The center of Bucheon's literary activities are the libraries, and the crux of library policies is improving accessibility for residents. To this end, a total of 107 neighborhood "small libraries" are operated in addition to 12 large municipal libraries. These libraries offer a variety of literary and educational programs, and provide venues for various literary clubs and reading groups organized by local residents. They also operate mobile libraries using six large buses, a crucial service for residents in areas or situations allowing little access to books.
Moreover, the libraries' purchase and promote the publications of local authors. Together they manage a total of 290,000 library members, and jointly promote local bookstores, hold lectures by writers, recommend books and advertise various other events to all library members in Bucheon. They also actively promote diverse programs hosted by other cultural institutions in the city (literary organizations, cultural foundations, comics museums, etc.). To utilize local bookstores as reading centers and cultural spaces, the city has worked with the bookstores to promote programs such as "Books of Bucheon" and "The Most Popular Library Books," and from 2016 has particularly expanded "Meet the Author" events and writing classes.
Bucheon Small Library Society (founded in 2000), a civic organization, actively gets involved with the municipality's literary activities. The organization is formed by the representatives of various civic groups in Bucheon such as labor, social welfare and religious groups. Its main focus is the further spread of libraries in the municipality on residents' own initiative. It runs a total of 18 libraries as of today with a goal of building a library in each community. The small libraries established by the organization are used as community cultural centers featuring library civic schools, literary lectures, library festivals, and international seminars.
First, libraries in Bucheon offer free book delivery service to promote reading and improve accessibility to library services. Since 2000, the city has been opening more libraries to ensure that there is one within a 10-minute walk for all residents. Also residents can apply for books from public libraries or university libraries to be delivered to the small library closest to home, usually located at community centers, welfare centers, traditional markets, religious facilities or apartment complexes. The city government spends around 200,000 USD on this service every year.
In addition, for the elderly or those with disabilities libraries also deliver books to the home free of charge. Up to 25 publications can be borrowed each month - five times a month, five books each time -and received at home. A free delivery service is also available for pregnant women and young children. Called "My First Library Service," it allows people who cannot easily visit libraries to loan up to five books two times a month and gives access to libraries not only in Bucheon but major libraries across the country. The service is jointly operated with Gyeonggi-do Province, and an average of over 2,000 books are delivered across Bucheon daily, with 843,000 people using the service every year.
Second, Bucheon offers specialized library services to foreign nationals. There are almost 20,000 registered foreign nationals living in Bucheon. In 1995, the city opened Bucheon Foreign Workers' House to protect the human rights of foreign laborers in the community, and since 2011 it has been operating two libraries customized for foreigners and immigrants. The libraries hold foreign language publications, including audio-visual materials, and also offer various literary programs including "Book Start for Young Children." Around 4,500 foreigners use the libraries every year. Bukbu Library in Dodang-dong, Wonmi-gu where there is a high foreign population has more than 8,200 publications and DVDs in 12 foreign languages including Chinese, Mongolian, and Vietnamese, as well as a multicultural reference hall with international periodicals.
For multicultural families, Bucheon provides Korean language education, translation and interpretation service, child language development support, and parent education programs. It also offers educational programs designed to promote cultural diversity with around 4,800 people participating annually. In cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding Under the Auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO APCEIU), the city provides related programs such as global citizenship education through literature, and reading and writing programs to enhance Korean language literacy.
Third, Bucheon offers library services for the visually impaired. The city supported the establishment of a private Braille Library in 1992, and in 2008 opened Haemil Library, which produces and distributes materials for the visually impaired (Braille, recordings, tactile materials) and delivers books for free. Operated by a social welfare corporation specializing in services for the disabled, it holds 66,000 books, including audio books and electronic materials, and produces materials designed to help the visually impaired access diverse works of literature. To improve public understanding and awareness of visual impairment, Bucheon runs visual disability experience programs, the Braille Academy, and audio book production programs, and also supports Braille education and diverse clubs of the visually impaired.
The Bucheon Cultural Foundation, established in October 2001, is the first cultural foundation in Korea to be created by a local government. Headquartered at Boksagol Cultural Center it has carries out cultural policy research, performance projects, cultural welfare projects, and cultural education projects, including special programs for women and youth. The foundation is a partner in realizing Bucheon's "Cultural City" policies of Bucheon, and is benchmarked by local governments nationwide. Boksagol Cultural Center has integrated cultural and welfare functions for children, youth and women, presenting a model for multifunctional cultural spaces. Since 2015, the city government's Department of Women and Youth has been promoting the establishment of Bucheon Woman and Youth Foundation while playing a key role in the support of writers by promoting policy research and cultural diversity, and boosting culture and arts education and professionalism in the performing arts industry.
The city has continued to increase the Bucheon Cultural Foundation's annual budget, which reached 7.8 million USD in 2016. Of the total, the Foundation allocated 714,000 USD to promotion of Bucheon's cultural policies and cultural activities, culture and arts education, and the expansion of cultural welfare.
Bucheon Cultural Center is a non-profit cultural and arts organization established in 1966 to enhance the cultural welfare of Bucheon residents through the preservation of local materials and the implementation of local cultural projects. It has laid the foundation for residents’ direct engagement in cultural events, enabling them to take the lead in the city's cultural development, and actively supports local artists and artists' clubs.
Support for local artists' creative activities is provided through the Bucheon branch of the FACO (Federation of Artistic & Cultural Organizations of Korea). Currently, around 178,000 USD is allocated annually to the organization, which plays a leading role in supporting local artists' creative activities.
The Korea Manhwa Contents Agency is a state organization formed in 2009 through expansion and reorganization of the Bucheon Manhwa Information Center. Of its annual operating budget of 14 million USD, the city of Bucheon provides 4.4 million USD. The agency is equipped with diverse facilities such as the Comics Library (270,000 comic books), Cartoon Movie Theater, Comics Archive (100,000 works) and an exhibition hall. The agency also runs the Comics Creative Studio to support artists. On the business side, it operates the Manhwa Business Center and Manhwa Artists' Forest to boost the local distribution and export of manhwa (cartoons and comics) products and the development of character products.