Korean Bibliophiles In Canada

Mother Language

Newly arrived foreigners rationally are subjected to primarily English speaking environment in Canada. This includes media such as “The Listener” television drama on CTV, CBC Radio One “The World at Six”, reading the Alice Munro Nobel Prize winning short stories, or even texts and emails to and from classmates for all sorts of things, including school group projects, and face to face meetings with supervisors for yearly reviews. In Canada, you won’t experience any difficulties with communication as long as you can speak English (or in Quebec, French).

Regardless of the language barrier, it is a challenge for some foreigners to live with English because their sociolinguistic identity is already constructed in their first language. No matter how fluent they are in one of Canada’s national language, or how long they have lived in Canada. To relieve this irresistible homesickness, some people watch Korean variety TV shows every weekend, listen K-Pop music, or converse with a Korean friend. In my case, I read.

Unfortunately, reading a book can be very costly if the book is published in a foreign language because of shipping costs. For example, to purchase 3 books of total price in the amount of $20, the shipping easily costs as much as its price.


<What? I  only ordered 3 comic books which will costs only approx. $10 in Korea!>

Public Library


<Stanley A. Miller Library in downtown, Edmonton>

To avoid such costs, public library in the local communities would be an alternative choice in Canada. I like Canada’s library system. It is the place not only for book archives, but also taking a role as a cultural multiplex for local community in classical way. You will find various workshop and event from poetry reading to Self-Publishing.

World Languages


In Edmonton, Alberta, the main library is in the Stanley A. Miler Library, located in downtown. When you step into the 2nd floor, there is an area of 6 rows of bookshelves labeled as World Languages. The Korean section shares shelves with Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish and Oromo. Unlike recent changes in Canada’s immigration eligibility policy which is emphasizing national language skills of the applicant, general social policies still show great respect on diversity and minority language groups in Canada.


Two 5-level book shelves are appointed for Korean books, and various genres are shelved in mixed order such as Korean novels, translated novels, essays and non-fiction. I could find The Innocent Man (by John Grisham), Slumdog Millionaire , The Secret (by Rhonda Byrne), Obamanomics, East coast of North America Travel Information Guide, and et cetera. It’s not like full course dinner from three stars French cuisine, but good enough to fill your hunger to read books in Korean.

According to Judith, the librarian, Edmonton Public Library possesses more than 1,000 Korean resources including books, movies and audios in their database, distributed among the 17 branches in Edmonton. She suggests you to search online book catalog to find or to hold a specific one before visiting the library.

Online Catalog


< I have no idea why Charlie Brown is there, clearly he’s not Korean.>

Above picture shows the search result for Korean language resources. You will find the library possesses DVD of some famous Korean movies such as Masquerade (Ghwanghae, Man Became A King) which records over a million theator admissions in South Korea.


Edmonton Public Library sorts books by its language. Then you may wonder How does one know whether a book is from North Korea or South Korea? The answer is, there is no way to tell where the origin of the book is, like French literature stays together whether the author is French-Speaking Canadian or French-speaking Belgian. As well, books in Korean stays together whether it’s from North or South.


<You can read Rodong Sinmun (Newspaper published in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) through public library database>

Last Saturday was March 1, which is very meaningful day for Korean. It is Independence Day, that Korea declared independence from Japan on March 1, 1919.  Korea was a single nation at that time.

Categories: 2014

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s