Island Woman Establishes Noted Public Korean Book Collection

Jae Sun Lee
Jae Sun Lee
Sook Ki Moon
Sook Ki Moon
Yon Oh Jung
Yon Oh Jung

By Marvin Buenconsejo

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It is arguably the largest Korean language book collection, housed in a public library, in the country.

The McCully-Moili'ili Library is home to some 20,000 such books.

It's a collection started by a shy, Honolulu woman, who saw a need.

And filled it.

Nestled, in the makai corner of the library, signs clearly mark the location of the covetted collection.

Those who can read the Korean language say the most impressive aspect of this immense set of books, is its diversity.

''Since this a public library, we don't carry a lot of academic stuff," says Korean collection librarian, Jae Sun Lee. "They're mostly very practical and interesting books because those books we carry here."

And it's all thanks to Honolulu woman, Sook Ki Moon.

As you might imagine, she's a bit media shy, as she possess only a basic grasp of the English language.

But, that's not stopping us from recognizing her work.

''She's kind of like a glue that brings all these people with different skills together and to make them work toward a common cause," says Korean book collection volunteer, Yon Oh Jung. "You can see the results."

The state library continues to have its funding issues.

But, it is offset by the financial driving force of the "Moon Book Club".

At last check, Moon has raised some $55,000 for books.

''The first that comes to my mind is, I can live here, I can live in Hawaii. If it has this many books. In fact, I found a lot of best sellers I couldn't even see in Korea," says Lee. "So, I was so happy to borrow these books."

The written word, provided by Sook Ki Moon.