Exploring Uijeongbu Music·Art Library
Uijeongbu is home to such unique and distinctively local libraries that people from out of town brave long drives to visit. We took cultural trips to Uijeongbu Music Library and Uijeongbu Art Library.
Uijeongbu is a multidimensional city. To some, the name will evoke images of the Korean War, and the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division that has been stationed there for 53 years. Others will think of budae jjigae (spicy stew with ham and sausage). And these images are all connected to one another as they form Uijeongbu as we know it. The city may not have been closely associated with anything cultural. But it has seen specialized libraries open since the end of last year. Meet Uijeongbu Music Library and Uijeongbu Art Library.

View of Uijeongbu Music Library

Uijeongbu Music Library, Where You Can ‘Read’ Music
Bringing music and books together, Uijeongbu Music Library stands inside Jangam Park near Balgok Station.
The moment you step inside, it becomes crystal clear what this library is all about. You will see stacks of music magazines and books, and works of graffiti with obvious hip-hop sensibilities grace the walls next to the stairs. This library puts its focus on black music, whereas most other music libraries lean heavily on classical music. Black music covers jazz, blues, gospel, soul and hip hop, among other popular 20th century genres.

The open stage on the first floor

Space with music-specific collections

The first floor serves as a public space for families to enjoy books, including children’s books. The second floor features books of poetry and classic literature, as well as scores and magazines for music professionals and beginners alike. Works of graffiti on the walls will continue to grab your eyes, as if you didn’t already know you were in a black music-themed library.
You Just Have to Listen to It
The third floor is the space that encapsulates this special library, a place where you don’t just read books, but you also get to play music while there. You can play CDs, vinyl records and DVDs on the third floor, making it an especially popular spot for music aficionados. And the library has the kind of collection that will put record stores to shame. You can pick up albums by Prince or Marvin Gaye, or Joe Hisaishi’s original soundtrack to Studio Ghibli films.

Graffiti with a nod to black music are everywhere.

You can listen to CDs and vinyl records at the library.

In all, there are some 6,200 CDs, over 1,110 vinyl records, 800-plus DVDs and about 2,100 scores. The audio room, equipped with high-end sound systems, and the music hall, built for live performances and screening, are quintessential parts of Uijeongbu Music Library. There’s also a studio and a piano practice room where you can compose music on a computer and play. At this library, music isn’t just to be read with your eyes; you can experience it with all of your senses.
Art and culture can be influenced by social class and income levels. For that reason, developed countries seek to provide an equal measure of musical knowledge through education and experience without discrimination.
And Uijeongbu Music Library isn’t just there to showcase black music; rather, it is a cultural complex and an important public space.

Here’s a tip on how to make the most of your visit to Uijeongbu Music Library. A full membership will grant you access to the online music library on its website. You can check out music files, videos and other references on classical music, jazz, world music, pop music and dance. There are over 3,600 music-related documentaries and MasterClass materials, not to mention 11 million files on folk, world music and jazz that you can stream. You can take music anywhere you go. This is one added bonus from the library.

Address 280 Janggok-ro, Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province (Inside Jangam Park)
Inquiry +82-31-828-4850
Hours Tuesday~Friday 10:00~21:00 / Weekends10:00~18:00
Website Uijeongbu Music Library


View of Uijeongbu Art Library

Uijeongbu Art Library, Place to Visit to Appreciate Art
Within a city, neighborhoods all have their own libraries. But most of them serve similar functions. You can read and borrow books from there. Within the same district, you can visit different libraries and find the same books. So they don’t all have to run libraries the same way. If one place has typical books, maybe another library should build a collection of rare, expensive art books and brochures. And in a city that doesn’t have public art galleries and that could use a specialized library, this approach would make more sense. And this is where Uijeongbu Art Library comes in. It isn’t your typical library built for reading and studying. It’s where generations can come together to share thoughts on culture and art.

The multi-purpose hall on the second floor

There is a wider collection of specialized art books and books of paintings here than other libraries.

The building itself is a departure from your average library. Oversized windows give the library a feeling of openness. The circular staircase connects floors. The message is the library wants to connect books and people, and do the same for different thoughts from different people. Windows on the front side give visitors a view to the surroundings. The library also has high ceilings, and the white shelves under bright lights are arranged with plenty of space in between. There’s a prevailing sense of being in wide-open space.
More than 40 percent of all books there are about art and design, among other genres of art. Mindful that one of the leading Korean neorealism painters, Baek Young-soo, lived in Uijeongbu until 96, the library has a separate section to commemorate other neorealists such as Lee Jung-seob and Kim Whan-ki.

Floor-to-ceiling windows keep the library well-lit and pleasant at all times.

Space to Explore Art
The first floor features a reading room for art materials and periodicals and an exhibition hall. Brochures and periodicals from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Seoul Museum of Art are available, along with books on design and architecture. The second floor is for children, and the third floor has a multi-purpose hall and ateliers for aspiring artists as selected by the library. We saw young artists hard at work on the day of our visit. There is also a section for books donated by public institutions, art experts or artists. It is filled with art books donated by Daejeon Museum of Art Director Sun Seung-hye. RM from BTS also gifted books. The Honolulu Museum of Art donated about 2,000 art books, after reading about Uijeongbu Art Library on the website of the Japanese parliamentary library. This collection includes some rare books in their original language and other art-related materials.

A section for books donated by experts or celebrities.

Uijeongbu Art Library received the second-place prize in the completed building category at the 2020 Korean Architecture Award. It was much-deserved recognition for a building that simultaneously captures the essence and direction of the library.
At regular libraries, there are restrictions to checking out art books. At Uijeongbu, you can take out most of them, including books of paintings and art history books. A great thing about having a public art library is that you can borrow, free of charge, some rare art books, the ones that are either prohibitively expensive or are simply hard to find.
Maybe visits to these two libraries were less about studying and more about exploring. And the term exploring suits both Uijeongbu Music Library and Uijeongbu Art Library quite well.

Address 248 Minrak-ro, Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province
Inquiry +82-31-828-8870
Hours Tuesday~Friday 10:00~21:00 / Weekends 10:00~18:00
Website Uijeongbu Art Library 


December 2021 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Uijeongbu Music Library, Uijeongbu Art Library.

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  • December 2021
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Cooperation: Uijeongbu Music Library, Uijeongbu Art Library.
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