Namsan Public Library is one of the most popular libraries in Seoul, located in one of the hottest places to visit. It’s a great resource for foreigners and natives living in Seoul for quiet study, a quick coffee, and of course to find inspiring books. Read on to learn how you can become a member and what benefits you can receive afterwards.
History of Namsan Public Library
Namsan Public Library, although a modern-looking structure, was first built in 1922. It was known then as the Gyeongseong Prefecture Library, and later changed its name to Namdaemun Library in 1948. If you’re familiar with the area, this is because of the nearby city wall gate sharing the same name. It relocated to its current location in 1964, thus earning it the name Namsan Public Library in 1965. The library has grown in popularity ever since. In recent years, the library has opened its Korean Literature Center and Bibliotherapy Language Rooms.
1st Floor: Information Desk, Namsan Art Gallery, Book Cafe
2nd Floor: Serial Publication Room, Digital Multimedia Room
3rd Floor: Literature Room, Korean Literature Center, Bibliotherapy Language Room
4th Floor: Humanities and Social Science Room, Natural Science Room
5th Floor: General Reading Room, Lecture Room
Korean Literature Center: This center is dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing Korean literature. It has over 80,000 items in its current collection. This is a great space to watch for Korean Literature events such as exhibitions, author meetings, and book releases.
Bibliotherapy: This section is dedicated to Bibliotherapy and provides relevant services such as training and publishing.
Namsan Literature Academy: If you’re someone who loves to write or would simply like to learn more, this academy is the place for you. Open to both youth and adults, registration to one of their Classes for Young Authors or Literature Class with an Author is sure to help you grow in the field of writing.
Those who are residing, attending school, or working in Seoul are eligible. To register, click this link for the online registration page. When visiting the library next, bring your identity card or resident registration certificate (proof of housing). Anyone not residing in Seoul must have proof of employment or school enrollment forms as evidence.
The library is known to host special events to promote the culture of reading. These events include lectures in the humanities, library week (April), reading month (September), author lecture series, and book clubs among others. For more information, visit their website.
Namsan Writing Contest
This contest is for students who are passionate about writing and literature in general. You must have a recommendation from your school principal in order to participate in this contest. Submission dates can be found on the website (link above). Additionally, for students participating in the contest, move screenings, concerts and other family events will be held.
Checking Out Books
Loan Limits: Maximum of 7 books, 4 non-book items, and 7 magazines (at one time)
Loan Period: 14 Days
Renewals: One-time, one-week renewals are possible only for books and magazines. These must be renewed BEFORE the return date.
Holds & Reserves: Up to 3 materials per person may be reserved if the materials have been lent out to other users.
Opening Hours & Information
Address: Sowol-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 
Website: Click here
Humanities & Social Science Room: Weekdays 9AM – 8PM
Literature Room & Korean Literature Center: Weekdays 9AM – 8PM
Natural Science Room: Weekdays 9AM – 6PM
Bibliotherapy Language Room: Weekdays 9AM – 6PM
Serial Publication Room: Weekdays 9AM – 6PM
Digital Multimedia Room: Weekdays 9AM – 6PM
General Reading Room: Weekdays 7AM – 11PM
All rooms are open from 9AM – 5PM on weekends, with the exception of the General Reading Room which is open from 7AM – 10PM.
The library is closed the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month, as well as on National and temporary holidays.
If you’re traveling via public transit, here are the best ways to reach the library from the subway with a bus transfer.
Seoul Station (Line 1, Exit 9-1) -> Bus 402
City Hall Station (Line 1 & 2, Exit 8) -> Bus 402
Dongguk University Station (Line 3, Exit 6) -> Bus 02, 03, 05
Hoehyeon Station (Line 4, Exit 5) -> Bus 402, 405
Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5, Exit 8) -> Bus 402
Hangangjin Station (Line 6, Exit 2) -> 405
*All subway exits require a walk up the mountain.
Parking is free of charge for the first hour. It costs 250 won for every 5 minutes after that. For discount information, please refer to the website.
To learn more about other libraries in Seoul, and Korean Literature in general, click here.