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The Municipal Library: An Assessment of the First Five Months

It has been five months since the administration of the Municipal Library passed to the volunteers of the Friends of the Library group. An initial evaluation of the activities of this period seem to confirm that the results of the enterprise have been largely positive.

At the height of the summer season, the Library opened regularly at the advertised time; as of this week, it will also be opening on Tuesdays (6-8 pm). According to the loans registry, a total of 530 loans to adult and young readers were logged during this first period, while 112 Kytherians and permanent residents have so far acquired library membership (which is, of course, free of charge). There have been 47 separate new book donations, ranging from a single volume to several dozens.

At the same time, thanks to the generosity of Australian and Californian Kytherians, the Library has been enabled to acquire essential equipment, ranging from a new computer, scanner and printer to window blinds, office supplies and storage furniture. Apart from such financial assistance, many local Kytherians have also contributed their labour and services.

During the course of the summer, many Greek and foreign friends of the island visited the library, as well as many of the Kytherian diaspora. Amongst numerous others, we note the visits of the Very Reverend Serafeim, Bishop of Kythera, of professor George Huxley and Mrs Huxley, of the politician Stratis Stratigis and of the archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos.

The single most impressive development of the summer has been the radical redesign and landscaping of the extensive library grounds undertaken by George Poulos with funding from the Aroney Trust, the Kytherian Brotherhoods of Australia and California and, not least, from his own resources. This has resulted in a beautiful space designed by the distinguished architect Elias Vassiliadis, equally suitable for quiet, solitary reading or populous cultural events. By the same occasion, essential maintenance was carried out on the external fabric of the building, including fitting new rain gutters and completely repainting the façade. The building work was carried out impeccably and in record time by Refaat Khalil under the supervision of engineer Yannis Schinas.

Inside the library, work continues on organising and classifying both the older stock and the newly donated books. With the beginning of the new scholastic year next month, we look forward to a renewed collaboration with the island’s schools, as well as to a continuation of the very successful activities organised by the volunteers of the children’s’ group.

John Stathatos
for the Friends of the Library volunteer group The Municipal Library: An Assessment of the First Five Months - Courtyard finished 01s

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