Where Korean readers meet books(2)
Starfield Library - A Library Breaking Walls, Entering the Everyday
The Gangnam area is one of the busiest places in Seoul. The COEX Mall is a location with unique eateries and various shops that lead latest trends. As a comprehensive shopping mall, many Korean couples and families can be found enjoying its services. Amid this hustle and bustle, a library was created. This library was not pushed to a vague corner but rather placed in the middle of the shopping complex, making it even more special. This is the Starfield Library.
A Library in a Shopping Mall
The Starfield Library inside COEX Mall ⓒ http://www.shinsegaeproperty.com
It is not easy to imagine a library snuggled next to shops inside a shopping mall. First of all, the exterior of the Starfield Library fits well with the surrounding stores and does not stick out like a sore thumb. To those wondering what role it plays, they will realize their worries were in vain once they take foot inside the library.
Inside the library are not only people reading books but those resting and looking at their smartphones, people talking to other people drinking coffee and those waiting for others. It is a shade different from conventional libraries. Talking aloud inside the Starfield Library, something that would be frowned upon in an ordinary library, was not a strange event. It is also a library fit for reading entertainment as it plays host to talk shows with authors, poem readings and book concerts. Reading entertainment refers to reading and enjoying culture by doing more than just reading books, like listening to music, or getting work done on laptops while reading.
The aim behind Starfield Library was to help readers enjoy the study of humanities and live fuller lives. It consists of two floors and has roughly 50,000 books, including 400 kinds of magazines from both South Korea and abroad. Books can be freely taken to read inside the library and readers are also free to choose their seating. The "star" in Starfield refers to dreams and "field" means an empty space. Starfield means the library is an open space for visitors about to fulfill their dreams. The Starfield Library is a library providing an open space for those who wish to enjoy humanities and it has found its way to the center of our everyday lives.
Breaking Down Walls, No Doors
A look inside Starfield Library ⓒ http://www.shinsegaeproperty.com (bottom)
Another unique characteristic of the library is that there is no door to the library. As there are no doors, there are no walls either. This sets it apart from other conventional libraries where books are kept inside walls. The entire library is open and is a pathway for other stores inside the shopping mall. It also takes up an expansive space within the shopping mall that passersby need to go through other stores like convenience stores or cafes to reach other parts of the library. Thanks to how open it is, the library is an ideal location to bring together diverse people. It was something done by getting rid of walls and this is the reason why the library has become a meeting ground for other people, rather than a location for just reading books.
The Starfield Library also serves as a place of rest for some. In an attempt to shed itself of the image conventional libraries have, Starfield Library has deployed soft lights here and there to give it more of a private atmosphere for those visiting and it is perfect for those wishing to rest their tired feet with a book, spending as much time as they need.
Free seating space within the Starfield Library
Seating arrangements inside the library are also different from ordinary libraries. Not only are there regular desks where readers sit facing each other, there are round tables where a number of people can sit together in addition to chairs for people visiting alone. Small desks are also available. Due to this arrangement, one is reminded of book cafes when inside the Starfield Library. This design was to reflect the thinking that the library should be a place to enjoy books in addition to reading them. It has also helped visitors see books as something that can take place in their lives naturally by leading them to books while they take some time to rest, rather than heading to a specific location to find books. Starfield Library is a location that has made it possible for visitors to naturally come in close contact with books.
The biggest significance of the Starfield Library is the fact it has been placed right in the center of the shopping mall. Like Goethe said, “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
For those looking to bring music and art closer to their lives, the Starfield Library is a good place to visit.
How to Enjoy Starfield Library
* Information provided by Starfield Library
The Starfield Library features four themes: stopping, emptying, filling and romance. As it seeks to encourage reading entertainment, the library naturally attracts readers because it is a space where people are prompted to stop by, even if they don't want to read. The following are ways to enjoy the Starfield Library, where visitors can take some time in their busy lives to read, rest and recharge.
Space Open Library
The Starfield Library opened in May 2016 thanks to key investments made by Shinsegae Group, and is located in the center of the central plaza inside COEX Mall. It takes up several floors, spanning across roughly 2,810 square meters. The library has a total of around 50,000 books and most of these were acquired through donations.
Books Every 11th of the month is book sharing day
One thing that grabs the interest of visitors who step inside the library is the towering 13-meter high bookcase. The shelves toward the top of the bookcase are empty and these are scheduled to be filled with donated books via book sharing events. The book sharing events are held every 11th of every month. As of now over 20,000 books have been donated, and every month, the library features the names of all who donated books along with the books.
Healing Power outlets and charging stations for use!
Inside the library are tables where people can sit down and read. On the first floor, there are sunken spaces for people to relax and fall into a good book. At every table are power outlets and USB charging stations for users to charge laptops or phones.
Event Enjoyment beyond books! Talk shows with authors, poem readings, book concerts and fashion shows
Recently at the Starfield Library, a library fashion show was held with the theme, 'Book and Fashion Meet'. The unique fashion show and the K-pop show that came along with it were enough to capture the interest of the public. Those wondering about the library's future events can look up upcoming events on the library's website. Visitors can enjoy talk shows with book authors, poem readings and book concerts. At times, exhibitions and performances are held, showing well the library is a comprehensive cultural zone.
☞ Websites :
☞ Opening hours : 10 AM to 10 PM (open year-round)
☞ Location : Central Plaza B1~1F, 159 Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Places around the Starfield Library - Starfield COEX Mall
The COEX Mall where the Starfield Library is located is a comprehensive shopping mall. Once you step out of the library, you can easily find your way to a clothes shop or restaurant. There are many stores inside COEX Mall that lead the latest trends more than any other locations in Seoul. There is also a movie theater and aquarium on the premises, making it a good location for families to visit. Those visiting can easily expand their experiences by checking out cultural and art performances by checking out schedules ahead of time. It is also an ideal location for hot, muggy summer days or wintertime as everything from dining, shopping, cultural experiences can be enjoyed in one location.
(LEFT) Megabox Theater (RIGHT) COEX Aquarium
Starfield COEX Mall website : http://www.coexmall.com/index.do
Traffic directions : Exits 5, 6 from Samseong Station Subway Line No. 2/ Exit 7 from Bongeunsa Station on Subway Line No. 7
Places around the Starfield Library - COEX Exhibit Convention Center
The COEX exhibit and convention centers are mainly used for global exhibits, conferences, performances and conventions. COEX has four exhibit halls that can be divided and operated into 12 halls, and a convention hall that can house 7,000 people at once. It also has 100 conference rooms. In 2015, SM Town was established here, aiding COEX into becoming a culture, business hub. There are many exhibits and performances on a number of themes like the economy, trade, culture and art so those interested are recommended to look at the exhibit schedules before visiting.
A view of the COEX exhibit and convention center, where many conferences and events are held
COEX exhibit convention center website: http://www.coex.co.kr
Written by Hyo-jun Choi