikeSNU’s main service features include a Knowledge Map, which allows members to see trends related to library usage within their academic disciplines; a Knowledge Telescope, which generates personalized book recommendations using algorithms; and a Knowledge Compass, which provides a personalized dashboard of members’ own library usage statistics to help them plan future research. Since launching the project, SNUL has reported a significant increase in books borrowed and book borrowers.

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