The spectacular Starfield Library in Seoul was a sensation from the moment it opened. It’s 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.
In this post, you’ll learn exactly what makes this library so incredibly instagrammable, 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
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 126k pics tagged with #별마당도서관 – the Korean word for the Library.
With that kind of hype, it wasn’t long before foreign tourists and expats joined the bandwagon. Search for #starfieldlibrary, and you’ll find another 17.6k posts. And 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
One of the most fascinating things about this book lover’s paradise is it’s 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.
Read our complete guide to all the top things to do and see in Starfield Coex Mall.
What can I do at the library?
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. 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 also a rotating schedule of author readings, talks and lectures. All of these are free and you just might stumble upon one when you visit.
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.
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.
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.
How to go to the Starfield Library
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.
Address: 955-9 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
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 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 the Coex Aquarium at the same time, the Bongeunsa stop is closest.
SWEET DEAL: Coex Aquarium tickets are already discounted on Klook, but from April 1 – December 31st, 2019, you’ll get even more for your money. A limited time special offer includes a free hanbok experience, 10% discount at the aquarium cafe and gift shop, and a 5% discount on purchases over $100 at the Sulwhasoo Flagship store in Cheongdam. Buy discounted tickets to the Coex Aquarium here.
Starfield Library FAQ
- 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.
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