The UOS Times
CultureThe Place
Seoul, and the Library
Hong Sol-eui  |
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[144호] 승인 2017.09.19  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글

Fall is the best season for reading a book. As many people are going through busy routines in a competitive society, they tend to feel tired both physically and mentally. For those people, reading a book is one of the best ways to heal. People can find solutions to human relationships or strengthen their identities through books.
They can sink into the plot of a novel and forget their harsh realities. Libraries, which store quite a number of books, make people able to do all of those things in the unique atmosphere that only libraries can offer. With the role that libraries have in mind, The UOS Times has visited some of the libraries in Seoul that can be accessed easily by the UOS students. Here, we provide a guide to some of the theme libraries of Seoul.

Seoul Metropolitan Library

Seoul Metropolitan Library, which is located next to City Hall, was opened on Oct. 26, 2012. As the new City Hall building was constructed in 2012, the old City Hall was transformed into the Seoul Metropolitan Library. During the remodeling, the external wall, main hall and central stairs were reconstructed to resemble the initial ones, which were built in 1926.

The most impressive structure of this library is a big aisle with stairs between the first and second floors. Here, we could see many people reading books, sitting on the stairs. Bookshelves are placed along the aisle, so people can easily take the books and read them.

As Seoul Metropolitan Library is a public library constructed by Seoul city, it contains a lot of books about the history of Seoul. On the third floor, there are the Seoul Document Collections. This area contains books about the city's culture, history, architecture, and financial plans. The old mayor's office is next to the Seoul Document Collections. It is now utilized as a workplace and conference room, preserved as a remembrance of the old City Hall building. In this section, you can learn about the history of Seoul and the work of past and present mayors.

On the fourth floor, there is a cafeteria and sky garden. People can rest with a book and a cup of coffee while viewing the urban scenery of Seoul in there.

Libraries in a village

In Samcheong-dong, which is famous for its hanok (traditional Korean-style house) village, there are two characteristic libraries. One is the Jeongdok Public Library, and the other is Samcheong-dong Library in a Forest.

Jeongdok Public Library

Along the road in Samcheong-dong hanoak village, there is the Jeongdok Public Library. The Korean term jeongdok means “reading a book considerately”. It was constructed by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and was opened in January 1977.

Jeongdok Public Library is well-known for its beautiful appearance. Simple white walls and a fountain in front of the main entrance make for a spectacular scene, as you can see from the picture below the text. Its appearance is like a scene in a movie, especially a film in the 1980s or '90s. It is also famous as a place to view cherry blossoms in spring.

Jeongdok Public Library consists of three buildings. The first building has libraries for children and teenagers, as well as administrative offices. The second building contains other general libraries, including a language and literature library, digital library, and foreign language library. Books are categorized according to the field which the books deal with. The third building provides a studying area.

Overall, simple and vintage chairs, desks, bookshelves, along with the appearance of the library were providing quiet and still atmosphere. In this library, you can experience a time travel to someday in 1980s or '90s.

Samcheong-dong Library in a Forest

Just a 10-minute walk from the Jeongdok Public Library, there is Samcheong-dong Library in a Forest. This library owes its name to the fact that it is located in the middle of Samcheong-dong Park. It looks like a little cottage, and it was originally a cafeteria, before being remodeled into library. It is a special library for children, because the library holds a variety of childhood educational programs which enhance their knowledge about the environment.

Unlike other libraries, which require visitors to being quiet or forbidding photography, people who use this library can talk or take pictures freely. It is also different from other libraries in that visitors can drink beverages while reading books.

If we sit by the window, we can rest and take in a view of Samcheong-dong Park. People can receive a healing sensation from nature in there!

COEX Starfield Library

COEX Starfield Library is the latest library among the libraries The UOS Times visited. It was opened on May 31, 2017.

There is no door, so visitors can enter and leave anywhere. It is comprised with two floors, which are connected by escalators. Like Samcheong-dong Library in a Forest, talking, photography, and beverages are all permitted while reading books. There are various kinds of seats, such as tables with seats, tiers of seats, and sofas. This variety of seating is one of the reasons why so many people visit and read books here every day.

Bookshelves are the symbol of this library, and they are the most striking structures when we enter this place. Brown, wooden bookshelves surround the walls, shaping curves of the space. Their height, 13 meters, and the electronic display of words on the wall - Byeol Ma-dang Do-seo-gwan (Starfield Library in Korean) - are notable enough to catch the attention of the crowd.

Another feature of the COEX Starfield Library is its business library. The Korean International Trade Association (KITA), which is located next to the COEX building, held a business library, which deals with various books related with trade. Materials about seminars that KITA has held, books about trade, and foreign newspapers about finance are all on display in this part of the library.
At the center of the first floor, there is a stage where celebrities and authors give speeches or lectures every day. Anyone who wants to communicate with them about their books can participate in various programs.

Theme in a Library

Some people may want to gain specialized knowledge from books. Books are very good sources to get expertise about what they want to research. For these people, there are some libraries in Seoul that have books in specific fields. One of the most popular of these libraries is the CGV Cine Library.

CGV Cine Library

The CGV Cine Library is in the Myeong-dong branch of CGV, one of the largest Korean cinema chains. As it is located inside the theater building, the library features many special publications about movie. We could find the books about film theory, masters of film, screenwriting, and continuity of film. Books that are recommended by famous Korean film directors are on display in one corner. Books of other categories are also available to read, and many original novels or cartoons of the films are in the majority.

CGV Cine Library is a good place for people who are interested in film or who are studying cinema. Visitors with a movie ticket of that day can use the library for free.

The value of libraries to society is immeasurable. They are not only places for keeping various kinds of books; they are also places where people can pursue their dreams or rest from bustling lives. The UOS Times hopes that you will be attracted to the many libraries in Seoul after visiting the libraries we recommended. This fall, why not experience the amazement that these libraries and their books can provide?

Hong Sol-eui

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