Sarah Park

Sarah Park

Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science

From: Los Angeles, California.
St. Kate’s courses: Children’s and young adult literature, social justice, web design and library and information science

Contact: spark@stkate.edu

Why study the information-seeking behaviors of adopted Koreans?
“Information-seeking behavior is a library science concept regarding the strategies that people employ in searching for information. Some people look for recipes; others look for genealogy records. But I haven’t come across anyone studying information-seeking with regards to Korean adoptees.”

When was her interest sparked?
Park’s interest in Korean adoptees and their experiences started in 2002, when she had a classmate who was an adopted Korean. Through their friendship, Park learned that a birth search — finding out answers about their past — wasn't the easiest thing to do.

On her Korean ties:
Park speaks fluent Korean and is not adopted. She was born in Seoul, and moved to Los Angeles with her Korean parents when she was four months old. She has been to Korea more than 10 times. Her grandparents live in Cheong-Ju, two hours south of Seoul, and most of her relatives reside in the suburbs of the capital city.

On adoption in Korea:
“What began as a war relief effort for orphaned or abandoned biracial children has turned into a convenient ‘solution’ for unplanned pregnancies. More than 95 percent of children who are sent away for adoption were born of single, unwed mothers who have very little social support. People would tell them it was impossible to remarry and their child would be made fun of at school. There is a lot of activism happening in Korea now to raise awareness around this issue, so things are slowly beginning to change.”

What are some of her research methods?
Park is interviewing adopted Koreans about their search experiences. She is also analyzing memoirs and documentaries, and she’s taking a closer look at the adoption policies and culture of adoption and information access in Korea and the United States.

On her goals:
“Adopted Koreans are already sharing strategies and employing innovative search tactics, and I hope to paint a picture of the information-seeking behaviors of this unique group. I also want to develop a model to aid in their search — something that might also be applied to other adopted communities.”