Things to Do Seoul

Seoul Library Cafes

Seoul has so many cafes but there are some tranquil cafes with tons of books. Today, I’d like to introduce some library cafes in Seoul.

Starfield Library 별마당도서관 in COEX Mall

The address: 513 Yeongdeung-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (COEX)  

Starfield Library is an open space public library located in the center of COEX Mall. There anyone can freely enjoy, take a break. It has the special atmosphere around thousands of books along with other booklovers.

COEX is the largest underground shopping mall in Asia. It has everything you need. For example a hundreds of stores featuring korean and international brands and a wide variety of dining restaurants and other things in one place. Also it is famous for its huge aquarium. The aquarium has around 40 thousand sea creatures. There are also Kimchi Museum and the Event Court, where various performances and exciting events  are held every week.

In May 2017 another grand attraction appeared in COEX. A gigantic library named Starfield that is open to public, free of charges. It is surrounded with 13-meter-tall bookcases filled with 50,000 books. A wide selection of books in various genres such as humanities, economics, hobbies, etc. are readily available. Nearly to 600 magazines and e-books on iPads are available for browsing in Korean and foreign languages . All these features make Starfield Library unique from other ordinary libraries.

The main things to know before visiting Starfield Library

  • Operating hours 10:30 – 22:00
  • Open all year round
  • Free Admission

How to get there

To get there might be little complicated but here I can explain clearly

  1. Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6 and 5. Follow the underground passageway connected to Starfield COEX Mall.
  2. Bongeunsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 6 and 7. Follow the underground passageway connected to Starfield COEX Mall.

A Library inside the Mall with no need for a library card. Because all reading materials can only be enjoyed inside the Starfield library. The best thing is, there’s no time limit in how long you can stay. Also there is no need to buy drinks or books because this attractive space is open to everyone. Visitors can stay in this library all day long without worrying about being asked to leave.

This library filled with culture, trust, and knowledge.It has no means to recognize or prevent anyone from stealing books because it aims to become a library with trust philosophy. Moreover local citizens began to support the experiment of Starfield Library and donate a lot of books so they could share with others.

There are tables, seating spaces with plugs for laptops and free wifi available in the library for those who wants to study and do research . Also cozy sofas and cool benches that are very comfortable to lounge and peruse books. However,  if you have trouble concentrating in noisy environments or can not enjoy white noise, it’s definitely not the best place to study. Because mostly people go there to meet friends and take thousands of photos. So better to not expect that it would be  a quite space like ordinary libraries.

Apart from the Starfield Library’s book and magazine collection, seating places there are also monthly cultural events and performances in the library such as meeting with authors, book talks, poetry reading, lectures.

Even though it isn’t the most peaceful , quite of libraries, having a bookie-paradise like this in the middle of a busy huge mall is something that will stay remembered forever. Starfield Library is a perfect place both to gather and enjoy reading books.

Arc N Book

The address: U-Plex Mall 12F 13, Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu

One of my favorite branch of the Arc N’ Book is located on Sinchon with in integration of Shinchon Roasting Library that aims to not just sell books, but also be a cultural space and lifestyle shop. This well coffee-hideout place can be find on the 12th floor of the U-Plex Mall in Sinchon area, around Yonsei university. This cafe in the corner of the bookstore which is framed by a good selection of books and amazing design, offers the best city views to the busiest part of Seoul.

How to get there

The easiest and quickest way to get this cafe is by Seoul Subway Line 2 to Sinchon Station (신촌역). From the Exit 2 take the walk 240 m straight and there is 12 floor department store. Arc N Book coffeeshop is on the 12th floor.

Opening Hours

Mon – Thu: 10:30 – 20:00 / Fri – Sun:10:30 – 21:00

As a bookstore it is a wonderful space to spend at any time of the day exploring the shelves with the coffee on hand and feel the quite atmosphere. In comparison with Starfiel Library this bookstore is very convenient to focus and enjoy the reading.

Interesting detail is that there are a lot of white headphones hanged on the walls all over the place to help enjoy coffee with an ASMR playlist and audio books. Moreover different from the other bookstores Arc N Book is seperated into 4 themed sections: Daily, Weekend, Style, and Inspiration.

The view for landscape is always stunning but in my experience,  the best time to catch the seat at this place is the sunset when always in a rush Seoul is  becomes golden.

🇰🇿 Dinara Duisenova

Graduate student of International Economics at Kookmin University, Seoul Expat, Feminist and Civic Activist