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Book Trip

 

[Korean Libraries with Themes ①]

The Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok,
Poplar Tree Picture Book Library

Children’s Dream Factory Growing with Picture Books under Fully Blossomed Poplar Trees

 

2022.06.07

 

It is no exaggeration to say that Jeonju, the city represented by its old-fashioned Hanok village, is the center of Korean culture. The city embraces diverse cultures and is even called the city of Yehyang (芸郷: a town full of artists). Moreover, as the center of K-content, the city boasts its relish as a place to experience and enjoy the diverse Korean cultures and values. Also, Jeonju has unique libraries under different themes all over the city, stimulating the urge to fill one’s needs for intelligent and cultural experiences. Recently, through urban regeneration projects, old and archaic places are enlivened as creative areas for people to visit as the city widens its horizon as an artistic city. One of the representative places is the Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok, which consists of rooms reserved for creative activities, displays, and culture and arts education facilities. A picture book is the foundation of art education there. The characters are well reflected in the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library, which creates a variety of contents as a multicultural space filled with artistic energy.

 

 

Reborn as a Children’s Dream Factory like a Poplar Tree Blossoms

 

The factory complex in Palbok-dong enjoyed the high time of the manufacturing industry until the early 1990s as a region full of cassette tape factories. The site symbolizes the prosperous era Jeonju enjoyed as an industrial city. However, with the rapid digitalization, cassette tapes disappeared along with history, and so did the factories. A factory that operated briskly during the era was left in ruins for 25 years. Then in 2016, the space was recreated as one that befits Jeonju, the city of Yehyang. The factory was reborn as a space for culture and art where exhibitions, creative arts, and cafes harmonize. In addition, the Picture Book World for young children opened in 2021. The name the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library derives from a poplar tree colony, which blossoms every spring like the way popcorns pop.
The library, which opened in April 2021, owns many different pop-up books. Like its books, the library’s exterior is three-dimensional, like a page from a pop-up book, stimulating children’s curiosity. The library put a wide exhibition table to help visitors freely read pop-up books and enjoy three-dimensional picture books. The library adopted a system that shows videos on how one can read books displayed in acrylic boxes. The books were put into boxes to prevent them from being destroyed. One of the most eye-catching characteristics of the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library is its variable use of space. Rather than limiting children’s activities through rules, the areas lead children to be inspired by books and engage in diverse artistic activities. At regular times, the spaces are used for display and browsing. When there are book-linked programs, the exhibition table is moved to the side to give room for a workshop or stage. The space is made to serve diverse roles based on situations.

 

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The Poplar Tree Picture Book Library Opening Ceremony

 

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Picture book activities - Making Pop-up Books (Left), Building Chairs for Reading (Right)

 

 

There are additional features in the space. To enter the library, one has to cross the container bridge outside the Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok. The overall landscape can be seen at a glance once a person is on the bridge. To let people fill the scenery with their favorite images, the library put coloring postcards which were made through collaboration with the illustrator Nana Kim, who is actively working in Jeonju.

 

The Library Embraces Diversity, like the Way It Owns Various Genres of Picture Books

 

The Poplar Tree Picture Book Library, the library with diverse picture books, aims to be a fun artsy playground disguised as a library. The library wants to become a place where any visitor can feel the charms of picture books. A picture book is an art piece as well as a play toy. Though the size is not big, the library runs exhibitions under themes. It collects relevant books to build its identity as a picture book library. One of the library’s features is its exhibitions. Instead of buying a collection of books and putting them on the bookshelf, the library runs exhibitions under a theme for at least six months. Then, it changes the composition of the space to show new picture books. Themed exhibition is a way to induce curiosity about picture books. To highlight its characteristics, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library builds a list of books to display after consulting with experts from institutions, like the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea, owners of local independent publishers, writers, publishers, book curators, and members of a bookstore network.

 

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The inside of the library

 

Thanks to the hard work of the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library, visitors are delighted with the library for having picture book sections with different languages, Korean books, Bologna world children’s books, Bratislava illustration biennale, and many others. It shows the strong commitment of local institutions to provide joyful experiences to their residents. Especially, visitors highly commend Korean picture books in the library. The books are translated into various languages while reflecting cultures to help show the prowess of Korean picture books and printing culture. In addition, visitors can compare the translated versions in the library with the original version and see how the text changes as it reflects different cultures in the country to be exported.
Also, there are many foreign visitors thanks to the collection of diverse picture books from different countries. Picture books in libraries are understandable without text, which helps people access them without worries as it lowers the language barrier. The visitors range from illiterate children and foreigners to adults who like taking creative views of children. The library became the space where barriers from language and age crumble under picture books.

 

Double the Joy in Reading Books by Organically Combining Books with a Wide Range of Art Genres

 

Another pride of the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library is that the library runs exhibitions throughout the year as a place befitting its location in culture and art space. The exhibition named the Korean Picture Books Loved by the World is held until the end of June. The collection shows both Korean and translated versions of picture books exported to the world and got many visitors. Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea and Jeonju Cultural Foundation co-hosted the event. You can find 154 volumes of 75 editions sorted under different themes exported to France, the US, and Spain. So, consider visiting.
Afterward, the library plans to become a children’s library for art activities using picture books. Picture books’ traits, such as being playful, artistic, and literary, are used in planning programs applicable to toddlers, children, juveniles, and adults. Projects will help create more creative art activities for kids based on the warmth and art provided by the space. Also, the library plans to change exhibition projects so that picture books can organically integrate with a wide range of arts. It will run a program that links an exhibition and diverse arts to make the library more than a place to read books. It aspires to break down barriers and widen the horizon to create a culture and art space where one can experience culture and arts through creative activities.

 

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Exhibition poster that shows collaboration
with the illustrator Nana Kim,
“Korean Picture Books Loved by the World”

 

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Exhibition “Korean Picture Books Loved by the World”

 

Jeonju, the cultural city of books, strengthens its position by building libraries under different themes. Among those libraries, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library plays its full role as a growth plate that helps children grow their emotions and dream big through books. Moreover, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library is a place that promises a prosperous future to children.

 


A short interview with the Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library

1. Are there any tips or beneficial programs for using the Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library?

The Sunny Cafe has a small room for picture books in Building A. You can drink whatever you want at the cafe and read books recommended by the Jeonju bookstore network, the Bookstore Keeper, and picture books sorted under themes.

 

2. Is there anything you would like to show about the Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library?

The pride of our library is a project that links art activities for kids and librarians, the manager of the library. Libraries are not simply operated as facilities. The content filling the space needs continuous care and love. Also, employees in charge of art education manage areas and plan projects, not librarians. This form of operation differentiates the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library from others. In other words, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library boasts art activities for kids linked to projects planned and run by librarians who greet visitors at the library entrance.

 

3. Please tell us more about the pride of a library with differentiated concepts and special services for visitors.

It is hard to find signs that say to be quiet or not run in the library. We hope children visiting the library can find joy in reading picture books, express their impressions freely, and gain artistic inspiration from art activities for kids through picture books. You can sign up for book programs for children on the Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok homepage to join. We hope you visit, rest, play, and be happy at the library!

 

 

The Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok, the Poplar Tree Picture Book Library
Homepage: palbokart.kr
Phone: +82-63-211-0288
Address: 46 Guretdeul 1-gil, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do

 

 

 

 


Written by Kim Young-Ihm

 

kbbok

Kim Young-Ihm

#The Factory of Contemporary Arts in Palbok#Poplar Tree Picture Book Library#Jeonju#Picture Book
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