OWL Magazine Korea

Book Sharing Volunteer Activity at “SOS Child Protection Center” in Daegu

Looking back at an article I wrote a while ago, the experience feels fresh. Even though it’s the same internet environment, the internet culture of the 2000s seems quite different from today’s. Perhaps the past internet environment might have been technologically lacking compared to now, but it had its own charm, or so I think.

The following is a post I’m writing after revisiting my 2009 article about the “Daegu SOS Child Protection Center Book Sharing” event.

“Natural offline gatherings stemming from past online culture”

Whether it’s because times have changed or because I’ve aged, nowadays it seems rare for connections made online to transition to offline friendships. Ironically, in the past, there was a certain charm in online connections evolving into offline meet-ups. Starting a blog on Tistory in 2008 naturally formed an online community, and occasionally, these online connections led to offline meet-ups. Reading blog posts from neighbors about their experiences of transitioning from online to offline meet-ups was quite common, especially among bloggers active in Seoul. This made me envious as I was living in Daegu at the time.

However, in 2009, there was a similar meet-up in Daegu. On September 26, 2009, a book donation event organized through the “Sharing Blog” took place, where many people gathered and donated books to be delivered to an organization.

“Daegu SOS Child Protection Center Book Sharing”

Fortunately, the Daegu SOS Child Protection Center was not far from where I lived, and I was able to attend. I hitched a ride with a blogger neighbor I knew, “Hampy Family,” and on our way, we also met another blogger, “Yoonppo.” At the Child Protection Center, we encountered two more blogger neighbors, “Adios” and “Beongeori Naenggaseum.”

While it was initially a bit awkward meeting people I only knew online, the shared purpose of engaging in volunteer work naturally eased the awkwardness.

After arriving at the center and exchanging greetings with the director, we began the task at hand.

“Moving books to the library on the 3rd floor”

Once greetings were done, it was time to get to work. Our task for the day was to move the books we had gathered through donations to the library on the 3rd floor. With a considerable number of boxes, over 10 in total, the task seemed challenging. However, with the help of strong young individuals, mostly in their 20s and 30s, including myself, moving the books turned out to be quite manageable.

After relocating the books to the 3rd floor, we started organizing them. Seeing that the existing books were not well organized, “Adios” suggested taking out everything, categorizing them clearly, and placing them back neatly. Following this suggestion, we took out all the books, categorized them by age group, and filled the shelves accordingly. The bottom shelf held books for toddlers, the second for elementary school students, the third for middle school level, and the top shelf for adult-level books.

All the bloggers participating in the volunteer activity worked diligently to classify and organize the books, and despite the unexpectedly short time it took, we successfully completed the task. After arranging the bookshelves, we took a group photo.

The individuals in the photo were as follows:

“After completing the volunteer activity…”

After finishing the volunteer activity, Earthworm quickly went home due to the not-so-good condition of a family member who had joined us. The rest of us stayed behind, had a drink, and engaged in casual conversation.

After spending some time chatting, some bloggers left, and the last three remaining—Adios, Beongeori Naenggaseum, and I—walked along Dongseong-ro, spending more time together. Unfortunately, as everyone at that time was single, we jokingly quoted the popular line from a comedy show, “It’s bitter…,” adding a touch of humor to our time together.

“Our book-sharing activity featured in the newspaper”

The book-sharing activity we carried out at that time was also featured in the newspaper. On October 17, 2009, an article was published by Nocut News, describing how bloggers led by Park Jung-il (pen name Adios) gathered a significant number of books through their network and quickly delivered them to the SOS Child Protection Center. The article emphasized the joy of sharing and meeting people from online connections in real life. It quoted Adios, saying, “Sharing the experience afterward on each other’s blogs adds another layer of joy. Why do we do this? It’s not for a specific purpose but because it’s enjoyable. Both blogging and sharing.”

Additionally, the article included pictures from the event, although it didn’t share any personal details such as names or blog addresses. Despite this, it was a proud moment to see our activity being acknowledged in the newspaper for the first time.

“Participants in the book-sharing activity”

For the first book-sharing event, which lasted about 100 days of planning and 30 days of execution, over 30 people participated, contributing a total of 362 books, including book vouchers. The books were donated to the SOS Child Protection Center. The list below includes the names of those who participated and the books they donated.

“Continuation with the 2nd round of book-sharing activity”

Following the success of the 1st round, the activity extended to the 2nd round of book-sharing. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn’t actively participate in the 2nd round. However, I did manage to visit the center during the process and left behind the books I had prepared. Looking at the blog posts from other participants, it seemed like they enjoyed the process and felt a sense of accomplishment.

Reflecting on the event, I believe that this offline meeting, which originated from online connections, was significant not only for the children who received the books but also for the participants. It allowed us to experience the joy of sharing, collaboration, and the power of community. The memories of that day are still vivid, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been part of such a meaningful activity.

I hope that more people can experience the joy of offline gatherings that stem from online connections. In today’s digital age, where online interactions are prevalent, fostering meaningful connections offline is a valuable and rewarding experience.