Not just to read, but to live: the bold transformation of the National Library

A wall projection for Hwang Sun-won’s short story “The Cloudburst” (1952) (NLK)

The National Library of Korea, located in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, on Monday announced the opening of an immersive literary content room experience, Jisikui Gil, which means “Path to Knowledge.”

This follows last year’s Ministry of Culture initiative project Shilgam Seojae, which successfully transformed some of South Korea’s ancient writings and archived documents stored in the library into interactive content using multidimensional technologies. This year’s project focuses on modern and contemporary Korean literature.

The Jisikui Gil consists of two main sections: Writer’s Notes and Smart Lounge.

The first section introduces four of the most beloved contemporary Korean literary classics chosen by readers over time. Kim So-wol’s poem, “Azaleas” (1925), Yun Dong-ju’s poem, “Night of Counting the Stars” (1941), Lee Hyo-seok’s short story “When Buckwheat Flowers Bloom” (1936) and Hwang Sun- won’s short story “The Cloudburst” (1952).

Bringing the settings and themes of each work into the backdrop, projections of relevant text, music and digital paintings traverse the wall display. The whole experience in the room makes visitors feel like they are inside memorable scenes from the writers’ works.

A wall projection of Kim So-wol's poem,

A wall projection of Kim So-wol’s poem, “Azaleas” (1925) (NLK)

The Smart Lounge, with AI-based literary content (NLK)

The Smart Lounge, with AI-based literary content (NLK)

The Smart Lounge offers visitors content based on artificial intelligence. It organizes and recommends books based on visitors’ interests. Personalized choices are given by answering a series of questions in a kiosk, such as her favorite season or color. Visitors can also preview the recommended book before diving in, as the show guides them through some of the book’s key features.

“As soon as visitors enter the Jisikui Gil, they will forget that they are in a library,” the library’s project team coordinator told the Korea Herald on Monday. “We hope that such projects can be an opportunity for the library to be recognized as a complex cultural center, breaking with common perceptions of it as a silent and ossified conventional library. Literature will continue to be updated in the first section after most visitors view the content, the coordinator added.

Meanwhile, other cultural events at the library include a special exhibition on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania called “The Baltic Way”, which runs until April 10. There are also regular screenings of independent national films which open every second and fourth Thursday of the month. at 2 p.m. until December.

For visits to the Immersive Content Rooms and other cultural events organized by the library, reservations are required on the National Library of Korea website,

By Kim Hae-yeon ([email protected])

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