Libraries in Seoul

Authored by:
Federica P.

Federica P.

Hello friends,

as I previously told you, during my first week in Seoul one of the first things I did was to go visit the most famous and beautiful libraries. For now, I went to Book Park, Arc N Book in Sinchon, and the Coex Mall Starfield Library. So I will tell you a little about my thoughts as well as which one was my favorite.

Since I was little, I’ve always loved reading and going to bookstores. My mum would take my brother and me so that we could learn about the reading culture. One of the nicest memories I have is going to the bookshop in the town where I go during summer and spend hours choosing a book, especially during rainy days. 

I really have to thanks my mum because I still like reading, and I prefer purchasing an actual book istead of reading on kindles or iPads as everyone is doing these days. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a choice when traveling as I don’t usually have much space in my suitcase, but at least I can read. Leaf through pages of books, smell the perfume of it as well as being able to see its cover or knowing how much you’ve read and have left it is something irreplaceable.

Now you know why the libraries were my firsts visiting spots. Even if most books are in Korean, the experience of going to a bookstore is always amazing. Besides here in Seoul, they are all big and look spectacular. They’re usually organized on different floors, and the books are showcased on different shelves that reach the ceiling. That made me wonder how tall the stairs to get to those books must be.

Book Park was the first one I went to, I hadn’t look at any pictures, so I had no expectations. I liked the design of it as well as the fact that it had a reading area and a café where you can enjoy your book. It was divided into different floors. But unfortunately, most books were in Korean.

The same day, I also went to Arc N Book in Sinchon. If I have to be honest it is my favorite so far. It is on the last floor of a building with other shops in it and it is close to my dorm at Yonsei University. The view is amazing and they sell books in English and other languages too. I even found “Le Petite Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in the original language. There is a really nice café with a lot of sitting places that look toward the windows with a beautiful view of the city. I cannot wait to go study there and try their cappuccino.

The day after, thanks to a CIEE activity, I actually ended up at the Coex Mall. I did see some photos before getting there and I am sad to say that I was a bit disappointed. It was a really nice library, but I expected it to be bigger. Besides there were so many people passing through as it is the middle of a Mall, so it did not really give me those library vibes. But I was still happy I visited it. 

Something I noticed is that all those bookstores are amazing inside but the building from the outside is plain and not interesting. Most of them are just buildings or they kinda look like containers, so thinking that the library is inside was unusual for me. I have to specify that I’m from Italy so most buildings are old and pretty so they build shops inside those.

Another interesting thing I observed is that, even if the bookshop is big, it does not have its own building. They are just a part of a shopping mall, they share the space with other stores, or Book Park even had a theater/concert space on the first floor. That is cool because you can do more things at once, but in the case of the Coex Mall, it made it a bit too crowded.

I have a few more bookstores I would love to visit. But I’m looking forward to going to the Arc N Book in City Hall. So I believe that is going to be my next spot and I already found some friends who want to come with me. 

So stay tuned for updates and my thoughts on all the places I’ll be going to in the next months.

Hope you enjoyed it, until next time

Ica

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