Where Korean readers meet books (3)
Libraries transform into cultural spaces
Bookstores and libraries globally have been attempting to transform themselves. These locations are no longer places for people to just read or buy books, but spaces where visitors can enjoy culture, various events and take some time to stretch their legs. Reading books is often compared to traveling different worlds and this month's webzine looks at three special libraries that all strive to become cultural spaces with unique themes.
1. Science and books come together at KAOS Bookpark
Jen Campbell, author of Bookshop Story says early on in her book, "Bookstores are time machines, spaceships, story makers, secret keepers, dragon tamers, dream catchers, fact finders and safe places." The author of this article would like to say the following about the bookpark to be introduced. "Bookparks are analog-form spaces consisting of books, bookcases, comfortable lights and cozy chairs."
Those who pass through the glass doors of the doorpark are met with a 24-meter high bookcase that spans from the first floor to the top. The only digital devices that can be found in this location are the book search kiosks. A few taps on the touchscreen yields a long piece of paper, guiding visitors to their book of choice and resembling a ticket into the unknown that is the bookstore. This location has about 75,000 books, making it a place worth journeying.
Science, Knowledge, Share
Reflective of the KAOS Foundation, a leader of the generalization of basic sciences, this bookpark has a separate space for science-related books. Once visitors step within, they can easily be tricked into believing they are inside the room of a science fanatic. Towards one area, there are the 'Darwin' and 'Newton' rooms and at times, these places transform into rooms for small lectures, seminars and performances. One unique point is that science books create the core of this space, but books on painting, photographs and fashion also meld together in a not-so-awkward way.
Being in this room makes me want to read
Two verbs that can describe being inside the bookpark would be 'reading' and 'sitting'. As it is a bookstore, reading books only comes naturally. Once you have a book in hand, you start heading for a place to sit. There are many spaces within the bookpark where one can sit between bookcases and start reading. The spaces seem to tell visitors they will allow no one to just stand while reading, convincing them they are inside a library. The white noise and scent of coffee wafting from every floor within the book park are also welcoming.
● More Info.
＊ Address : Second and third floors of Blue Square 294 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (Hangangjin Station Exit No. 2)
＊ Opening hours : 10:00 ~ 23:00
＊ Website: bookpark.ikaos.org
2. Where movies and books meet, the CGV Cine Library
Myeongdong, a popular shopping district in the heart of Seoul, also has a very special library. The CGV Cine Library is a remodeled movie screening hall and while the attempt to change part of the movie theater into a library is fresh and special, the meaning it carries as a cultural location is also very valuable.
The screen formerly used for showing movies has now been turned into a space for lectures and events. Where moviegoers once sat are now tables and seats for reading and the walls are crowded with bookcases carrying some 10,000 books. Rare magazine and screenplays can be found here, making it a hot location for film aficionados.
A very special library carried inside a movie theater
In order to enter the CGV Cine Library, one must have a valid movie ticket from either the Myeongdong Station CGV or another location just 10 minutes away by foot. Those who are members of Arthouse or have CJ One points can also enter by using them. Passcards are handed out by workers at the counter and all personal items with the exception of cell phones and cameras must be stored in separate lockers prior to entry. This is a rule that has been applied to help visitors focus solely on reading.
Inside, towards the left of the library is the C Zone(Creativity of Cinema) where visitors can find about 5,500 movie-related books including literature, graphic novels, comics and non-fiction. The space is filled with bookcases carrying intriguing books, including those selected by 100 prominent movie-related people. To the right is a special exhibition area along with a bookcase for film-related magazines. At the time of our visit, the exhibition area carried books regarding widely acclaimed Korean film director Chan-wook Park.
The G Zone(Guide to Cinema) showcases roughly 3,000 books on movies, including directors, actors, film reviews, theories, narratives and scenarios. The V Zone which has 1,400 books on art, photographs and interior design also awaits visitors. The comfortable chairs and lighting help readers become immersed in the book of their choice.
The CGV Cine Library is also closely located to Chungmuro, which is a key location known for its relativity to South Korea's film history, like Hollywood is to the United States'. It is very special that a movie-specific library now sits within an area representative of films. One would be advised to fall into a few books at this location in Myeongdong, along with a movie.
▲ The lobby of CGV Myeongdong Station
● More Info.
＊ Address : 10th floor, 123 Toegyero, Jung-gu, Seoul (Myeongdong Station Exit No. 7)
＊ Opening hours: 12:00 ~ 21:00 (Closed every Monday)
＊ Website: www.cgv.co.kr/theaters/?theaterCode=0105
3. Cars and books meet at the Auto Library in Hyundai Motor Studio Seoul
Library of Dreams for Car Maniacs
The Auto Library of Hyundai Motor Studio is a must-visit for people who love cars. The Auto Library, on the second floor of Hyundai Motor Studio Seoul in Apgujeong, has nearly 2,600 books on cars. Not only are there specialized books on cars that experts recommend, but there are also rare books difficult to find in the market as well as limited edition publications, making car maniacs' hearts beat a little faster with each visit.
On the bookshelves lining the walls are specialized books on cars. The Auto Library is a corporate library, but it has a system that is comparable to any public library. On the bookcases are books categorized by history, design, technology and maintenance. Like an actual library, all the books carry specific codes. There are also search kiosks enabling visitors to find books easily among the expansive collection and in the reading areas are book stands and lamps for a comfortable and easy reading experience.
A relaxed cultural space within a busy city
Aside from books related to cars in the Auto Library, visitors can also indulge in books indirectly related to the auto industry, like philosophy, sports, fashion and travel. People who do not know about cars very well are also welcome to come inside and read, feel and experience all about cars. On the same floor is a cafe, where visitors can buy coffee to take with them to a sofa with a book in hand. On the fourth floor of the same building is a Kids Lounge with books for children, as well as paper toys and model cars for children to enjoy.
Like this, the Auto Library of Hyundai Motor Studio is a cultural location where men and women, young and old can come to relax and enjoy the diverse elements the location has to offer.
Visitors can easily create joyful memories through a myriad of experiences including reading auto-related books with their families, loved ones and friends at the Auto Library.
● More Info.
＊ Address : Second floor of Hyundai Motor Studio Seoul, 738 Eonju-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
＊ Opening hours : 09:00 ~ 21:00 (Closed every first Monday of the month)
＊ Website: http://motorstudio.hyundai.com/seoul
Writing, photographs by Ji-hye Gwon, Myung-im Nam and Ha-yeong Choi
Ji-hye Gwon, Myung-im Nam and Ha-yeong Choi