Korea’s Reading Nooks

The idea was brewed at the original Madge Cafe in LaPaz, Iloilo over cups of coffee with UP dorm-mate, Pax. She insisted on paying for my coffee in exchange for this request: “Please take photos of libraries around Korea for me.”

Gladly, I did. And I still continue to do so each time I see a library or a reading corner anytime, anywhere.

From the rundown to the historical, trivial, contemporary and grand, these are just some of the libraries and reading areas around Korea:

Media Library at the CJ E&MBuilding at the DMC

The Media Library was a chance discovery my friend, Ingrid, and I made while walking around our neighborhood. This is located at the Creative Center for Convergence Culture (CCCC) located at CJ E&M Building, Digital Media City. It’s cozy and contemporary.

King Sejong was the 4th King of the Joseon Dynasty and he created the Hangeul characters. This Hangeul Library is located at the Sejong Museum at Gwanghwamun. Readers can only read inside the Library. Books are not allowed to be taken out, otherwise an alarm will sound.

This bookshelf is at the waiting area of the dentist’s office my family go to at Sangam-dong. It has a cozy sofa and a coffee table set so my kids and I never really mind any waiting time we spend waiting for our scheduled appointment.

Sangam Dentist Library

I always go to Itaewon Global Village Center for some arts and craft classes. The Center is very helpful to foreigners and the presence of these English books is a very thoughtful addition. You can borrow the books for free as long as you return them on time (2 weeks).

Itaewon Global Village Center

This book booth is one of my favourites. I saw this at the Central Park in Songdo. Imagine browsing or reading in the booth while your children are playing around. Perfect!

Songdo Central Park

This book cabinet is on top of Maebungsan. I haven’t been up there but my friend sent me this picture. Don’t you just love this thoughtful detail?

Maebungsan Summit

This is a very quite part of the Digital Media City Station. There’s really nothing to see and do here except wait for the trains going through the Gyeongui Line.

DMC Station Gyeongui Line

Think Nami Island. I don’t think people go to this island to read. But look at this!

Nami Island

There are several of these small huts scattered around and there are tiny book cases on each one with books! I took this photo way before my friend requested me to take photos of libraries around Korea. I thought it’s nice.

(updated on Nov 10, 2017) This lone book stand stands alone in the middle of the crowd. Nobody really touches the books, but hey who knows?

book stand at Nami Islasnd

I finally got the toilet photos of the books at Nami Island yesterday! The entrance of the Male toilet has a book stand. The cubicles inside the women’s toilet has a book or two. Whether people browse through them or not, I wouldn’t know:-)… But I love the thoughtfulness that goes with the gesture:

book stand at the entrance of the Male toilet
Korean book you can browse while doing your “business” in the toilet:-)


This wall-mounted shelf is at the Aquarium Museum in Danyang. This was also sent to me by my friend, Anne, because she knows that I have already consciously started to take photos of shelves.

Acquarium Museum at Danyang

And look at this vending machine for books! Friend Ann was at the Yeokgeok Station and sent me this picture.

book vending machine

It was on our short hike at the Baeksasil Valley that I chanced upon this cafe called “Cafe Soon”. It’s a big coffee shop with this unique shelves in the corner.

Cafe Soon

Dwight’s Library has changed since these pictures were taken. So much has improved already.

Dwight Library


Book Cafe at Dream Arts Center

The shelves above are at the Dream Arts Center. The coffee shop called “Book Cafe” has this large space for kids. Perfect addition so parents can relax and enjoy sipping their coffee.

I saw this reading area at the Mullae Station. I think this is a nice touch. It gives commuters a good place to sit down in and read. It’s a good break from the constant hurry.

Mullae Station

The Gyeongui Line Book Street is a new area coming out of Exit 6 of the Hongik University Station. The area “hopes to impart a greater appreciation of books upon visitors,share knowledge and wisdom for a healthier lifestyle, and further advance the Mapo-gu publishing industry”.

Gyeongui Line Book Street

My boys like to read… anywhere. This small bookcase is at Trevia, an Italian restaurant in Itaewon. While waiting for our orders, this bookshelf served its purpose. My second son entertained himself by getting a book.

Books to read at Trevia

This floor-to-ceiling bookshelf is inside Book Cafe at Heyri Art Village. When we entered, a man was busy sorting books. There are more books in this cafe that are not in the range of my phone cam.

Book Cafe at Heyri Village

I love this concept:

Coffee with books all around at Booktique

This is a coffee shop in Hongdae. The name caught my attention! It’s a coffee shop and a book shop and a meeting venue. There are small rooms around which you can reserve for meetings. And the books? They are categorised into Literature, Magazines, Nonfiction books. Other side of the room has Classics. And the people inside were having a meeting on one side while a long table was occupied by busy gents and ladies doing their thing in their own laptops. Cozy!

(inserted Jan 16, 2018)

Starfield Library

This Starfield bookstore/library is just huge! Too huge. I guess, my family is the only one not impressed by it. We went there, upon my prodding because I had high expectations that my bookworms will love the place, but left immediately. It is very impressive, indeed, if size is the factor that you’re looking at. My family though wants to sit down and relax and read. But it’s still worth your visit.

I love it that I was inspired to collect these photos. It gave me more awareness for the importance being given to reading. And I love it that I see reading areas even in unexpected places. I love to update this collection every now and then. I’m sure there’s a whole lot more to discover.

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5 thoughts on “Korea’s Reading Nooks

  1. This post has inspired me to do some more reading! And it looks like there’s plenty of beautiful spots to pick up a book and spend a few hours in Korea. Love the design at Cafe Soon ! Also never seen a vending machine for books before that’s pretty cool
    Rosie recently posted..10 Awesome Things to do in Hong KongMy Profile

  2. I love all the interesting and creative spaces there are for books in Korea. In Canada, they are ever only in bookstores or libraries (mostly because of issues of theft and vandalism). It’s a real shame, because it’s so wonderful to be at a bus stop or in a park and realize that there’s are books available for you to peruse through. I can’t wait till our little one is old enough to sit and read a book. Right now, she’s more interested in throwing them around. Haha.
    Shelley recently posted..What to Eat in Strasbourg, FranceMy Profile

  3. I love finding a nice spot to get lost at and read a book for an afternoon. I’ve never seen one of those book vending machines! That’s pretty cool! Haha, the one that looks like a phone booth made me giggle, imagine standing in there for a few hours reading a book! Very cool collection!

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