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A Chief Librarian SooKyung Hwang Cultivates Dreams
2011년 09월 20일 (화) JaeHee Kim, Reporter jhkim@worldyannews.com

A small library situated inside the Paju Book City. Small, cute shoes are laid at the gate. Small and comfortable interior is comprised with books in the small bookshelves.

Children are reading books either lying down or sitting down on the chairs very comfortably. Although Heyri Village with 200 households is nearby, most of the buildings around this library are book companies and commercial buildings. And there is this chief librarian, who works in this small library.


I became a mother without preparation but I wanted to be a prepared school parent

She got married and had a child but was not prepared to become a mom. It was hard and she felt sorry to her child too. She had to stay at home for nearly 10 years and had trouble even getting the resident registration paper at the dong office. She lacked the self-confidence and felt so small compared to her husband who was doing well in his career.

When her child went to the elementary school, she began to sell children’s books. It was her first challenge. After six months she got promoted and could work at the office but she quit the job because her husband wanted her to stay at home for the child. Then she decided to become a prepared school parent even though she became a mom without a proper preparation.

Her son is so playful and some suggested she should bribe the teacher so that he doesn’t get into any trouble. She talked to her husband and he introduced her “the Hakbumo”. She found the things she could work for there. She founded a branch in Goyang city and worked joyfully with people with same goal as the branch manager.

However, despite the hard work as a school parent, she realized that raising her own child was not enough. In order to function as a member of the society with others in harmony, every kid should be raised well. She started to work for the standardization of high schools and the development of education. As she was watching the slow change of education in this fast changing world, her children grew even faster.


Wish this library becomes a place for many children to rest

While reading children’s book in the small group of ‘the Hakbumo’ and learning the writing skills she realized how precious the books are to the children. She first ran the bookstore for the children but then later altered it to the library. It’s been 10 years since. It was good to help the children to befriend with books without the pressure of sales profit.

She founded the library with 3,000 books she owned at home. Her son was not happy about giving away his books. But she had to put everything into this in order to attract more people. She held the concerts and opened the classrooms in the forest near the springs, mountains and rice paddies. She invited the play groups to perform and the carpenters to make the sleighs and play with the children.

She hopes the library becomes a place for the children to rest comfortably. Some kids come with their moms and just play with older kids. Mothers become anxious watching their children not reading the books at the library but SooKyung Hwang advise them to look farther. Even though the children do not pick up the books right away, eventually will if they continue to come to the library. She does not demand the children to be quiet at the library either.

She hopes the library becomes more stable and the children who come to the library now becomes mothers and bring their own children. She wishes one of the children grows up to be the next chief librarian.

‘Dream Class’ where mothers and children run together

It is good to see the children to grow a better person but also watching the mothers grow makes her happy. Mothers begin to have interest in the children’s book; some finds and develops their talents or work as a librarian.

In the early days, there was a mother who used to bring her child to the library. And one day she found the child crying without the mother. She hugged the child and asked her “where did your mother go?” and the child said she went to the bathroom. She found it interesting as the mother kept going to the bathroom every time she came to the library.

One day she saw the crying child again and decided to go to the bathroom herself. And she found the mother, cleaning the bathroom. She was cleaning the bathroom every time she came to the library even no one asked her to do so. She was so touched by her action. The mother was in fact the first volunteer. She is expecting her to visit on the day of 10th anniversary.

Her son who was not so happy to give up his books says now that he is proud of his mother. Her husband also feels happy for her as if he discovered his own talent. She is grateful she has someone who actively supports her and gives her advice. Sometimes she accompanies her husband when he goes on a business trip for the book company he works for, and they always visit the same place together. They spend whole day reading at the secondhand bookstore.

She feels happy every day she goes to work, wondering what kind of moms and children will visit or expecting someone to come for the day. Meeting people is always a happy thing.

The reason why she chose to come to Paju Book City was the cheap rent but the people of Herman House welcomed her and even held a bazaar for her. It is a small library of 132m² where random people come and go, and she is happy she could be with those who come. The spent the fund she received for being selected as the Best Library in Paju City in buying more books.

She published a book ‘Don’t be afraid of the schools’ in 2009. She was glad and proud she could look back at what she’s been doing so far. It is a library where about 50 people come and go a day but the mothers and children who visit are the ones who really run this library and the cultural classes.
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