In an effort to promote Taiwanese customs, show forth Taiwan’s soft power in publishing, and spur international exchange, on July 12, 2023, the National Central Library Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng set up a Taiwan Corner at Seoul Metropolitan Library, one of the top libraries in Korea. SML’s Information Section Head Seon Myeong-hwa received the donation. The Taipei Book Fair Foundation’s board members were also invited to attend and witness this event as they were already visiting Korea on other business.Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng stated the distance is not great between Taiwan and Korea and both peoples enjoy a close interaction. Actually, as the pandemic abated and Taiwan opened its borders, most visitors came from Korea. Consequently, NCL desired to set up a Taiwan Corner at the Seoul Metropolitan Library to provide many quality books on the history, people, society, and literature of Taiwan. In this way, more Koreans can learn about Taiwan. So, NCL took advantage of the opportunity that the Taipei Book Fair Foundation was visiting Korea to have NCL and the Seoul Metropolitan Library set up this Taiwan Corner.
The Seoul Metropolitan Library’s current holdings include 521,216 general books, 13,839 books on mental and physical challenges, and 22,700 non-book materials. After the pandemic, its e-book holdings numbered more than 34,573. SML also provides a comprehensive search platform for the holdings of the 500 libraries in Seoul. The library edifice is stately with a solid architectural style. Spatial planning on the interior, along with signs for movement flow and ergonomic furniture, not only represent its role as the hub of information in Seoul and the center of libraries in Korea but also contains a robust amount of city government data and lively children’s books in a reading area. On display are amazing publications from around the world so patrons can experience a diverse worldview.
Books donated by NCL included illustrated children’s books, pop-up books, maps of Taiwan, as well as books on many different aspects of Taiwan, such as Taiwan history and customs, museum holdings (including artifacts, paintings, and calligraphy), Taiwan’s natural environment, and contemporary Taiwanese literature and art. In addition, leaders in the Taiwan publishing industry responded to this meaningful event by also donating many outstanding books. We sincerely hope that the books on display at the Taiwan Corner will give Korean patrons a good impression of Taiwan and show forth the soft power found in Taiwan’s publications.