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Book-shaped new National Library of Korea in Sejong

Posted November. 09, 2013 05:11,   


The National Mitterrand Library is sitting by the Seine River in Paris, France. Anyone can tell it is a library because the four buildings in the shape of a book that is open 90 degrees are positioned at the four corners. The names of the 20-story glass buildings are Time, Law, Characters and Figures, respectively. They symbolize human’s knowledge that could never be destroyed. The library was constructed over a period of seven years, in compliance with former President François Mitterrand’s 1988 pledge to construct the world’s largest, beautiful, modern library. This place, which showcases the pride of France as cultural powerhouse, has become a major tourist attraction in Paris.

The world’s first library is the Alexandria Library that was constructed 3rd Century BC. The library was reduced to ashes several times due to fire during countless wars, but reinstated in 2002. The discus-shape roof that is slanted by 16 degrees toward the Mediterranean Sea represents sundial, while partial submergence into water of a section of the building signifies the scene of the sun rising from the sea. The rounded exterior granite wall has inscription of more than 120 different alphabets worldwide, including the Korean characters Hangeul. This magnificent beautiful library, which was constructed with support from the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization, effectively constitutes a dedication to the human civilization.

A library that is comparable to those buildings will be launched in Korea on December 12. It is the National Sejong Library, which is under construction in Sejong, the new administrative city. The exterior of the building, in the shape of a book whose two wings are slightly lifted up towards the sky, and its windows arranged in long vertical form are instilling cultural emotion into Sejong City, which is still abuzz with humming noise of construction machinery. The building, sitting against the backdrop of Lake Park, has already become a landmark of the young city due to its unique, three-dimensional appearance.

The National Sejong Library is the lone branch of the National Library of Korea in Seoul’s Seocho district. To live up to the characteristic of Sejong City, the new library envisions a policy library designed to support civil servants’ policy making, but will partially offer the functions of a public library for Sejong citizens, including operation of a children’s library and book rental. A library is a special space that symbolizes humans’ knowledge and intellectuality. However, a beautiful building in itself does not necessarily make the library a great one. Only a library that is equipped with books living up to the beauty of the building and crowded with people will make a great one. A library is also something that grows amid the sound of people’s footsteps.