Not just to read, but to experience: National Library’s bold transformation
Published : Mar 14, 2022 - 15:43
Updated : Mar 14, 2022 - 15:46
A wall projection display for Hwang Sun-won’s short story “The Cloudburst” (1952) (NLK)
The National Library of Korea, located in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, announced the opening of an immersive literature content hall experience, Jisikui Gil, which means “Path to Knowledge” on Monday.

This follows last year’s Culture Ministry initiative project, Shilgam Seojae, which successfully transformed a few of South Korea’s ancient writings and archived documents stored in the library into interactive contents 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 a Smart Lounge.

The first section presents four of the most-beloved Korean contemporary literary classics chosen by readers across 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 as a backdrop, projections of relevant texts, music and digital paintings flow through the wall display. The whole experience within the hall makes visitors feel as if they are inside some memorable scenes of the writers’ works.
A wall projection display for Kim So-wol‘s poem, “Azaleas” (1925) (NLK)
The Smart Lounge, featuring AI-based literature curated content (NLK)
The Smart Lounge provides visitors with artificial intelligence-based content. It curates and recommends books according to visitors’ fields of interest. Personalized choices are given upon answering a set of questions at a kiosk, such as one’s favorite season or color. Visitors can also get a glimpse of the recommended book before delving in, since the lounge guides them through some of the main features of the work.

“The moment visitors walk into the Jisikui Gil, they will forget that they are standing in a library,” the library’s project team coordinator told The Korea Herald on Monday. “We hope such projects can serve as an opportunity for the library to become recognized as a cultural complex center, breaking away from common perceptions of it as a quiet and ossified conventional library.” Literature will continue to be updated in the first section after most visitors have seen the contents, the coordinator added.

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

For visits to the immersive content halls and other cultural events hosted by the library, reservations are mandatory at the National Library of Korea’s website,

By Kim Hae-yeon (