Bucheon (pop. 870,000) owes its vibrant literary legacy to Byun Yeongro and Chong Chi-yong, forerunners of the new poetry movement active during the fi rst half of the 20th century Renowned for its strong public library system, the literary sector represents 529 registered publishers, generating annual revenue of US$10,3 million. After having experienced a rapid industrialization in the last century, Bucheon has entered a cultural shift due to the implementation of modern development strategies surrounding creative industries, citizenship promotion and social inclusion.
The city has initiated a series of programmes and events to encourage reading and promote literature amongst its residents, notably through public library policy forums. As well as providing mobile libraries for disadvantaged groups, lectures on literature are delivered at the Citizens Learning Centre. Both initiatives ensure greater access to books and education while raising awareness among the younger generation. Bucheon has also implemented a well-resourced municipal delivery system ensuring those with disabilities and the elderly have access to literature. Alongside this, two libraries have been set up for immigrants and foreign workers.
Under the Ordinance for the Promotion of Culture and Arts, an arts and culture development fund of US$4,5 million is annually allocated in support of writers. Innovative local measures to support literature include the Save Local Bookstores campaign, where some titles for libraries must be purchased from bookstores, and another scheme whereby a percentage spent on books by citizens is donated to libraries in the form of new titles. The city has also initiated grants to link literature with comics and the animated film industry.
As a Creative City of Literature, Bucheon envisages:
- transforming citizens from literary consumers to literary producers through writing programmes;
- implementing the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) programme, helping participants to achieve a broader understanding of global citizenship through literature;
- supporting creative cooperation between writers, painters, musicians, designers and filmmakers, experimenting cross- cutting methods;
- advancing the library system and bolster its public and global character through exchange and cooperation with libraries located in other Creative Cities, sharing Bucheon's experience in designing the future of libraries, moving beyond the conventional functions of book storage, reading and lending;
- ensuring the promotion and visibility of under-represented literary genres with other Creative Cities of Literature; and
- promoting diversity in literature through the purchase of literary works from various countries through libraries and endorsing their translation and publication within other Creative Cities.