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[Beautiful Library in Korea ④]

Goyang Aram Nuri Library

Intellectual and Artistic Inspiration Created in a Pile of Books

 

2022.05.02

 

Ilsan-gu, Goyang-si, one of the 1st generation of New Towns in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, was conceived and developed as a planned city and has constantly improved over time. In particular, Ilsan Lake Park is considered an important element of most Ilsan residents' everyday lives. They frequent the park for various exhibitions and events, and for picnics and strolls. In addition, Ilsan boasts a convenient and rich residential infrastructure, exhibiting diverse cultural aspects. Ilsan is also home to artists from different fields, including writers, and is packed with libraries and spaces for promoting culture and art. Of special note, libraries that feature unique local characteristics can be found easily across the district. Hence, the residents, wherever they live, can find one without trouble to read books and enjoy an array of programs. At the center of those libraries is the Goyang Aram Nuri Library. Located adjacent to the Aram Theater, the Aram Art Museum, and the trails of Jeongbal Mountain, the library acts as a hub for culture in Goyang through books. Following is a detailed description of the Goyang Aram Nuri Library that has created a virtuous cycle of books, art, and life.

 

 

A Library Specializing in Art that Boasts Rich Cultural Content

 

Libraries are the standard for assessing the level of cultural development in a region. That explains why people expect especially much from a library if it is surrounded by diverse cultural spaces in a giant art-specialized area. As the people of Goyang have great interest in libraries, there are 19 municipal libraries and 16 small libraries used by a half-million local residents. This makes Goyang a city of refinement in which the practice of reading books and enjoying cultural and art activities is widespread. Each of the libraries has a unique feature in its operations to meet the high expectations of the people.
The Goyang Aram Nuri Library, which dates back to June 2007, is at the center of a triangular region connected by Ilsan Lake Park, Mt. Jeongbal, and the Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center, which are the landmark attractions of Goyang. Outside the library is a road to the Aram Theater, the Aram Art Museum, and the trails of Jeongbal Mountain. They create an ambience where nature, culture, and art flourish together. In particular, the Aram Nuri Library, which specializes in art, has an art collection archive and over 22,000 art publications. In addition, the concept of the library is well aligned with that of the Aram Nuri Arts Center, a flagship culture and art institution of Goyang, in that it shows an intensive focus on art at all levels.

 

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Gallery Bitddle

 

 

The library has been steadily planning cultural reading programs and curations associated with art performances at the Aram Theater or exhibitions at the Aram Art Museum so that local residents can enjoy the abundant cultural resources and have pride in them. For instance, in March, the lecture "Ingenious Painters Who Led the Italian Renaissance" was organized in conjunction with the "3D-based Special Exhibition on the 3 Greatest Artists in the Renaissance" held in the Aram Art Museum. In addition to hosting book curations and lectures, the library provides local amateur artists with Gallery Bitddle for exhibitions and runs thematic book clubs on art, offering a fertile ground for local artists.

 

Establishment of an Intellectual Community Based upon a Practice of Reading

 

The Aram Nuri Library consists of one basement floor and three ground floors. On the basement floor, there are classrooms, rooms for clubs, Gallery Bitddle, Book Café 1M1M, an archive for preserving old books, and the "Chaek-nuri" office (in charge of interlibrary loans). In addition, on the 1st floor, users can find collections for people with disabilities, collections for children, and an archive for serial publications after passing through an exhibition hall in the lobby. The general archive and the art collection archive are located on the 2nd floor. The 3rd floor is primarily used for keeping digital collections. After establishing the "Environment Resource Archive" on the 2nd and 3rd floors lobbies in 2021, the library has been providing monthly book curations on the environment and climate issues throughout the year to draw people's attention to the issues while encouraging them to take counteractions. On top of that, there is an exhibition corner titled, "Writer of This Season" in the lobby on the 1st floor. It utilizes the network of local writers and other artists in Goyang and serves as a small literature exhibition. A selected writer exhibits his or her collections and works, and gives book talks and lectures at this place.

 

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Environment Resource Archive (3rd floor)

 

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"Writer of This Season" corner (1st floor)

 

The Aram Nuri Library values communicating and sharing with the citizens, thus reflecting the opinions of both citizens and librarians in its collections. Users file a purchase request for a book, and the librarians try their best to purchase the book. In sum, 30% of the collections are books requested by the users, while the remaining 70% are selected by the librarians. The library continues its efforts to reach out to local residents as well. There are many library information services and cultural reading programs intended to satisfy the citizens' different interests and thirst for knowledge, and the citizens organize clubs as a follow-up to the programs. The library offers training and active support to encourage the activities of such book clubs. Thanks to such endeavors, the library could host a program jointly with the Goyang Writers' Club and was praised for taking the education of the library to the next level. The Aram Nuri Library's multifaceted efforts and policies eventually lead to a grand project that contributes to establishing a culture of intellectual community by leveraging books. By providing a concrete example of the ideal role of a library in society, and the culture it can create, the Aram Nuri Library continues to make successful strides.

 

An Inclusive Library for All

 

The Aram Nuri Library provides extensive support to suit the convenience of all citizens without leaving anyone behind. It is the only library in Goyang that has collections for people with disabilities with over 3000 braille books and sign language videos. The library is also equipped with various facilities and assistive devices such as height-adjustable desks for wheelchair users, magnifiers and reading services for the visually impaired, as well as voice amplifiers for the hearing impaired. On top of that, people with disabilities can borrow books using the library's parcel delivery service. Since 2008, the Aram Nuri Library has been offering reading tutor programs to children from multi-cultured families and low-income families, which reflects the library's efforts to promote an inclusive society. In addition, the elderly can receive training from the library to become reading tutors and visit institutions for people with disabilities and local childcare centers to provide tutoring services. In response to the aging population, the library also runs programs to help the elderly frequent the library and read more books, such as "Write Your Own Autobiography," "Illustrated Journal Class," and "Movie Class for Senior Citizens."
The library is working hard to make the facilities easily accessible for foreigners as well. Before the Aram Nuri Library specialized in art, there was an archive for international resources, which is why it still keeps an ample number of foreign books. It is widely known for keeping one of the largest collections devoted to international resources among public libraries in Korea. Furthermore, the library will further expand its efforts to lower the barriers for foreigners by providing multicultural programs at least five times a year. As a result, more foreign citizens are expected to join cultural programs as lecturers or participants. All in all, I can see the Aram Nuri Library's endeavors to open the facilities and to ensure unfettered access to all, thereby strengthening the library's value.

 

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Archive of collections for people with disabilities

 

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Pictures of the lobby (1st floor) and the art collection archive (2nd floor)

 

If there is something people can join, discuss, enjoy and experience together, a synergy effect will be created by the people involved, achieving better-than-expected outcomes. The Goyang Aram Nuri Library gives rise to a greater culture through books, while maintaining its concept as a library specializing in art. As the library allows people to read more, enjoy more culture, and provide new opportunities, it plays a pivotal role in enhancing Goyang's reputation as a city with rich culture. The Aram Nuri Library is indeed becoming a pioneer that seeks and paves the way for other libraries.

 


A short interview with Goyang Aram Nuri Library

1. What are some tips for enjoying the Goyang Aram Nuri Library or some of its useful programs?

First, I would like to introduce the "Write Your Own Autobiography" project, which will be launched in May. As a part of the project, the "Thank You, My Life" program, sponsored by three libraries in Goyang, will be implemented to help senior citizens record, organize, and publish their autobiographies. The program aims to share and preserve the lives of citizens in the form of a book. In addition, people can write their autobiography in a poem by participating in the "School for Autobiographical Poem," a program that published three poetry books, Clovers are Everywhere, but Where are the Rabbits? (2018), Thank you, My Life (2019), and The Heart is in My Possession (2021). I am looking forward to the talented citizens that the program will discover, as well as the poems they write.

 

2. What books do you recommend to foreign visitors, in particular?

I recommend The Cartoon Guide to the Story of Goyang. It is a cartoon on the age-old folktales passed down in Goyang. Each story in the book is very fascinating, and there is also a brief explanation of the background of the tale and relevant historical facts. As the book targets children, foreigners who are not proficient in Korean will not have much trouble understanding the stories.

 

3. Is there a flagship service provided to users that reflect the library's distinctive use of facilities and concept?

On one side of the wall of the first basement floor, there are numerous framed autographs of authors who visited the Aram Nuri Library, as well as a display of signed books kept by the library. We try to help citizens visiting the library feel closer to authors and fulfill their desire for culture. Moreover, the central gallery Bitddle, located on the same floor, draws attention to local artists and their works discovered by the library. The gallery is therefore very popular among local artists. Bitddle does not merely use a corner of the library, but is an exclusive area for an exhibition that is 130 ㎡ wide. Bitddle is available to artists and visitors for free. Currently, artists have to submit their works and win the fierce competition to be showcased at Bitddle.

 

 

Goyang Aram Nuri Library
Website: www.goyanglib.or.kr/MF/index.do
Contact: +82-31-8075-9038
Address: 1286 Jungang-ro, Ilsan-dong, Goyang-si (Madu-dong)

 

 

 

 


Written by Kim Young-Ihm

 

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Kim Young-Ihm

#Goyang Aram Nuri Library#Library#Art#Cultural
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