A Korean-Canadian librarian has been named a winner of the Korean Canadian Heritage Award for promoting Korea’s sovereignty over its easternmost islets of Dokdo.
The Korean Canadian Heritage Award Committee said Wednesday that Kim Ha-na, 41, the director at the University of Toronto’s Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, also helped her school build the largest collection of books on Korean studies among universities in Canada.
The annual award is given to outstanding Korean Canadians in various fields. The award ceremony will take place on Nov. 10, in Toronto.
Kim immigrated to Canada after graduating from college in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, in 2001.
She was serving as the head of the Korea section of the Council on East Asian Librarians in North America in 2008 when the U.S. Library of Congress decided to refer to Dokdo by its western name, the Liancourt Rocks, on its Korea-related documents.
Kim sought support from the Korean government to prevent this, calling and writing letters to the Korean Consulate General in Canada, the Korean Embassy in the U.S. as well as the foreign and maritime ministries in Seoul.
She sent a letter under the name of the Union of Korean Librarians to the U.S. Library of Congress as well, claiming that its plan to refer to Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks is not appropriate.
The U.S. Library of Congress finally accepted Kim’s demand and withdrew its initial plan.
Kim was the head of the University of British Columbia’s Asian Library in Vancouver from Sept. 2014 to February 2016.
She was the first Korean to serve as the head of a library on Asian studies in any North American university.