A nucleus Korean language collection was formed during the Second World War years as an outgrowth of the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program for Korean language instruction. Built on that foundation, the collection has since become the second largest among universities in North America running parallel with the very active Korean program at University of Washington, which boasts one of the oldest programs in the States.
The Collection's strength lies in the humanities and the social sciences with substantial holdings in history, literature, language, folklore, religion, politics, arts, and East Asia studies. As a member of the Korean Collection Consortium of North America, the collection has further developed in the subject areas such as Korean women's studies, gender and family relations, modern Korean poetry, Kyongsang-do regional materials including Tok island, tourism and materials on Korea published in the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to numerous online databases on Korea, the Library's Korean language holdings, as of June, 2012, include 105,388 volumes; around 798 current serials titles; 1,700 microfilm and microfiche; over 400 audio visual materials. These resources are supported by a collection of secondary materials in Western languages.
The Library's collections primarily support the teaching and research of the faculty and students in the Korean studies programs at University of Washington, but the resources are available to, and well utilized by researchers in the Pacific Northwest area as well as scholars throughout the nation via interlibrary loan service.