Seoul City plans to build 500 more libraries by 2030
By Kim Bo-eun
Seoul City plans to build some 500 more libraries by 2030 to enable greater access to books and encourage more citizens to read.
The city announced plans Monday to increase the current number of 868 libraries to 1,372. The announcement came ahead of the opening of the “Seoul Library” in October.
The objectives of the plan include putting all citizens within a 10 minute walking distance of a library; encouraging them to read more than 20 books a year; owning more than two books; making libraries centers of community; and improving the overall quality of existing libraries.
Currently Seoul has a ratio of 90,000 residents to one library, while the standard for OECD countries is 50,000 to one.
“When it comes to reading books, having the willingness to read is important but having an environment which facilitates reading is also crucial” said Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.
The city’s plan is to build many small libraries across the city that residents can conveniently visit, rather than establishing just a few large scale ones.
The “Seoul Library” will oversee, support and cooperate with all the libraries across the city. A network between the libraries in the 25 autonomous districts will also be established.
The city hopes the libraries will become places of lifelong learning where anyone can read a book whenever they wish to, the mayor said
“We are hoping that (through increasing access to books and encouraging more reading) we could heighten the citizens’ competency, much like how Bill Gates said the library in his neighborhood made him who he is.”