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Promoting Korean Culture Through the Library at Seoul International School

Tim Gardes
Tim Gardes
Librarian, Seoul International School
In my efforts to promote Korean culture at my school site, I focus primarily on two media: books and film.


Library Book Selection: I am in charge of developing, maintaining and promoting SIS' print and e-book library collection for our middle and high school students and staff. Regarding promoting Korean culture in our library collection, I regularly purchase books by Korean authors (translated to English) and Korean diaspora writers, mainly American, who write in English. These are primarily works of fiction. I also purchase non-fiction books related to Korean culture, including the topics of Korean history, art, cooking, entertainment, migration and natural history.

Library Book Promotion: In order to promote the reading of these books, I use a variety of methods: book display, t.v. monitor notices, emails to colleagues, announcements on library website, and professional in-service with colleagues.

"Morning Calm" Reading Award Program: SIS participates in the Korea-wide Morning Calm reading award program whereby international school students read five English-language books per year, according to age level, and vote for their favorites. The committee which nominates the books, of which I belong, regularly considers books by Korean and Korean-American authors for the program.

Guest Author program: Every year our school hosts visiting professional children's authors. We have regularly considered and prioritize hosting Korean or Korean-American authors. In the past ten years, these guest authors have included Tina Cho, June Jo Lee, Maija Rhee Devine, An Na and Linda Sue Park.


"Korean Movie Night": As a means of introducing Korean culture through its movies, I organize an informal monthly "Korean Movie Night" event for foreign teaching staff. We gather in each other's apartments to watch a variety of Korean movies (with English subtitles), including classics and current hits.

Korean DVD Library: In order to promote a better understanding of Korean culture by way of its movies, the library previously maintained and promoted a DVD collection of Korean movies (with English subtitles) for use by our foreign teaching staff. Due to the phasing out of DVD technology and use in the past few years; however, we recently liquidated this collection.

[ Announcement of "2020 Understanding Korea Project for International School Educators" ]

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