What if you were able to find a library in the midst of a shopping mall? There is such a place where an idea like this has come true - Starfield Library in COEX Mall. Constructed in an area of 2,800㎡, this library enables visitors to immerse themselves in books in a casual setting. Over 70,000 books are densely arranged throughout the shelves, the tallest one reaching 13 meters high!
The majority of books are related to literature and the humanities. There are also many books on hobbies and practical knowledge. Here, you can easily find foreign books and magazines that are difficult to find elsewhere within the country. The “Library of Celebrities” that display books of celebrities is a unique section. iPads can also be used to read e-books. Not only can you read books but you can also use your laptop at one of the desks installed around the bookshelves. The only thing you need to do is choose a book you want to read and take a seat. Stations that can be used to look up and locate books are readily available to help you, as well.
At the Starfield Library, it is okay to other things than just read books. There are people who enjoy the calm atmosphere while relaxing or waiting for someone. In the middle of the library, there are works as part of ongoing art projects. You can feel free to look around and appreciate them if you are an art lover. Various events take place here, too, such as meet-and-greets with authors, book concerts, poetry reading, and lectures by celebrities. The place deserves the title of a “book-centered cultural complex” as it has a plethora of programs that are waiting for you to join. Don’t hesitate to try one out.
There is a quiet library at the center of Seoul, the city that always seems to be crowded. It is the “Seoul Metropolitan Library.” First built in 1926 as the Gyeongseong-bu Office Building during the period of Japanese Occupation, the building was later used as Seoul City Hall after the country’s liberation. In 2012, the new building of Seoul City Hall was completed and all departments moved to the new facility. The old building was transformed into a library, which became the Seoul Metropolitan Library.
Seoul Metropolitan Library is noteworthy in that not only does it contain over a hundred years of history in the middle of Seoul, but it also possesses a historical significance for not having been demolished despite it being one of the painful wounds remaining from the Japanese Occupation. Could there be a more special location for a library that links the past and the present and delivers knowledge and wisdom? The building is currently designated as Cultural Heritage no. 52.
Seoul Metropolitan Library contains about 450,000 books categorized under nine themes as well as a range of materials including DVDs, audiobooks, periodicals, and e-books in an area of 18,711 ㎡. Everyone can access books they want to check out and read in the reference room of the library. Entrance is free. That said, you need to be enrolled as a member if you want to use services like borrowing books, reserving books, and gaining access to the archives. To become a member, you should be a registered resident of Seoul, working or studying in Seoul, an overseas Korean living in Seoul or those with an F4 visa, or a registered foreigner.
You may find it intriguing to explore every corner of the Seoul Metropolitan Library because it has been restored to maintain its appearance of 100 years ago. Its facilities and interior design are kept intact so that you can appreciate the architectural style of the time. Be sure to take a tour of the library to get a feel for its unique atmosphere! At the Seoul Archive Culture Hall, containing the stories of Seoul's past, you can view the “Story of the Seoul Plaza with Mr. Gubo,” which is inspired from "A Day in the Life of Gubo the Novelist," a representative work of the novelist Park Tae-won. Aside from the hall, the mayor’s office and the reception room are also kept in their original state.
Seoul Book Bogo is full of secondhand books with discolored pages, and worn-down covers. Transformed from an old warehouse near Sincheon Reservoir, Seoul Book Bogo is the largest used book store in Seoul! Over 30 used book stores joined together to supply used books to every book-lover. Over 120,000 books were collected from the owners who operated their own used book stores, according to their areas of expertise and viewpoints. The bookshelves of the mega used book store, with 1,465 ㎡ of space, are tightly packed with books that were once fondly held by someone else. People can freely take out a book to read and purchase it if they want.
At Seoul Book Bogo, you can also find independent publications that have recently received some spotlight. As many as 2,000 of them with different points of view and opinions are arranged in one corner of the bookstore. Seoul Book Bogo also has plans to purchase an additional 400 books published by indie publishers in collaboration with independent bookstores. Ancient books you can’t easily acquire are hidden as well somewhere within this store. Like playing a treasure-hunt game, you can enjoy Seoul Book Bogo while hunting for rare and appealing books as “Book Bogo” literally means a “book treasure house.”
In addition to this, Seoul Book Bogo hosts the “Independent Publishers’ Market,” where various authors come together to participate. Other reading and publication-related events that were once difficult to gain traction are also continually taking place. If you are interested, keep your eyes on the programs calendar on their website.
What would it be like if there was a place where you can read books as comfortably as at home? This special kind of place is located in Blue Square, the rising star in the Hannam-dong area. Located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Blue Square, Blue Square Book Park is like a massive library open to everyone. Anyone can freely enjoy reading books, purchase ones they want, and find people to have conversations with about books they love. As many as 50,000 books are waiting for readers in the 1168.7 m² of Book Park. What differentiates this bookstore from others is that it is specialized in books regarding the arts and sciences.
The “Book Park Lounge," which opened recently, is ready for those who want to read books in a more cozy and relaxed ambiance. Separate booths for individual readers, recliners, and a premium cafe that serves delicious drip coffee, all support this pleasant environment for visitors’ reading. They can pick from a selection of over 3,000 books that were chosen by publication experts, from bestsellers to much-talked-about pieces. Try reading books with a cup of coffee, lying down on a sofa or secluded in your secret space. A day-pass for the Book Park Lounge (includes entrance fee with a coffee or a beverage) is KRW 9,900 and a monthly pass is KRW 99,000.
For those who want to read in a campus-like setting, check out Jeongdok Public Library.If you walk up the peaceful Samcheong-dong alley, you will find Bukchon Intersection, and then Jeongdok Library on the hill on the right. It is a historic building that was built about 80 years ago, and its antiqueness can be felt everywhere. It is also a place where many people visit to see the scenery surrounding the library which changes from season to season, whether it’s colored with cherry blossoms in the spring or colorful leaves in the fall.
Jeongdok Library has 500,000 books as well as 25,000 non-book materials, allowing visitors to explore a wide range of areas. Spend exploring the bookshelves while looking at the beautiful garden of Jeongdok Library. In addition, at the nearby Seoul Education Museum, affiliated with the library, visitors can see various materials on the history of Korean education on display.