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art display in starfield library

The spectacular Starfield Library in Seoul was a sensation from the moment it opened. Its dramatic design and unexpected location in the middle of a huge mall attracted bibliophiles, selfie-takers and tourists from all over the globe.

There’s no doubt you’ll be impressed by it too.

starfield library in seoul

Have you seen the Starfield Library on your IG feed?

In this post, you’ll learn exactly what makes this library so incredibly photo-worthy, the best time to go, how to get there, and how to get the most out of your visit.

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Facts about the Starfield Library | 별마당도서관

The Starfield Library opened on May 31st, 2017. It wasn’t long before pics of this mind-blowing space started taking over the Instagram feeds of Seoulites everywhere. Currently, there’s a staggering 166k pics tagged with #별마당도서관 – the Korean name of the Library.

art display in starfield library

It’s not surprising that the Starfield Library is so popular

With that kind of hype, it wasn’t long before foreign tourists and expats jumped on the bandwagon. Search for #starfieldlibrary, and you’ll find another 36.6k tagged posts. Here’s why:

  • it’s a massive 2 story, 2,800 square metre sprawling space full of light and glass
  • 50,000 books fantastically decorate 3 towering bookshelves, each standing a whopping 13 metres tall
  • rotating centrepieces have included a kitschy fruit / veggie tree and a gorgeous tower of books
  • there are almost 600 domestic and foreign magazines available for browsing
  • the owner, Shinsegae, invested 6 billion won to develop and create the Starfield Library
  • it will cost 500 million won per year to maintain it
starfield library in seoul korea

This gorgeous tower of books is way better than the fruit / veggie tree imho

One of the most fascinating things about this book lover’s paradise is its location in the middle of Starfield Coex Mall – which is itself Asia’s largest underground shopping mall.

Fun fact: the Starfield Library is actually credited with singlehandedly increasing chronically low visitor numbers to the Mall since its opening. I’d believe it. Because that place is literally crawling with people now, and it never was before.

One of the rotating art centrepieces on display at Starfield Library.

What can I do at the Starfield Library?

The Starfield Library has 2 separate floors, which can be accessed using escalators inside the library itself.

B1 Floor

Aside from gawking at those colossal bookshelves and taking selfies, you can also do traditional library type things. 😉

There’s a huge number of books covering pretty much every topic under the sun, which you’ll mostly find on the B1 level. However, since you can’t actually check books out of this library, your time might be better spent browsing through the 600 magazines on offer instead.

There’s a rotating schedule of performances and author talks at the library.

There’s also a rotating schedule of author readings, talks and lectures that takes place on this level. All of these are free and you just might stumble upon one when you visit.

First Floor

When you need a rest, you can head up to the second floor for coffee and cake at Billy Angel Cake Company, pick up some snacks at the E-Mart convenience store, or enjoy some fine chocolate at Teuscher.

And yes, you can take whatever book or magazine you’re reading with you to these locations. You can also exit the library on this level.

TIP  |  After seeing the Starfield Library, head to the largest aquarium in Seoul, with over 40,000 sea animals. Score discounted tickets to the COEX Aquarium here (23,500 vs 32,000 won on-site).

Tips for visiting

The Starfield Library is more of a cultural space, than traditional library. Don’t go there expecting a quiet, reserved space to meditate on the words in front you.

People go there to meet friends, snap photos and take thousands of selfies. Yes, there are a few hardy bookworms actually reading, but if you have trouble concentrating in noisy environments, it’s definitely not the best choice for you.

people reading at Starfield Library

Yes, some people actually read or work there.

If you’d like to see the library at a quieter time, head there during the weekday, as close to opening time as possible (that’s 10AM).

For some really cool pictures, get on one of the multiple escalators in the space, and take shots while riding up and down them.

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How to go to the Starfield Library

Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513

The Library’s location smack dab in the centre of the largest underground shopping mall in Asia is part of what makes it special. You can’t miss it… even if you have a terrible sense of direction like I do. You’ll literally run into it from every hallway in the mall.

starfield library map

Starfield Library is located in Starfield Coex Mall.

The easiest and most convenient way of getting to the Starfield Library is via Seoul subway. You can easily reach it from 2 separate subway lines.

Line 2: This is the closest subway line to the library. Get off at Samseong station Exit 6, and enter Coex Mall. There’s clear signage directing you to the library, but like I said… you really can’t miss it. All roads in the mall lead to the Starfield Library.

Line 9: Get off at Bongeunsa Station, and take Exit 1, 6, or 7. It’ll take you approximately 10-15 minutes to walk to the Starfield Library from this stop. If you’re planning to check out Coex Aquarium at the same time, Bongeunsa is the closer stop.

bongeunsa temple, starfield coex mall

Bongeunsa Temple overlooks Starfield Coex Mall

Where to Stay near Starfield Library

This is a popular area of the city to use as a base for traveling. It has excellent transit links, and is located right next to Seoul’s City Air Terminal, where it’s possible to catch direct limousine buses to Incheon Airport.

There are several hotels within a 10 minute walk or actually connected to the Starfield COEX Mall complex. However, there aren’t a ton of true budget options in this area. You’ll have to stay a little further away from the main hub if you have a strict budget.

Luxury: 5 Star Hotels

Mid-Range: 3 & 4 Star Hotels

Budget: Hostels etc…

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Starfield Library: Essential Info and FAQs

Is the library located inside Coex Mall? Yes. Be aware that the Starfield Coex Mall is an underground shopping mall, so you enter on subway level. You can look for signage or ask at any of the info booths for directions. They do speak english.
What are the hours? It’s open from 10AM – 10PM, every single day of the week.
Can I bring a laptop to study or work? Many people do. There are tables, outlets and free wifi available in the library. However, if you have difficulty concentrating in noisy environments, it might not be the best place to work.
How do I borrow books from the Starfield Library? Currently, books, magazines newspapers are only available for reading inside the library. There are also iPads you can read on if you prefer electronic formats.
Is there an entrance fee? It’s free to enter the library.
Are there books in English? There’s a small section of books in other languages, but most books are in Korean. There are plenty of English language magazines though.
Are there children’s books available? Yes, there’s a section of books for children. Most are in Korean, but there’s a few English options.

Are you ready to have your mind blown at the Starfield Library in Seoul?

The Starfield Library in Seoul, Korea will blow your mind. It's incredibly instagrammable and perfect for bibliophiles looking for an inspiring setting to read.


  • June 3, 2019

    it looks amazing! But I want to know is = how do you access the books? in the pics it looks like the world’s highest book shelves

  • June 3, 2019

    Wish it had been there when I visited! My first stay was so close to the COEX mall, and I would have loved to pop in there to see the library. (Since there was no library, I spent my time on other sightseeing, not being a big mall person!) Very cool.

      • June 3, 2019

        I would LOVE to come back and see you, Cheryl, and the library! I’m doing a steady drip, drip, drip job on my husband about a trip to Asia with me. I went to Bhutan without him also, after China, Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, S Korea, etc. in previous years. He’s just so annoying about it, but I do get that Asia takes time, and his job doesn’t allow for as much of it as mine does. Someday …


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