Grand People’s Study House

The Grand People’s Study House is the DPRK’s premier library and one of the few that was built with Korean traditional architecture. It is located in the central district of Pyongyang and next to the prestigious Kim Il Sung square. It was constructed in April 1982 to commemorate the 70th birthday of Kim Il Sung. The building was constructed with Chollima speed, only taking 1 year and 9 months to complete. The library has a capacity of 30 million books. An electronic catalog system helps citizens pick their readings from the huge selection, which includes legal documents and guidance from Kim Il Sung. There is 600 rooms, many of which contain computers that have access to the North Korean intranet. Others rooms host lectures from a wide range of topics, including science and philosophy sermons. English, German, Chinese, and other foreign languages are also taught to the general public here. Electronic screens show schedules and aid visitors on how to find specific lecture rooms. Classic hits like The Beatles are available in rooms that showcase music from around the world. This library is the center of Juche studies, here North Koreans come to further develop themselves with the “study while working” philosophy. This philosophy encourages citizens to continue their education even after their university studies are over, and many do as evidenced by the large numbers of professionals that improve on their trade here. On any given day it is estimated that 8 to 10 thousand citizens come into the library to further their studies, despite this foot traffic a quiet atmosphere is maintained.