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submitted by Kythera Library on 14.11.2013

Children assisting volunteers to place books in the Childrens Library

....which is part of the Kytherian Municipal Library.

Kytherian Municipal Library

The kythera-family.net, Main Page

See also, www.facebook.com/KytheraLibrary.

This facebook site is devoted to the new public library in the village of Kontolianika, which amongst other services is running a paperback exchange scheme. The library is staffed by volunteers. Opening times are: 6-8 pm except for Sundays & Tuesdays, and 10.00-3.00 pm Saturdays.

DONATIONS to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library requires ongoing financial assistance, in order to continue to provide the high level of service that it has instigated over the past few years.

If you wish to donate to this extrordinary Kytherian public resource, you can deposit funds directly into:

National Bank of Greece
ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ
GR28 0110 3800 0000 3802 9603 891
Swift - Bic: ETHNGRAA

In Australia, contact George Poulos.
George Poulos, email
Or, phone, Sydney, (02) 93888320

In America, contact Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, Corresponding Secretary of the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA):
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, email

Where is the Library located?

The Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library. The sunshine version .

The Municipal Library of Kythera is located just off the central road through Kythera. If you take the Ayios Ilias turn off, it is the first building you see on your right hand side.

Ayios Elias turnoff to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Library is located near the centre of the island. In the map provided, it's exact position is the dot "i" in the word Kondelianika - just a little below where the bottom edge of the letter "L" spells "Lib" for "Library, in blue.

Location of the Municipal Library of Kythera

To gain a clearer picture download a .pdf of the map here:

MAP Location of Municipal Library of Kythera Lib.pdf

Interior of the Library

The main room in the Kytherian Muncipal Library

The main library room is spacious, and houses many significant books. The shelving continues around all walls in the main room. The shelving depicted was provided by Kytherians from California. The full story of how Cynthia Cavalenes helped organise a container of shelving to be delivered from the Alhambra Municipality to Kythera is related below in this entry.

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library.

It contains many of the books that formed the Children's Library at Livathi, which had to unfortunately close down. This childrens library has been resurrected within the Kytherian Municipal Library. Children borrow books form this library consistently. They also attend in sizable school groups and undertake various activities. In this photograph the library has been set up for "chess classes"..

The Archive and storage room of the Kytherian Municpal Library. It lies on the left hand side as you first enter the Library. (Opposite the Children's Library). In October 2013 a door was placed in this room. The room also contains a steel shelving unit, to house more valuable books, files and archives. In October 2013 the precious Koksma archive was placed there.

A storage room (apothiki) has been constructed on the eastern (Ayios Elias) side of the Library. It has a sloping roof down to the exterior fence wall. This is the view from the exterior of the storage room.

This is the entry and passageway into the large storage room in the Kytherian Municipal Library. It opens up into a much larger space in the farthest / northern part of the room.

The storage room is quite spacious. It is a very necessary area of the building, as more and more persons are donating books to the Library.

Well appointed toilets have been constructed next to the large storage room. One of them caters to diabled persons. An wheelchair access ramp to the tiolets was built during the August 2013 renovation of the building.

Donated books awaiting cataloguing. Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donating superior books in large quantities. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

Refurbishment and transformation of the Library. August 2013

The transformation was undertaken with the generous assitance of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (KAA) both located in Sydney, Australia, and the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA), based in Los Angeles, USA.

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library in 2012. Note the freshly painted walls. Painting was undertaken in the summer of 2013.

The courtyard of the Municipal Library in 2011-June 2013, in need of refurbishment

The courtyard as it existed 2011- April 2013, was grossly inadequate. It discouraged persons attending the Library at all.

Superb end product following the refurbishment of the rear courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The courtyard after the refurbishment of August 2013. This is the view from the rear door to the archway on the eastern wall. The condition of the courtyard now is a great improvement to the state of the courtyard as it existed in the years leading up to mid-2013.

Looking over the beautifully constructed eastern wall into the courtyard

View of the courtyard facing the township of Ayios Elias. The pergola has been constructed on the northern wall.

Pergola against the northern wall in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The pergola on the northern wall of the courtyard. This has been equipped with electrical power and lighting, and can now be used for evening cultural events and performances.

The indefatigable volunteers

The opening of the Library has been a great source of pride for residents of the island, as well as those living in the Kytherian diaspora.

The Library functions because of the dedication of a number of volunteers. Two of the main "drivers" have been John Stathatos and Dimitris Koutrafouris.

John Stathatos (centre) introducing Professor and Mrs George Huxley to the library during the course of their 2013 visit to the island

Dimitris Koutrafouris is an extremely dedicated volunteer to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Dimitris Koutrafouris is very dedicated to the Library, and spends innumerable hours there. Here he is entering details about a book into the Central catalogue. Many persons are donating books to the Library in large quantities.

Other volunteers who work tirelessly include, Sara Scopsi-Tzanne, Yianna Karavokyri, Heleni Rousketou, and Fotini Yiamtsidou.

These volunteers are assisted by Maria Lourantou (teacher in Chora Primary School), Heleni Drivakou (teacher in Potamos Primary School), Maria Lepoura (chess teacher), Sofia Nezi and Alex Veneris.

Note that the volunteers conceive the function of Library to be much more than a mere lending library. In addition it will act as a research institution, and a centre of culture for the island of Kythera, fostering, art, theatre, poetry, photography, and audiovisual creativity, amongst other activities. The Library is also heavily integrated with the schools on the island, providing a venue for many school students activities, as can be evidenced by photographs that appear later in this entry. Above all the volunteers want the Library to be "zodino" (alive) - a place where multifarious activities occur on an on-going basis.

Summer 2013 building developments. How the renovations and transformation occurred.

It was decided in 2012, that the exterior of the Library needed a good makeover and landscaping.

Design for the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

The design depicted was created pro bono by architect Elias Vassiliadis.

Download a .pdf of the landscaping plan here:

SXOLEIO KONTOLIANIKA.pdf

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Engineer, Ioannis Skinna, George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

Ioannis Skinna also offered his services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, and Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, John Stathatos, Director of the Kytherian Cultural Association, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Grammos re-building the piers for the pergola in the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

Master tradesman Grammos had to rebuild the original columns for the pergola from the start.

Architect, Elias Vassiliadis, incorporated the inspired idea of incorporating a "bezoula" in the courtyard. Visitors to the courtyard automatically gravitate to the "bezoula" and inevitably sit on it. It will also be useful as extra sitting space for both day and nightime events which will be held in the Library's courtyard.

The "bezoula" (sitting bench) being built. The large construction team worked efficiently and quickly to refurbish the courtyard. .

The Library Committee decided to lay "coritzo" in the courtyard. The finish is aesthetically beautiful and will last a long time.

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 2

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 3

The old iron, rusty and dangerous ironwork on the southern wall (closest to camera) was removed, and a stone wall, in keeping with other walls around the exterior of the Library, constructed in it's place.

The ironwork wall as it existed (all the way along the Eastern wall), before the August 2013 renovation of Kytherian Municipal Library

The vegetation from the adjoining block, that had overgrown this wall was removed, at the same time as the iron fence top. One of the advantages of this action, was that the owner of the neighbouring, Panayotis Defterevos (Panayotis Rent A Car), upon seeing his property cleared and levelled out, very kindly offered the very sizable adjoining space as a car park, to cater for events that will be staged at the Library in the future.

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library. The building had been constructed and maintained without a gutter to take water away from the walls. This would have caused inevitable dampness problems inside the building in due course.

Note that the paint work on the walls is of a very low standard. The entire Library was re-painted during August 2013, which enhanced the aesthetic and water-proofing capacity of the building immeasurably.

2012-2013

Dimitris Koutrafouris, Spokesman for the Library, and Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora, Kythera. Long term vision for the island, and a deep thank you to the volunteers


It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island. That has been achieved as a result of persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum.

The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Children unpacking and enjoying the books

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power. It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.

Children undertake many activities at the Library

Children performing school work at the Library. Children undertake many activities here, that they would otherwise not be encouraged to perform.

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library

Young Kytherians learning how to play chess, under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use in the Library.

Children playing in the newly constructed courtyard Because the construction of the yard was 'coritzo' tiles on concrete, this enables the children to really enjoy the courtyard facilities.

It is not all play for the children. They also help to run and maintain the Library. Here children help to sort and stack books for the Children's Library.

Fall 2013

for the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris

See also, April 2013 Report by George C Poulos. George is an Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Re-design of the Courtyard - 2012-2013

One of the "finishing touches" that needs to be completed is the re-design of the external (back) courtyard. Architect Elias Vassiliadis has very kindly drawn up - free of charge - a plan drawn for the library grounds. The cost estimate for the work is approximately 11,000 euro's. The Library Committee and overseas friends hope to secure the money, fairly quickly, so they can put this work out to tender.

The design is elegant. There will be two alternative specifications for the covered area at the back, (6), one calling for a lightweight wood and bamboo pergola, and the other for a more substantial tiled roof; this will require two alternative cost figures. One substantially higher than the other. In either case, the covered area will be open at the front and sides.

The curved wall (1) will be of roughly dressed stone with a smooth upper surface, 50 cm high, so as to provide extra seating. Between this low wall and the boundary wall will be an area for planting, as will be area (3) alongside the access path.

Area (2), under the pergola and in front of the steps leading up to the library, will be smooth concrete, probably with some stone and terracotta decorative elements. Likewise the approach path, (4).

The main area of the courtyard, (5) will be fine gravel over a base layer of coarse gravel. Not only is this a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly than concreting everything, it also allows for natural drainage. If, instead, we were to concrete or seal the entire area, we would also have to provide for underground drainage. Insulated electrical outlets and water points will be provided along the perimeter wall.

The Library Committe, and overseas Friends have also asked for estimates for the provision of guttering for the main building, including buried drainage of the runoff.

2011

A Municipal Library. Considered critical infrastructure in most countries in the world.


The new municipal library is planned to open in Kondeleanika, Kythera. It is fully refurbished, and ready to be "fitted out" to fulfill its purpose - to become the first accessible lending library on the island of Kythera for 6,000 years.

The problem seems to be that Municipality of Kythera, has run out of money to equip it properly.

In Greece, Provinces (States) and the National government take no economic responsibility for local Libraries. This is a tragedy.

In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There is no town with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera, that does not have a well established and equipped library, in place.

The citizens of a town of this size would not tolerate not having an operational Library. It would be considered unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The Americans enter the campaign:

A group of Americans, under the leadership of Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis of Alhambra, California which is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, were inspired by Kythera's Mayor, Theodore Koukoulis to provide shelving for the library. Cynthia, her two sisters (Candace Weiss and Toni Cavalenes) and her cousin (Kendra Rosner) met the Mayor in September 2008 while visiting in the Municipality of Kythera building. This meeting was arranged through George Poulos, Public Relations Officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia, and Trustee of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. At that meeting Cynthia inquired what the needs of Kythera are and the Mayor responded "bookshelves" for the proposed library.

Cynthia organised the financing for the Bookshelves Project in the USA, and George Poulos, under the auspices of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, organised funds in Australia. By May 2009, Cynthia could report "that we have come a long way in the fund raising. If everyone that committed funds comes through we have raised $6,460. That leaves us with a need for $1,540 more for shipping plus the cost of the container, $2,500. I have no doubt we will get there. We still have some fund raising events up our sleeves, but I haven't had time to work on them just yet".

By the end of the Bookshelves Project she could report with some pride: "This project certainly does qualify as "great." If it did not, we would not have had so many people and organizations supporting it. We have had eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who have donated to this cause. I think as a grass roots project, that speaks volumes."

Just days after returning from her first visit to Kythera, Cynthia found the inspiraation for this project. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Alhambra's new municipal library, she realized that the City (where she works) may no longer need the bookshelves that remained in the decommissioned old library and that there could be an oppotunity to obtain some of them for Kythera's proposed library of which Mayor Koukoulis had spoken.

Photographs of the shelving in situ in California

Although locating bookshelves and obtaining them may appear to be an easy task, the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining property belonging to a municipality can be quite daunting. In January 2009, Cynthia reported: "I just received a message from the Director of Public Works who states that used bookshelves do not have much value on the auction market and are only worth about $120 per ton for the recycled steel, minus the agents commission. The shelves will have to be declared surplus and of no significant value, at which time I will be able to obtain them for Kythera for the suggested price of $1 per shelf unit. I accepted that price without hesitation. It might only cost about $100 to purchase the shelves.

I have a tentative February 10th presentation date with the Rotary to see if they will assist in this project. Also, since I am a member of the Soroptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, I might be able to convince them to help with the project. The shipping might cost about $10,000 and the soroptimists' help in fundraising will be invaluable. I'll know more after the presentations.

The City is anxious to mobilize removal of the shelves, so as I expected, I am under a tight timeframe to move them out of the old library."

Cynthia also faced numerous additional logistical challenges.
A. How to remove the shelving units from the old Alhambra Library, and where to store them?

In August 2009 Cynthia reported "We don't have the container yet. Half the shelves are stored indoors at a warehouse that belongs to a Rotarian and half are stored in my backyard (It's summer here so it's alright & they are covered). But they have to be moved before the rains come.

The City didn't want volunteers to dismantle the shelves in the City owned library building for liability reasons, so City staff moved them out of the library, but they cannot be stored on City property. It took a crew of six people a week to dismantle and bundle the components for the shelves. They transported them to Al's Towing in Alhambra where they are stored until we can shiip them.

It took a huge effort to get the shelves dismantled and into storage and it was very chaotic. I left someone else in charge who's concept differred from mine. Once I inventoried the equipment, I found that we didn't have the proper number and size of shelves to go with the respective frames so another work party was dispatched (2 more days) to go back into the old library to gather the pieces we were missing. The second batch was transported to my backyard. Another tricky piece of the puzzle - now that the shelves are out of the old library, City staff can't be used to load the container. A local church that has offered help from their youth group, but volunteer labor can be unpredictable and I am worried about the continuity of the project. Although many of the staff that have been working on this project might offer to volunteer to load the container, as the director of the department for which they work I can't allow that because it could be perceived as coercion from me. So the Soroptimists will provide a stipend to them (funded through the fundraising effort) for their work. One of the staff happens to also work for a shipping company. He has experience organizing the loading of containers. I have asked him (on behalf of the Soroptimists) to be the lead person in the task of loading of the container. So between the City staff who are familiar with the project and the volunteers from the church the container will be properly loaded.

I won't lie, it's been a difficult project. I've lost a lot of sleep over the whole thing. The nice thing is that all of these people really are dedicated to the project, so I know they will come through. I am trying to get the shelves shipped in the next couple of weeks, but I can't bring the container into the warehouse until we are ready to ship because of the inconvenience it will cause the warehouse owner. Now that I am telling the shipper I'm ready to move forward, I am getting frustrating information from them."

B. Will it be better to own the shipping container the shelves are to be sent in, or just use the one provided by the shipper?

One of Cynthia's contacts advised her that "most people don't own the container. I think there is more paperwork involved and it might be more work to pass through Customs. So I think shippers don't want to deal with that and try to discourage it."

Although there would be no additonal charge to use a container provided by the international shipping company, once the container arrived in Pireaus the load would have to moved to another container (at a cost to the project for the labor to do so) because the international shipper did not service Kythera and for liablity reasons could not allow their container to be loaded onto another vessel. The cost of shipping from Pireaus to Kythera would be $1,500 U.S. Once the container arrived on Kythera it would have to be immediately unloaded and returned to the vessel. Any additional time on the island would result in a rental charge for the container. The transport of the emplty container back to Pireaus would cost an additional $1,500 U.S. After extensive research, Cynthia located a "sea worthy" container with the appropriate inspection certificate at a cost of $2,500 U.S. Determining that the cost of transferring the load in Piraeus, potentially paying rent while the container was on Kythera and shipping the container back to Piraeus could be just as costly and possibly more costly, than purchasing the container outright, Cynthia decided purchasing the container was the better choice.

C. Can a free or inexpensive location be found to store the shelves until they could be shipped?

If storage space had to be rented it would prove costly. Ultimately space in a warehouse in Alhambra was donated by Rotarian, Al Pavone, owner of Al's Towing which had limited indoor space that could be used to store the shelves. This saved a tremendous amount of money since the shelves were in storage for approximately six months before they could be shipped. "We are finalizing our inventory to see what components we still need to get from the old library before we ship. We have been authorized to go back into the building and take whatever we still need. We are in really good shape. It looks like we have about 30-eight foot long wall sections, about 25-eight foot long free standing double sided sections, and 2-eight foot long display/counter units. The next hurdle will be weight. these bookshelves are steel. They are HEAVY!!! Hopefully we will be able to send the whole lot.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if they could go Kythera to help reassemble the bookshelves on the island. I told the staff that disassembled them that I'm sure they would be welcome, but they would have to fund their own way there. I'm attaching a photo of the crew with some of the dismantled shelves in the background.

Everyone is really excited about this project!"

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli posted an extended report on the Message Board, 31.05.2009.

The Shelving project was reported in the kythera-family Newsletter in June, 2009 , and July, 2009

John Stathatos acts as the Kytherian connection

John Stathatos is a great advocate for Hellenic and Kytherian culture on the island. He is the Director of the Kythera Cultural Association. John has been engaged in numerous cultural Projects, such as Photographic Encounters, and the restoration of the Fatseas collection of photographs, which were featured in a Benaki Museum exhibition.

He is a great advocate for the Municipal Library.
In October 2009, he wrote to Cindy and George advising / asking that:

1. You may add my name to any document. My address is Strapodi, Chora, Kythera 80100.
2. The container will be unloaded alongside or behind the new municipal library in Agios Elias, Kythera.
3. There is equipment on the island to unload the container. I will try to find out the cost, and can probably get it done for free, but I obviously need a few days to get the details.
4. Has Tina (Anoni) chosen a haulage company to carry the container from Piraeus to Kythera? If not, I might be able to get a discount rate from a local trucking company. Again, I would need till Monday or Tuesday to confirm this.
5. I saw the mayor today and brought him up to date.
6. Do we have even a very rough ballpark figure for arrival on Kythera?

On the 12th January, 2010, the shelving arrived on Kythera, and was unpacked on the same day, and packed away safely in the Library at Kontolianika.

John Stathatos announced:

"As it happened, the right crane to offload the whole container was out of commission. Fortunately work had finished on the inside of the library, which is nice and dry, so I got the municipality to provide some labour, and we got everything unloaded in a couple of hours.

Above, are couple of photos; we’ll take more when it comes time to assemble the shelves. (See below).

Congratulations on completing the final lap of your grand project!"

The Project was written up in the December 2009 issue of Kytheraismos newspaper

Cynthia sent an excited email to her many Shelving Project supporters:

"This is so coool! See article below regarding bookshelves project. It was run in the local Kytherian newspaper, Kytheraismos, and is posted on the kythera-family.net website. I know most of you cannot read it so once I get the translation, I'll send it along.

Gay (Kinman - a fellow Soroptimist)! you made the paper!!!! Aren't you glad you showed up that cold morning for the loading of the container?????

Organisations mentioned (that I can recognize - I don't speak or read Greek) - Alhambra, Soroptimist International, Rotary, Kythera Society of CA, Kythera Association of AU, Kythera Association of NY."

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kythera Library on 14.11.2013

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library.

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use there.

Kytherian Municipal Library

The kythera-family.net, Main Page

See also, www.facebook.com/KytheraLibrary.

This facebook site is devoted to the new public library in the village of Kontolianika, which amongst other services is running a paperback exchange scheme. The library is staffed by volunteers. Opening times are: 6-8 pm except for Sundays & Tuesdays, and 10.00-3.00 pm Saturdays.

DONATIONS to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library requires ongoing financial assistance, in order to continue to provide the high level of service that it has instigated over the past few years.

If you wish to donate to this extrordinary Kytherian public resource, you can deposit funds directly into:

National Bank of Greece
ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ
GR28 0110 3800 0000 3802 9603 891
Swift - Bic: ETHNGRAA

In Australia, contact George Poulos.
George Poulos, email
Or, phone, Sydney, (02) 93888320

In America, contact Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, Corresponding Secretary of the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA):
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, email

Where is the Library located?

The Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library. The sunshine version .

The Municipal Library of Kythera is located just off the central road through Kythera. If you take the Ayios Ilias turn off, it is the first building you see on your right hand side.

Ayios Elias turnoff to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Library is located near the centre of the island. In the map provided, it's exact position is the dot "i" in the word Kondelianika - just a little below where the bottom edge of the letter "L" spells "Lib" for "Library, in blue.

Location of the Municipal Library of Kythera

To gain a clearer picture download a .pdf of the map here:

MAP Location of Municipal Library of Kythera Lib.pdf

Interior of the Library

The main room in the Kytherian Muncipal Library

The main library room is spacious, and houses many significant books. The shelving continues around all walls in the main room. The shelving depicted was provided by Kytherians from California. The full story of how Cynthia Cavalenes helped organise a container of shelving to be delivered from the Alhambra Municipality to Kythera is related below in this entry.

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library.

It contains many of the books that formed the Children's Library at Livathi, which had to unfortunately close down. This childrens library has been resurrected within the Kytherian Municipal Library. Children borrow books form this library consistently. They also attend in sizable school groups and undertake various activities. In this photograph the library has been set up for "chess classes"..

The Archive and storage room of the Kytherian Municpal Library. It lies on the left hand side as you first enter the Library. (Opposite the Children's Library). In October 2013 a door was placed in this room. The room also contains a steel shelving unit, to house more valuable books, files and archives. In October 2013 the precious Koksma archive was placed there.

A storage room (apothiki) has been constructed on the eastern (Ayios Elias) side of the Library. It has a sloping roof down to the exterior fence wall. This is the view from the exterior of the storage room.

This is the entry and passageway into the large storage room in the Kytherian Municipal Library. It opens up into a much larger space in the farthest / northern part of the room.

The storage room is quite spacious. It is a very necessary area of the building, as more and more persons are donating books to the Library.

Well appointed toilets have been constructed next to the large storage room. One of them caters to diabled persons. An wheelchair access ramp to the tiolets was built during the August 2013 renovation of the building.

Donated books awaiting cataloguing. Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donating superior books in large quantities. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

Refurbishment and transformation of the Library. August 2013

The transformation was undertaken with the generous assitance of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (KAA) both located in Sydney, Australia, and the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA), based in Los Angeles, USA.

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library in 2012. Note the freshly painted walls. Painting was undertaken in the summer of 2013.

The courtyard of the Municipal Library in 2011-June 2013, in need of refurbishment

The courtyard as it existed 2011- April 2013, was grossly inadequate. It discouraged persons attending the Library at all.

Superb end product following the refurbishment of the rear courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The courtyard after the refurbishment of August 2013. This is the view from the rear door to the archway on the eastern wall. The condition of the courtyard now is a great improvement to the state of the courtyard as it existed in the years leading up to mid-2013.

Looking over the beautifully constructed eastern wall into the courtyard

View of the courtyard facing the township of Ayios Elias. The pergola has been constructed on the northern wall.

Pergola against the northern wall in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The pergola on the northern wall of the courtyard. This has been equipped with electrical power and lighting, and can now be used for evening cultural events and performances.

The indefatigable volunteers

The opening of the Library has been a great source of pride for residents of the island, as well as those living in the Kytherian diaspora.

The Library functions because of the dedication of a number of volunteers. Two of the main "drivers" have been John Stathatos and Dimitris Koutrafouris.

John Stathatos (centre) introducing Professor and Mrs George Huxley to the library during the course of their 2013 visit to the island

Dimitris Koutrafouris is an extremely dedicated volunteer to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Dimitris Koutrafouris is very dedicated to the Library, and spends innumerable hours there. Here he is entering details about a book into the Central catalogue. Many persons are donating books to the Library in large quantities.

Other volunteers who work tirelessly include, Sara Scopsi-Tzanne, Yianna Karavokyri, Heleni Rousketou, and Fotini Yiamtsidou.

These volunteers are assisted by Maria Lourantou (teacher in Chora Primary School), Heleni Drivakou (teacher in Potamos Primary School), Maria Lepoura (chess teacher), Sofia Nezi and Alex Veneris.

Note that the volunteers conceive the function of Library to be much more than a mere lending library. In addition it will act as a research institution, and a centre of culture for the island of Kythera, fostering, art, theatre, poetry, photography, and audiovisual creativity, amongst other activities. The Library is also heavily integrated with the schools on the island, providing a venue for many school students activities, as can be evidenced by photographs that appear later in this entry. Above all the volunteers want the Library to be "zodino" (alive) - a place where multifarious activities occur on an on-going basis.

Summer 2013 building developments. How the renovations and transformation occurred.

It was decided in 2012, that the exterior of the Library needed a good makeover and landscaping.

Design for the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

The design depicted was created pro bono by architect Elias Vassiliadis.

Download a .pdf of the landscaping plan here:

SXOLEIO KONTOLIANIKA.pdf

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Engineer, Ioannis Skinna, George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

Ioannis Skinna also offered his services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, and Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, John Stathatos, Director of the Kytherian Cultural Association, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Grammos re-building the piers for the pergola in the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

Master tradesman Grammos had to rebuild the original columns for the pergola from the start.

Architect, Elias Vassiliadis, incorporated the inspired idea of incorporating a "bezoula" in the courtyard. Visitors to the courtyard automatically gravitate to the "bezoula" and inevitably sit on it. It will also be useful as extra sitting space for both day and nightime events which will be held in the Library's courtyard.

The "bezoula" (sitting bench) being built. The large construction team worked efficiently and quickly to refurbish the courtyard. .

The Library Committee decided to lay "coritzo" in the courtyard. The finish is aesthetically beautiful and will last a long time.

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 2

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 3

The old iron, rusty and dangerous ironwork on the southern wall (closest to camera) was removed, and a stone wall, in keeping with other walls around the exterior of the Library, constructed in it's place.

The ironwork wall as it existed (all the way along the Eastern wall), before the August 2013 renovation of Kytherian Municipal Library

The vegetation from the adjoining block, that had overgrown this wall was removed, at the same time as the iron fence top. One of the advantages of this action, was that the owner of the neighbouring, Panayotis Defterevos (Panayotis Rent A Car), upon seeing his property cleared and levelled out, very kindly offered the very sizable adjoining space as a car park, to cater for events that will be staged at the Library in the future.

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library. The building had been constructed and maintained without a gutter to take water away from the walls. This would have caused inevitable dampness problems inside the building in due course.

Note that the paint work on the walls is of a very low standard. The entire Library was re-painted during August 2013, which enhanced the aesthetic and water-proofing capacity of the building immeasurably.

2012-2013

Dimitris Koutrafouris, Spokesman for the Library, and Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora, Kythera. Long term vision for the island, and a deep thank you to the volunteers


It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island. That has been achieved as a result of persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum.

The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Children unpacking and enjoying the books

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power. It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.

Children undertake many activities at the Library

Children performing school work at the Library. Children undertake many activities here, that they would otherwise not be encouraged to perform.

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library

Young Kytherians learning how to play chess, under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use in the Library.

Children playing in the newly constructed courtyard Because the construction of the yard was 'coritzo' tiles on concrete, this enables the children to really enjoy the courtyard facilities.

It is not all play for the children. They also help to run and maintain the Library. Here children help to sort and stack books for the Children's Library.

Fall 2013

for the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris

See also, April 2013 Report by George C Poulos. George is an Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Re-design of the Courtyard - 2012-2013

One of the "finishing touches" that needs to be completed is the re-design of the external (back) courtyard. Architect Elias Vassiliadis has very kindly drawn up - free of charge - a plan drawn for the library grounds. The cost estimate for the work is approximately 11,000 euro's. The Library Committee and overseas friends hope to secure the money, fairly quickly, so they can put this work out to tender.

The design is elegant. There will be two alternative specifications for the covered area at the back, (6), one calling for a lightweight wood and bamboo pergola, and the other for a more substantial tiled roof; this will require two alternative cost figures. One substantially higher than the other. In either case, the covered area will be open at the front and sides.

The curved wall (1) will be of roughly dressed stone with a smooth upper surface, 50 cm high, so as to provide extra seating. Between this low wall and the boundary wall will be an area for planting, as will be area (3) alongside the access path.

Area (2), under the pergola and in front of the steps leading up to the library, will be smooth concrete, probably with some stone and terracotta decorative elements. Likewise the approach path, (4).

The main area of the courtyard, (5) will be fine gravel over a base layer of coarse gravel. Not only is this a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly than concreting everything, it also allows for natural drainage. If, instead, we were to concrete or seal the entire area, we would also have to provide for underground drainage. Insulated electrical outlets and water points will be provided along the perimeter wall.

The Library Committe, and overseas Friends have also asked for estimates for the provision of guttering for the main building, including buried drainage of the runoff.

2011

A Municipal Library. Considered critical infrastructure in most countries in the world.


The new municipal library is planned to open in Kondeleanika, Kythera. It is fully refurbished, and ready to be "fitted out" to fulfill its purpose - to become the first accessible lending library on the island of Kythera for 6,000 years.

The problem seems to be that Municipality of Kythera, has run out of money to equip it properly.

In Greece, Provinces (States) and the National government take no economic responsibility for local Libraries. This is a tragedy.

In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There is no town with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera, that does not have a well established and equipped library, in place.

The citizens of a town of this size would not tolerate not having an operational Library. It would be considered unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The Americans enter the campaign:

A group of Americans, under the leadership of Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis of Alhambra, California which is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, were inspired by Kythera's Mayor, Theodore Koukoulis to provide shelving for the library. Cynthia, her two sisters (Candace Weiss and Toni Cavalenes) and her cousin (Kendra Rosner) met the Mayor in September 2008 while visiting in the Municipality of Kythera building. This meeting was arranged through George Poulos, Public Relations Officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia, and Trustee of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. At that meeting Cynthia inquired what the needs of Kythera are and the Mayor responded "bookshelves" for the proposed library.

Cynthia organised the financing for the Bookshelves Project in the USA, and George Poulos, under the auspices of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, organised funds in Australia. By May 2009, Cynthia could report "that we have come a long way in the fund raising. If everyone that committed funds comes through we have raised $6,460. That leaves us with a need for $1,540 more for shipping plus the cost of the container, $2,500. I have no doubt we will get there. We still have some fund raising events up our sleeves, but I haven't had time to work on them just yet".

By the end of the Bookshelves Project she could report with some pride: "This project certainly does qualify as "great." If it did not, we would not have had so many people and organizations supporting it. We have had eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who have donated to this cause. I think as a grass roots project, that speaks volumes."

Just days after returning from her first visit to Kythera, Cynthia found the inspiraation for this project. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Alhambra's new municipal library, she realized that the City (where she works) may no longer need the bookshelves that remained in the decommissioned old library and that there could be an oppotunity to obtain some of them for Kythera's proposed library of which Mayor Koukoulis had spoken.

Photographs of the shelving in situ in California

Although locating bookshelves and obtaining them may appear to be an easy task, the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining property belonging to a municipality can be quite daunting. In January 2009, Cynthia reported: "I just received a message from the Director of Public Works who states that used bookshelves do not have much value on the auction market and are only worth about $120 per ton for the recycled steel, minus the agents commission. The shelves will have to be declared surplus and of no significant value, at which time I will be able to obtain them for Kythera for the suggested price of $1 per shelf unit. I accepted that price without hesitation. It might only cost about $100 to purchase the shelves.

I have a tentative February 10th presentation date with the Rotary to see if they will assist in this project. Also, since I am a member of the Soroptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, I might be able to convince them to help with the project. The shipping might cost about $10,000 and the soroptimists' help in fundraising will be invaluable. I'll know more after the presentations.

The City is anxious to mobilize removal of the shelves, so as I expected, I am under a tight timeframe to move them out of the old library."

Cynthia also faced numerous additional logistical challenges.
A. How to remove the shelving units from the old Alhambra Library, and where to store them?

In August 2009 Cynthia reported "We don't have the container yet. Half the shelves are stored indoors at a warehouse that belongs to a Rotarian and half are stored in my backyard (It's summer here so it's alright & they are covered). But they have to be moved before the rains come.

The City didn't want volunteers to dismantle the shelves in the City owned library building for liability reasons, so City staff moved them out of the library, but they cannot be stored on City property. It took a crew of six people a week to dismantle and bundle the components for the shelves. They transported them to Al's Towing in Alhambra where they are stored until we can shiip them.

It took a huge effort to get the shelves dismantled and into storage and it was very chaotic. I left someone else in charge who's concept differred from mine. Once I inventoried the equipment, I found that we didn't have the proper number and size of shelves to go with the respective frames so another work party was dispatched (2 more days) to go back into the old library to gather the pieces we were missing. The second batch was transported to my backyard. Another tricky piece of the puzzle - now that the shelves are out of the old library, City staff can't be used to load the container. A local church that has offered help from their youth group, but volunteer labor can be unpredictable and I am worried about the continuity of the project. Although many of the staff that have been working on this project might offer to volunteer to load the container, as the director of the department for which they work I can't allow that because it could be perceived as coercion from me. So the Soroptimists will provide a stipend to them (funded through the fundraising effort) for their work. One of the staff happens to also work for a shipping company. He has experience organizing the loading of containers. I have asked him (on behalf of the Soroptimists) to be the lead person in the task of loading of the container. So between the City staff who are familiar with the project and the volunteers from the church the container will be properly loaded.

I won't lie, it's been a difficult project. I've lost a lot of sleep over the whole thing. The nice thing is that all of these people really are dedicated to the project, so I know they will come through. I am trying to get the shelves shipped in the next couple of weeks, but I can't bring the container into the warehouse until we are ready to ship because of the inconvenience it will cause the warehouse owner. Now that I am telling the shipper I'm ready to move forward, I am getting frustrating information from them."

B. Will it be better to own the shipping container the shelves are to be sent in, or just use the one provided by the shipper?

One of Cynthia's contacts advised her that "most people don't own the container. I think there is more paperwork involved and it might be more work to pass through Customs. So I think shippers don't want to deal with that and try to discourage it."

Although there would be no additonal charge to use a container provided by the international shipping company, once the container arrived in Pireaus the load would have to moved to another container (at a cost to the project for the labor to do so) because the international shipper did not service Kythera and for liablity reasons could not allow their container to be loaded onto another vessel. The cost of shipping from Pireaus to Kythera would be $1,500 U.S. Once the container arrived on Kythera it would have to be immediately unloaded and returned to the vessel. Any additional time on the island would result in a rental charge for the container. The transport of the emplty container back to Pireaus would cost an additional $1,500 U.S. After extensive research, Cynthia located a "sea worthy" container with the appropriate inspection certificate at a cost of $2,500 U.S. Determining that the cost of transferring the load in Piraeus, potentially paying rent while the container was on Kythera and shipping the container back to Piraeus could be just as costly and possibly more costly, than purchasing the container outright, Cynthia decided purchasing the container was the better choice.

C. Can a free or inexpensive location be found to store the shelves until they could be shipped?

If storage space had to be rented it would prove costly. Ultimately space in a warehouse in Alhambra was donated by Rotarian, Al Pavone, owner of Al's Towing which had limited indoor space that could be used to store the shelves. This saved a tremendous amount of money since the shelves were in storage for approximately six months before they could be shipped. "We are finalizing our inventory to see what components we still need to get from the old library before we ship. We have been authorized to go back into the building and take whatever we still need. We are in really good shape. It looks like we have about 30-eight foot long wall sections, about 25-eight foot long free standing double sided sections, and 2-eight foot long display/counter units. The next hurdle will be weight. these bookshelves are steel. They are HEAVY!!! Hopefully we will be able to send the whole lot.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if they could go Kythera to help reassemble the bookshelves on the island. I told the staff that disassembled them that I'm sure they would be welcome, but they would have to fund their own way there. I'm attaching a photo of the crew with some of the dismantled shelves in the background.

Everyone is really excited about this project!"

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli posted an extended report on the Message Board, 31.05.2009.

The Shelving project was reported in the kythera-family Newsletter in June, 2009 , and July, 2009

John Stathatos acts as the Kytherian connection

John Stathatos is a great advocate for Hellenic and Kytherian culture on the island. He is the Director of the Kythera Cultural Association. John has been engaged in numerous cultural Projects, such as Photographic Encounters, and the restoration of the Fatseas collection of photographs, which were featured in a Benaki Museum exhibition.

He is a great advocate for the Municipal Library.
In October 2009, he wrote to Cindy and George advising / asking that:

1. You may add my name to any document. My address is Strapodi, Chora, Kythera 80100.
2. The container will be unloaded alongside or behind the new municipal library in Agios Elias, Kythera.
3. There is equipment on the island to unload the container. I will try to find out the cost, and can probably get it done for free, but I obviously need a few days to get the details.
4. Has Tina (Anoni) chosen a haulage company to carry the container from Piraeus to Kythera? If not, I might be able to get a discount rate from a local trucking company. Again, I would need till Monday or Tuesday to confirm this.
5. I saw the mayor today and brought him up to date.
6. Do we have even a very rough ballpark figure for arrival on Kythera?

On the 12th January, 2010, the shelving arrived on Kythera, and was unpacked on the same day, and packed away safely in the Library at Kontolianika.

John Stathatos announced:

"As it happened, the right crane to offload the whole container was out of commission. Fortunately work had finished on the inside of the library, which is nice and dry, so I got the municipality to provide some labour, and we got everything unloaded in a couple of hours.

Above, are couple of photos; we’ll take more when it comes time to assemble the shelves. (See below).

Congratulations on completing the final lap of your grand project!"

The Project was written up in the December 2009 issue of Kytheraismos newspaper

Cynthia sent an excited email to her many Shelving Project supporters:

"This is so coool! See article below regarding bookshelves project. It was run in the local Kytherian newspaper, Kytheraismos, and is posted on the kythera-family.net website. I know most of you cannot read it so once I get the translation, I'll send it along.

Gay (Kinman - a fellow Soroptimist)! you made the paper!!!! Aren't you glad you showed up that cold morning for the loading of the container?????

Organisations mentioned (that I can recognize - I don't speak or read Greek) - Alhambra, Soroptimist International, Rotary, Kythera Society of CA, Kythera Association of AU, Kythera Association of NY."

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kythera Library on 14.11.2013

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library.

Under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Kytherian Municipal Library

The kythera-family.net, Main Page

See also, www.facebook.com/KytheraLibrary.

This facebook site is devoted to the new public library in the village of Kontolianika, which amongst other services is running a paperback exchange scheme. The library is staffed by volunteers. Opening times are: 6-8 pm except for Sundays & Tuesdays, and 10.00-3.00 pm Saturdays.

DONATIONS to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library requires ongoing financial assistance, in order to continue to provide the high level of service that it has instigated over the past few years.

If you wish to donate to this extrordinary Kytherian public resource, you can deposit funds directly into:

National Bank of Greece
ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ
GR28 0110 3800 0000 3802 9603 891
Swift - Bic: ETHNGRAA

In Australia, contact George Poulos.
George Poulos, email
Or, phone, Sydney, (02) 93888320

In America, contact Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, Corresponding Secretary of the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA):
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, email

Where is the Library located?

The Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library. The sunshine version .

The Municipal Library of Kythera is located just off the central road through Kythera. If you take the Ayios Ilias turn off, it is the first building you see on your right hand side.

Ayios Elias turnoff to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Library is located near the centre of the island. In the map provided, it's exact position is the dot "i" in the word Kondelianika - just a little below where the bottom edge of the letter "L" spells "Lib" for "Library, in blue.

Location of the Municipal Library of Kythera

To gain a clearer picture download a .pdf of the map here:

MAP Location of Municipal Library of Kythera Lib.pdf

Interior of the Library

The main room in the Kytherian Muncipal Library

The main library room is spacious, and houses many significant books. The shelving continues around all walls in the main room. The shelving depicted was provided by Kytherians from California. The full story of how Cynthia Cavalenes helped organise a container of shelving to be delivered from the Alhambra Municipality to Kythera is related below in this entry.

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library.

It contains many of the books that formed the Children's Library at Livathi, which had to unfortunately close down. This childrens library has been resurrected within the Kytherian Municipal Library. Children borrow books form this library consistently. They also attend in sizable school groups and undertake various activities. In this photograph the library has been set up for "chess classes"..

The Archive and storage room of the Kytherian Municpal Library. It lies on the left hand side as you first enter the Library. (Opposite the Children's Library). In October 2013 a door was placed in this room. The room also contains a steel shelving unit, to house more valuable books, files and archives. In October 2013 the precious Koksma archive was placed there.

A storage room (apothiki) has been constructed on the eastern (Ayios Elias) side of the Library. It has a sloping roof down to the exterior fence wall. This is the view from the exterior of the storage room.

This is the entry and passageway into the large storage room in the Kytherian Municipal Library. It opens up into a much larger space in the farthest / northern part of the room.

The storage room is quite spacious. It is a very necessary area of the building, as more and more persons are donating books to the Library.

Well appointed toilets have been constructed next to the large storage room. One of them caters to diabled persons. An wheelchair access ramp to the tiolets was built during the August 2013 renovation of the building.

Donated books awaiting cataloguing. Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donating superior books in large quantities. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

Refurbishment and transformation of the Library. August 2013

The transformation was undertaken with the generous assitance of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (KAA) both located in Sydney, Australia, and the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA), based in Los Angeles, USA.

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library in 2012. Note the freshly painted walls. Painting was undertaken in the summer of 2013.

The courtyard of the Municipal Library in 2011-June 2013, in need of refurbishment

The courtyard as it existed 2011- April 2013, was grossly inadequate. It discouraged persons attending the Library at all.

Superb end product following the refurbishment of the rear courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The courtyard after the refurbishment of August 2013. This is the view from the rear door to the archway on the eastern wall. The condition of the courtyard now is a great improvement to the state of the courtyard as it existed in the years leading up to mid-2013.

Looking over the beautifully constructed eastern wall into the courtyard

View of the courtyard facing the township of Ayios Elias. The pergola has been constructed on the northern wall.

Pergola against the northern wall in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The pergola on the northern wall of the courtyard. This has been equipped with electrical power and lighting, and can now be used for evening cultural events and performances.

The indefatigable volunteers

The opening of the Library has been a great source of pride for residents of the island, as well as those living in the Kytherian diaspora.

The Library functions because of the dedication of a number of volunteers. Two of the main "drivers" have been John Stathatos and Dimitris Koutrafouris.

John Stathatos (centre) introducing Professor and Mrs George Huxley to the library during the course of their 2013 visit to the island

Dimitris Koutrafouris is an extremely dedicated volunteer to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Dimitris Koutrafouris is very dedicated to the Library, and spends innumerable hours there. Here he is entering details about a book into the Central catalogue. Many persons are donating books to the Library in large quantities.

Other volunteers who work tirelessly include, Sara Scopsi-Tzanne, Yianna Karavokyri, Heleni Rousketou, and Fotini Yiamtsidou.

These volunteers are assisted by Maria Lourantou (teacher in Chora Primary School), Heleni Drivakou (teacher in Potamos Primary School), Maria Lepoura (chess teacher), Sofia Nezi and Alex Veneris.

Note that the volunteers conceive the function of Library to be much more than a mere lending library. In addition it will act as a research institution, and a centre of culture for the island of Kythera, fostering, art, theatre, poetry, photography, and audiovisual creativity, amongst other activities. The Library is also heavily integrated with the schools on the island, providing a venue for many school students activities, as can be evidenced by photographs that appear later in this entry. Above all the volunteers want the Library to be "zodino" (alive) - a place where multifarious activities occur on an on-going basis.

Summer 2013 building developments. How the renovations and transformation occurred.

It was decided in 2012, that the exterior of the Library needed a good makeover and landscaping.

Design for the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

The design depicted was created pro bono by architect Elias Vassiliadis.

Download a .pdf of the landscaping plan here:

SXOLEIO KONTOLIANIKA.pdf

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Engineer, Ioannis Skinna, George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

Ioannis Skinna also offered his services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, and Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, John Stathatos, Director of the Kytherian Cultural Association, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Grammos re-building the piers for the pergola in the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

Master tradesman Grammos had to rebuild the original columns for the pergola from the start.

Architect, Elias Vassiliadis, incorporated the inspired idea of incorporating a "bezoula" in the courtyard. Visitors to the courtyard automatically gravitate to the "bezoula" and inevitably sit on it. It will also be useful as extra sitting space for both day and nightime events which will be held in the Library's courtyard.

The "bezoula" (sitting bench) being built. The large construction team worked efficiently and quickly to refurbish the courtyard. .

The Library Committee decided to lay "coritzo" in the courtyard. The finish is aesthetically beautiful and will last a long time.

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 2

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 3

The old iron, rusty and dangerous ironwork on the southern wall (closest to camera) was removed, and a stone wall, in keeping with other walls around the exterior of the Library, constructed in it's place.

The ironwork wall as it existed (all the way along the Eastern wall), before the August 2013 renovation of Kytherian Municipal Library

The vegetation from the adjoining block, that had overgrown this wall was removed, at the same time as the iron fence top. One of the advantages of this action, was that the owner of the neighbouring, Panayotis Defterevos (Panayotis Rent A Car), upon seeing his property cleared and levelled out, very kindly offered the very sizable adjoining space as a car park, to cater for events that will be staged at the Library in the future.

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library. The building had been constructed and maintained without a gutter to take water away from the walls. This would have caused inevitable dampness problems inside the building in due course.

Note that the paint work on the walls is of a very low standard. The entire Library was re-painted during August 2013, which enhanced the aesthetic and water-proofing capacity of the building immeasurably.

2012-2013

Dimitris Koutrafouris, Spokesman for the Library, and Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora, Kythera. Long term vision for the island, and a deep thank you to the volunteers


It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island. That has been achieved as a result of persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum.

The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Children unpacking and enjoying the books

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power. It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.

Children undertake many activities at the Library

Children performing school work at the Library. Children undertake many activities here, that they would otherwise not be encouraged to perform.

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library

Young Kytherians learning how to play chess, under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use in the Library.

Children playing in the newly constructed courtyard Because the construction of the yard was 'coritzo' tiles on concrete, this enables the children to really enjoy the courtyard facilities.

It is not all play for the children. They also help to run and maintain the Library. Here children help to sort and stack books for the Children's Library.

Fall 2013

for the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris

See also, April 2013 Report by George C Poulos. George is an Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Re-design of the Courtyard - 2012-2013

One of the "finishing touches" that needs to be completed is the re-design of the external (back) courtyard. Architect Elias Vassiliadis has very kindly drawn up - free of charge - a plan drawn for the library grounds. The cost estimate for the work is approximately 11,000 euro's. The Library Committee and overseas friends hope to secure the money, fairly quickly, so they can put this work out to tender.

The design is elegant. There will be two alternative specifications for the covered area at the back, (6), one calling for a lightweight wood and bamboo pergola, and the other for a more substantial tiled roof; this will require two alternative cost figures. One substantially higher than the other. In either case, the covered area will be open at the front and sides.

The curved wall (1) will be of roughly dressed stone with a smooth upper surface, 50 cm high, so as to provide extra seating. Between this low wall and the boundary wall will be an area for planting, as will be area (3) alongside the access path.

Area (2), under the pergola and in front of the steps leading up to the library, will be smooth concrete, probably with some stone and terracotta decorative elements. Likewise the approach path, (4).

The main area of the courtyard, (5) will be fine gravel over a base layer of coarse gravel. Not only is this a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly than concreting everything, it also allows for natural drainage. If, instead, we were to concrete or seal the entire area, we would also have to provide for underground drainage. Insulated electrical outlets and water points will be provided along the perimeter wall.

The Library Committe, and overseas Friends have also asked for estimates for the provision of guttering for the main building, including buried drainage of the runoff.

2011

A Municipal Library. Considered critical infrastructure in most countries in the world.


The new municipal library is planned to open in Kondeleanika, Kythera. It is fully refurbished, and ready to be "fitted out" to fulfill its purpose - to become the first accessible lending library on the island of Kythera for 6,000 years.

The problem seems to be that Municipality of Kythera, has run out of money to equip it properly.

In Greece, Provinces (States) and the National government take no economic responsibility for local Libraries. This is a tragedy.

In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There is no town with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera, that does not have a well established and equipped library, in place.

The citizens of a town of this size would not tolerate not having an operational Library. It would be considered unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The Americans enter the campaign:

A group of Americans, under the leadership of Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis of Alhambra, California which is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, were inspired by Kythera's Mayor, Theodore Koukoulis to provide shelving for the library. Cynthia, her two sisters (Candace Weiss and Toni Cavalenes) and her cousin (Kendra Rosner) met the Mayor in September 2008 while visiting in the Municipality of Kythera building. This meeting was arranged through George Poulos, Public Relations Officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia, and Trustee of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. At that meeting Cynthia inquired what the needs of Kythera are and the Mayor responded "bookshelves" for the proposed library.

Cynthia organised the financing for the Bookshelves Project in the USA, and George Poulos, under the auspices of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, organised funds in Australia. By May 2009, Cynthia could report "that we have come a long way in the fund raising. If everyone that committed funds comes through we have raised $6,460. That leaves us with a need for $1,540 more for shipping plus the cost of the container, $2,500. I have no doubt we will get there. We still have some fund raising events up our sleeves, but I haven't had time to work on them just yet".

By the end of the Bookshelves Project she could report with some pride: "This project certainly does qualify as "great." If it did not, we would not have had so many people and organizations supporting it. We have had eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who have donated to this cause. I think as a grass roots project, that speaks volumes."

Just days after returning from her first visit to Kythera, Cynthia found the inspiraation for this project. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Alhambra's new municipal library, she realized that the City (where she works) may no longer need the bookshelves that remained in the decommissioned old library and that there could be an oppotunity to obtain some of them for Kythera's proposed library of which Mayor Koukoulis had spoken.

Photographs of the shelving in situ in California

Although locating bookshelves and obtaining them may appear to be an easy task, the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining property belonging to a municipality can be quite daunting. In January 2009, Cynthia reported: "I just received a message from the Director of Public Works who states that used bookshelves do not have much value on the auction market and are only worth about $120 per ton for the recycled steel, minus the agents commission. The shelves will have to be declared surplus and of no significant value, at which time I will be able to obtain them for Kythera for the suggested price of $1 per shelf unit. I accepted that price without hesitation. It might only cost about $100 to purchase the shelves.

I have a tentative February 10th presentation date with the Rotary to see if they will assist in this project. Also, since I am a member of the Soroptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, I might be able to convince them to help with the project. The shipping might cost about $10,000 and the soroptimists' help in fundraising will be invaluable. I'll know more after the presentations.

The City is anxious to mobilize removal of the shelves, so as I expected, I am under a tight timeframe to move them out of the old library."

Cynthia also faced numerous additional logistical challenges.
A. How to remove the shelving units from the old Alhambra Library, and where to store them?

In August 2009 Cynthia reported "We don't have the container yet. Half the shelves are stored indoors at a warehouse that belongs to a Rotarian and half are stored in my backyard (It's summer here so it's alright & they are covered). But they have to be moved before the rains come.

The City didn't want volunteers to dismantle the shelves in the City owned library building for liability reasons, so City staff moved them out of the library, but they cannot be stored on City property. It took a crew of six people a week to dismantle and bundle the components for the shelves. They transported them to Al's Towing in Alhambra where they are stored until we can shiip them.

It took a huge effort to get the shelves dismantled and into storage and it was very chaotic. I left someone else in charge who's concept differred from mine. Once I inventoried the equipment, I found that we didn't have the proper number and size of shelves to go with the respective frames so another work party was dispatched (2 more days) to go back into the old library to gather the pieces we were missing. The second batch was transported to my backyard. Another tricky piece of the puzzle - now that the shelves are out of the old library, City staff can't be used to load the container. A local church that has offered help from their youth group, but volunteer labor can be unpredictable and I am worried about the continuity of the project. Although many of the staff that have been working on this project might offer to volunteer to load the container, as the director of the department for which they work I can't allow that because it could be perceived as coercion from me. So the Soroptimists will provide a stipend to them (funded through the fundraising effort) for their work. One of the staff happens to also work for a shipping company. He has experience organizing the loading of containers. I have asked him (on behalf of the Soroptimists) to be the lead person in the task of loading of the container. So between the City staff who are familiar with the project and the volunteers from the church the container will be properly loaded.

I won't lie, it's been a difficult project. I've lost a lot of sleep over the whole thing. The nice thing is that all of these people really are dedicated to the project, so I know they will come through. I am trying to get the shelves shipped in the next couple of weeks, but I can't bring the container into the warehouse until we are ready to ship because of the inconvenience it will cause the warehouse owner. Now that I am telling the shipper I'm ready to move forward, I am getting frustrating information from them."

B. Will it be better to own the shipping container the shelves are to be sent in, or just use the one provided by the shipper?

One of Cynthia's contacts advised her that "most people don't own the container. I think there is more paperwork involved and it might be more work to pass through Customs. So I think shippers don't want to deal with that and try to discourage it."

Although there would be no additonal charge to use a container provided by the international shipping company, once the container arrived in Pireaus the load would have to moved to another container (at a cost to the project for the labor to do so) because the international shipper did not service Kythera and for liablity reasons could not allow their container to be loaded onto another vessel. The cost of shipping from Pireaus to Kythera would be $1,500 U.S. Once the container arrived on Kythera it would have to be immediately unloaded and returned to the vessel. Any additional time on the island would result in a rental charge for the container. The transport of the emplty container back to Pireaus would cost an additional $1,500 U.S. After extensive research, Cynthia located a "sea worthy" container with the appropriate inspection certificate at a cost of $2,500 U.S. Determining that the cost of transferring the load in Piraeus, potentially paying rent while the container was on Kythera and shipping the container back to Piraeus could be just as costly and possibly more costly, than purchasing the container outright, Cynthia decided purchasing the container was the better choice.

C. Can a free or inexpensive location be found to store the shelves until they could be shipped?

If storage space had to be rented it would prove costly. Ultimately space in a warehouse in Alhambra was donated by Rotarian, Al Pavone, owner of Al's Towing which had limited indoor space that could be used to store the shelves. This saved a tremendous amount of money since the shelves were in storage for approximately six months before they could be shipped. "We are finalizing our inventory to see what components we still need to get from the old library before we ship. We have been authorized to go back into the building and take whatever we still need. We are in really good shape. It looks like we have about 30-eight foot long wall sections, about 25-eight foot long free standing double sided sections, and 2-eight foot long display/counter units. The next hurdle will be weight. these bookshelves are steel. They are HEAVY!!! Hopefully we will be able to send the whole lot.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if they could go Kythera to help reassemble the bookshelves on the island. I told the staff that disassembled them that I'm sure they would be welcome, but they would have to fund their own way there. I'm attaching a photo of the crew with some of the dismantled shelves in the background.

Everyone is really excited about this project!"

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli posted an extended report on the Message Board, 31.05.2009.

The Shelving project was reported in the kythera-family Newsletter in June, 2009 , and July, 2009

John Stathatos acts as the Kytherian connection

John Stathatos is a great advocate for Hellenic and Kytherian culture on the island. He is the Director of the Kythera Cultural Association. John has been engaged in numerous cultural Projects, such as Photographic Encounters, and the restoration of the Fatseas collection of photographs, which were featured in a Benaki Museum exhibition.

He is a great advocate for the Municipal Library.
In October 2009, he wrote to Cindy and George advising / asking that:

1. You may add my name to any document. My address is Strapodi, Chora, Kythera 80100.
2. The container will be unloaded alongside or behind the new municipal library in Agios Elias, Kythera.
3. There is equipment on the island to unload the container. I will try to find out the cost, and can probably get it done for free, but I obviously need a few days to get the details.
4. Has Tina (Anoni) chosen a haulage company to carry the container from Piraeus to Kythera? If not, I might be able to get a discount rate from a local trucking company. Again, I would need till Monday or Tuesday to confirm this.
5. I saw the mayor today and brought him up to date.
6. Do we have even a very rough ballpark figure for arrival on Kythera?

On the 12th January, 2010, the shelving arrived on Kythera, and was unpacked on the same day, and packed away safely in the Library at Kontolianika.

John Stathatos announced:

"As it happened, the right crane to offload the whole container was out of commission. Fortunately work had finished on the inside of the library, which is nice and dry, so I got the municipality to provide some labour, and we got everything unloaded in a couple of hours.

Above, are couple of photos; we’ll take more when it comes time to assemble the shelves. (See below).

Congratulations on completing the final lap of your grand project!"

The Project was written up in the December 2009 issue of Kytheraismos newspaper

Cynthia sent an excited email to her many Shelving Project supporters:

"This is so coool! See article below regarding bookshelves project. It was run in the local Kytherian newspaper, Kytheraismos, and is posted on the kythera-family.net website. I know most of you cannot read it so once I get the translation, I'll send it along.

Gay (Kinman - a fellow Soroptimist)! you made the paper!!!! Aren't you glad you showed up that cold morning for the loading of the container?????

Organisations mentioned (that I can recognize - I don't speak or read Greek) - Alhambra, Soroptimist International, Rotary, Kythera Society of CA, Kythera Association of AU, Kythera Association of NY."

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kythera Library on 14.11.2013

Children undertake many activities at the Library.

Here they are creating craft works.

Kytherian Municipal Library

The kythera-family.net, Main Page

See also, www.facebook.com/KytheraLibrary.

This facebook site is devoted to the new public library in the village of Kontolianika, which amongst other services is running a paperback exchange scheme. The library is staffed by volunteers. Opening times are: 6-8 pm except for Sundays & Tuesdays, and 10.00-3.00 pm Saturdays.

DONATIONS to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library requires ongoing financial assistance, in order to continue to provide the high level of service that it has instigated over the past few years.

If you wish to donate to this extrordinary Kytherian public resource, you can deposit funds directly into:

National Bank of Greece
ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ
GR28 0110 3800 0000 3802 9603 891
Swift - Bic: ETHNGRAA

In Australia, contact George Poulos.
George Poulos, email
Or, phone, Sydney, (02) 93888320

In America, contact Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, Corresponding Secretary of the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA):
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, email

Where is the Library located?

The Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library. The sunshine version .

The Municipal Library of Kythera is located just off the central road through Kythera. If you take the Ayios Ilias turn off, it is the first building you see on your right hand side.

Ayios Elias turnoff to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Library is located near the centre of the island. In the map provided, it's exact position is the dot "i" in the word Kondelianika - just a little below where the bottom edge of the letter "L" spells "Lib" for "Library, in blue.

Location of the Municipal Library of Kythera

To gain a clearer picture download a .pdf of the map here:

MAP Location of Municipal Library of Kythera Lib.pdf

Interior of the Library

The main room in the Kytherian Muncipal Library

The main library room is spacious, and houses many significant books. The shelving continues around all walls in the main room. The shelving depicted was provided by Kytherians from California. The full story of how Cynthia Cavalenes helped organise a container of shelving to be delivered from the Alhambra Municipality to Kythera is related below in this entry.

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library.

It contains many of the books that formed the Children's Library at Livathi, which had to unfortunately close down. This childrens library has been resurrected within the Kytherian Municipal Library. Children borrow books form this library consistently. They also attend in sizable school groups and undertake various activities. In this photograph the library has been set up for "chess classes"..

The Archive and storage room of the Kytherian Municpal Library. It lies on the left hand side as you first enter the Library. (Opposite the Children's Library). In October 2013 a door was placed in this room. The room also contains a steel shelving unit, to house more valuable books, files and archives. In October 2013 the precious Koksma archive was placed there.

A storage room (apothiki) has been constructed on the eastern (Ayios Elias) side of the Library. It has a sloping roof down to the exterior fence wall. This is the view from the exterior of the storage room.

This is the entry and passageway into the large storage room in the Kytherian Municipal Library. It opens up into a much larger space in the farthest / northern part of the room.

The storage room is quite spacious. It is a very necessary area of the building, as more and more persons are donating books to the Library.

Well appointed toilets have been constructed next to the large storage room. One of them caters to diabled persons. An wheelchair access ramp to the tiolets was built during the August 2013 renovation of the building.

Donated books awaiting cataloguing. Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donating superior books in large quantities. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

Refurbishment and transformation of the Library. August 2013

The transformation was undertaken with the generous assitance of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (KAA) both located in Sydney, Australia, and the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA), based in Los Angeles, USA.

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library in 2012. Note the freshly painted walls. Painting was undertaken in the summer of 2013.

The courtyard of the Municipal Library in 2011-June 2013, in need of refurbishment

The courtyard as it existed 2011- April 2013, was grossly inadequate. It discouraged persons attending the Library at all.

Superb end product following the refurbishment of the rear courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The courtyard after the refurbishment of August 2013. This is the view from the rear door to the archway on the eastern wall. The condition of the courtyard now is a great improvement to the state of the courtyard as it existed in the years leading up to mid-2013.

Looking over the beautifully constructed eastern wall into the courtyard

View of the courtyard facing the township of Ayios Elias. The pergola has been constructed on the northern wall.

Pergola against the northern wall in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The pergola on the northern wall of the courtyard. This has been equipped with electrical power and lighting, and can now be used for evening cultural events and performances.

The indefatigable volunteers

The opening of the Library has been a great source of pride for residents of the island, as well as those living in the Kytherian diaspora.

The Library functions because of the dedication of a number of volunteers. Two of the main "drivers" have been John Stathatos and Dimitris Koutrafouris.

John Stathatos (centre) introducing Professor and Mrs George Huxley to the library during the course of their 2013 visit to the island

Dimitris Koutrafouris is an extremely dedicated volunteer to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Dimitris Koutrafouris is very dedicated to the Library, and spends innumerable hours there. Here he is entering details about a book into the Central catalogue. Many persons are donating books to the Library in large quantities.

Other volunteers who work tirelessly include, Sara Scopsi-Tzanne, Yianna Karavokyri, Heleni Rousketou, and Fotini Yiamtsidou.

These volunteers are assisted by Maria Lourantou (teacher in Chora Primary School), Heleni Drivakou (teacher in Potamos Primary School), Maria Lepoura (chess teacher), Sofia Nezi and Alex Veneris.

Note that the volunteers conceive the function of Library to be much more than a mere lending library. In addition it will act as a research institution, and a centre of culture for the island of Kythera, fostering, art, theatre, poetry, photography, and audiovisual creativity, amongst other activities. The Library is also heavily integrated with the schools on the island, providing a venue for many school students activities, as can be evidenced by photographs that appear later in this entry. Above all the volunteers want the Library to be "zodino" (alive) - a place where multifarious activities occur on an on-going basis.

Summer 2013 building developments. How the renovations and transformation occurred.

It was decided in 2012, that the exterior of the Library needed a good makeover and landscaping.

Design for the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

The design depicted was created pro bono by architect Elias Vassiliadis.

Download a .pdf of the landscaping plan here:

SXOLEIO KONTOLIANIKA.pdf

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Engineer, Ioannis Skinna, George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

Ioannis Skinna also offered his services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, and Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, John Stathatos, Director of the Kytherian Cultural Association, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Grammos re-building the piers for the pergola in the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

Master tradesman Grammos had to rebuild the original columns for the pergola from the start.

Architect, Elias Vassiliadis, incorporated the inspired idea of incorporating a "bezoula" in the courtyard. Visitors to the courtyard automatically gravitate to the "bezoula" and inevitably sit on it. It will also be useful as extra sitting space for both day and nightime events which will be held in the Library's courtyard.

The "bezoula" (sitting bench) being built. The large construction team worked efficiently and quickly to refurbish the courtyard. .

The Library Committee decided to lay "coritzo" in the courtyard. The finish is aesthetically beautiful and will last a long time.

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 2

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 3

The old iron, rusty and dangerous ironwork on the southern wall (closest to camera) was removed, and a stone wall, in keeping with other walls around the exterior of the Library, constructed in it's place.

The ironwork wall as it existed (all the way along the Eastern wall), before the August 2013 renovation of Kytherian Municipal Library

The vegetation from the adjoining block, that had overgrown this wall was removed, at the same time as the iron fence top. One of the advantages of this action, was that the owner of the neighbouring, Panayotis Defterevos (Panayotis Rent A Car), upon seeing his property cleared and levelled out, very kindly offered the very sizable adjoining space as a car park, to cater for events that will be staged at the Library in the future.

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library. The building had been constructed and maintained without a gutter to take water away from the walls. This would have caused inevitable dampness problems inside the building in due course.

Note that the paint work on the walls is of a very low standard. The entire Library was re-painted during August 2013, which enhanced the aesthetic and water-proofing capacity of the building immeasurably.

2012-2013

Dimitris Koutrafouris, Spokesman for the Library, and Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora, Kythera. Long term vision for the island, and a deep thank you to the volunteers


It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island. That has been achieved as a result of persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum.

The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Children unpacking and enjoying the books

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power. It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.

Children undertake many activities at the Library

Children performing school work at the Library. Children undertake many activities here, that they would otherwise not be encouraged to perform.

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library

Young Kytherians learning how to play chess, under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use in the Library.

Children playing in the newly constructed courtyard Because the construction of the yard was 'coritzo' tiles on concrete, this enables the children to really enjoy the courtyard facilities.

It is not all play for the children. They also help to run and maintain the Library. Here children help to sort and stack books for the Children's Library.

Fall 2013

for the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris

See also, April 2013 Report by George C Poulos. George is an Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Re-design of the Courtyard - 2012-2013

One of the "finishing touches" that needs to be completed is the re-design of the external (back) courtyard. Architect Elias Vassiliadis has very kindly drawn up - free of charge - a plan drawn for the library grounds. The cost estimate for the work is approximately 11,000 euro's. The Library Committee and overseas friends hope to secure the money, fairly quickly, so they can put this work out to tender.

The design is elegant. There will be two alternative specifications for the covered area at the back, (6), one calling for a lightweight wood and bamboo pergola, and the other for a more substantial tiled roof; this will require two alternative cost figures. One substantially higher than the other. In either case, the covered area will be open at the front and sides.

The curved wall (1) will be of roughly dressed stone with a smooth upper surface, 50 cm high, so as to provide extra seating. Between this low wall and the boundary wall will be an area for planting, as will be area (3) alongside the access path.

Area (2), under the pergola and in front of the steps leading up to the library, will be smooth concrete, probably with some stone and terracotta decorative elements. Likewise the approach path, (4).

The main area of the courtyard, (5) will be fine gravel over a base layer of coarse gravel. Not only is this a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly than concreting everything, it also allows for natural drainage. If, instead, we were to concrete or seal the entire area, we would also have to provide for underground drainage. Insulated electrical outlets and water points will be provided along the perimeter wall.

The Library Committe, and overseas Friends have also asked for estimates for the provision of guttering for the main building, including buried drainage of the runoff.

2011

A Municipal Library. Considered critical infrastructure in most countries in the world.


The new municipal library is planned to open in Kondeleanika, Kythera. It is fully refurbished, and ready to be "fitted out" to fulfill its purpose - to become the first accessible lending library on the island of Kythera for 6,000 years.

The problem seems to be that Municipality of Kythera, has run out of money to equip it properly.

In Greece, Provinces (States) and the National government take no economic responsibility for local Libraries. This is a tragedy.

In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There is no town with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera, that does not have a well established and equipped library, in place.

The citizens of a town of this size would not tolerate not having an operational Library. It would be considered unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The Americans enter the campaign:

A group of Americans, under the leadership of Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis of Alhambra, California which is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, were inspired by Kythera's Mayor, Theodore Koukoulis to provide shelving for the library. Cynthia, her two sisters (Candace Weiss and Toni Cavalenes) and her cousin (Kendra Rosner) met the Mayor in September 2008 while visiting in the Municipality of Kythera building. This meeting was arranged through George Poulos, Public Relations Officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia, and Trustee of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. At that meeting Cynthia inquired what the needs of Kythera are and the Mayor responded "bookshelves" for the proposed library.

Cynthia organised the financing for the Bookshelves Project in the USA, and George Poulos, under the auspices of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, organised funds in Australia. By May 2009, Cynthia could report "that we have come a long way in the fund raising. If everyone that committed funds comes through we have raised $6,460. That leaves us with a need for $1,540 more for shipping plus the cost of the container, $2,500. I have no doubt we will get there. We still have some fund raising events up our sleeves, but I haven't had time to work on them just yet".

By the end of the Bookshelves Project she could report with some pride: "This project certainly does qualify as "great." If it did not, we would not have had so many people and organizations supporting it. We have had eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who have donated to this cause. I think as a grass roots project, that speaks volumes."

Just days after returning from her first visit to Kythera, Cynthia found the inspiraation for this project. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Alhambra's new municipal library, she realized that the City (where she works) may no longer need the bookshelves that remained in the decommissioned old library and that there could be an oppotunity to obtain some of them for Kythera's proposed library of which Mayor Koukoulis had spoken.

Photographs of the shelving in situ in California

Although locating bookshelves and obtaining them may appear to be an easy task, the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining property belonging to a municipality can be quite daunting. In January 2009, Cynthia reported: "I just received a message from the Director of Public Works who states that used bookshelves do not have much value on the auction market and are only worth about $120 per ton for the recycled steel, minus the agents commission. The shelves will have to be declared surplus and of no significant value, at which time I will be able to obtain them for Kythera for the suggested price of $1 per shelf unit. I accepted that price without hesitation. It might only cost about $100 to purchase the shelves.

I have a tentative February 10th presentation date with the Rotary to see if they will assist in this project. Also, since I am a member of the Soroptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, I might be able to convince them to help with the project. The shipping might cost about $10,000 and the soroptimists' help in fundraising will be invaluable. I'll know more after the presentations.

The City is anxious to mobilize removal of the shelves, so as I expected, I am under a tight timeframe to move them out of the old library."

Cynthia also faced numerous additional logistical challenges.
A. How to remove the shelving units from the old Alhambra Library, and where to store them?

In August 2009 Cynthia reported "We don't have the container yet. Half the shelves are stored indoors at a warehouse that belongs to a Rotarian and half are stored in my backyard (It's summer here so it's alright & they are covered). But they have to be moved before the rains come.

The City didn't want volunteers to dismantle the shelves in the City owned library building for liability reasons, so City staff moved them out of the library, but they cannot be stored on City property. It took a crew of six people a week to dismantle and bundle the components for the shelves. They transported them to Al's Towing in Alhambra where they are stored until we can shiip them.

It took a huge effort to get the shelves dismantled and into storage and it was very chaotic. I left someone else in charge who's concept differred from mine. Once I inventoried the equipment, I found that we didn't have the proper number and size of shelves to go with the respective frames so another work party was dispatched (2 more days) to go back into the old library to gather the pieces we were missing. The second batch was transported to my backyard. Another tricky piece of the puzzle - now that the shelves are out of the old library, City staff can't be used to load the container. A local church that has offered help from their youth group, but volunteer labor can be unpredictable and I am worried about the continuity of the project. Although many of the staff that have been working on this project might offer to volunteer to load the container, as the director of the department for which they work I can't allow that because it could be perceived as coercion from me. So the Soroptimists will provide a stipend to them (funded through the fundraising effort) for their work. One of the staff happens to also work for a shipping company. He has experience organizing the loading of containers. I have asked him (on behalf of the Soroptimists) to be the lead person in the task of loading of the container. So between the City staff who are familiar with the project and the volunteers from the church the container will be properly loaded.

I won't lie, it's been a difficult project. I've lost a lot of sleep over the whole thing. The nice thing is that all of these people really are dedicated to the project, so I know they will come through. I am trying to get the shelves shipped in the next couple of weeks, but I can't bring the container into the warehouse until we are ready to ship because of the inconvenience it will cause the warehouse owner. Now that I am telling the shipper I'm ready to move forward, I am getting frustrating information from them."

B. Will it be better to own the shipping container the shelves are to be sent in, or just use the one provided by the shipper?

One of Cynthia's contacts advised her that "most people don't own the container. I think there is more paperwork involved and it might be more work to pass through Customs. So I think shippers don't want to deal with that and try to discourage it."

Although there would be no additonal charge to use a container provided by the international shipping company, once the container arrived in Pireaus the load would have to moved to another container (at a cost to the project for the labor to do so) because the international shipper did not service Kythera and for liablity reasons could not allow their container to be loaded onto another vessel. The cost of shipping from Pireaus to Kythera would be $1,500 U.S. Once the container arrived on Kythera it would have to be immediately unloaded and returned to the vessel. Any additional time on the island would result in a rental charge for the container. The transport of the emplty container back to Pireaus would cost an additional $1,500 U.S. After extensive research, Cynthia located a "sea worthy" container with the appropriate inspection certificate at a cost of $2,500 U.S. Determining that the cost of transferring the load in Piraeus, potentially paying rent while the container was on Kythera and shipping the container back to Piraeus could be just as costly and possibly more costly, than purchasing the container outright, Cynthia decided purchasing the container was the better choice.

C. Can a free or inexpensive location be found to store the shelves until they could be shipped?

If storage space had to be rented it would prove costly. Ultimately space in a warehouse in Alhambra was donated by Rotarian, Al Pavone, owner of Al's Towing which had limited indoor space that could be used to store the shelves. This saved a tremendous amount of money since the shelves were in storage for approximately six months before they could be shipped. "We are finalizing our inventory to see what components we still need to get from the old library before we ship. We have been authorized to go back into the building and take whatever we still need. We are in really good shape. It looks like we have about 30-eight foot long wall sections, about 25-eight foot long free standing double sided sections, and 2-eight foot long display/counter units. The next hurdle will be weight. these bookshelves are steel. They are HEAVY!!! Hopefully we will be able to send the whole lot.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if they could go Kythera to help reassemble the bookshelves on the island. I told the staff that disassembled them that I'm sure they would be welcome, but they would have to fund their own way there. I'm attaching a photo of the crew with some of the dismantled shelves in the background.

Everyone is really excited about this project!"

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli posted an extended report on the Message Board, 31.05.2009.

The Shelving project was reported in the kythera-family Newsletter in June, 2009 , and July, 2009

John Stathatos acts as the Kytherian connection

John Stathatos is a great advocate for Hellenic and Kytherian culture on the island. He is the Director of the Kythera Cultural Association. John has been engaged in numerous cultural Projects, such as Photographic Encounters, and the restoration of the Fatseas collection of photographs, which were featured in a Benaki Museum exhibition.

He is a great advocate for the Municipal Library.
In October 2009, he wrote to Cindy and George advising / asking that:

1. You may add my name to any document. My address is Strapodi, Chora, Kythera 80100.
2. The container will be unloaded alongside or behind the new municipal library in Agios Elias, Kythera.
3. There is equipment on the island to unload the container. I will try to find out the cost, and can probably get it done for free, but I obviously need a few days to get the details.
4. Has Tina (Anoni) chosen a haulage company to carry the container from Piraeus to Kythera? If not, I might be able to get a discount rate from a local trucking company. Again, I would need till Monday or Tuesday to confirm this.
5. I saw the mayor today and brought him up to date.
6. Do we have even a very rough ballpark figure for arrival on Kythera?

On the 12th January, 2010, the shelving arrived on Kythera, and was unpacked on the same day, and packed away safely in the Library at Kontolianika.

John Stathatos announced:

"As it happened, the right crane to offload the whole container was out of commission. Fortunately work had finished on the inside of the library, which is nice and dry, so I got the municipality to provide some labour, and we got everything unloaded in a couple of hours.

Above, are couple of photos; we’ll take more when it comes time to assemble the shelves. (See below).

Congratulations on completing the final lap of your grand project!"

The Project was written up in the December 2009 issue of Kytheraismos newspaper

Cynthia sent an excited email to her many Shelving Project supporters:

"This is so coool! See article below regarding bookshelves project. It was run in the local Kytherian newspaper, Kytheraismos, and is posted on the kythera-family.net website. I know most of you cannot read it so once I get the translation, I'll send it along.

Gay (Kinman - a fellow Soroptimist)! you made the paper!!!! Aren't you glad you showed up that cold morning for the loading of the container?????

Organisations mentioned (that I can recognize - I don't speak or read Greek) - Alhambra, Soroptimist International, Rotary, Kythera Society of CA, Kythera Association of AU, Kythera Association of NY."

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kythera Library on 14.11.2013

Donated books awaiting cataloguing.

Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donated very good books in large quantities.

Kytherian Municipal Library

The kythera-family.net, Main Page

See also, www.facebook.com/KytheraLibrary.

This facebook site is devoted to the new public library in the village of Kontolianika, which amongst other services is running a paperback exchange scheme. The library is staffed by volunteers. Opening times are: 6-8 pm except for Sundays & Tuesdays, and 10.00-3.00 pm Saturdays.

DONATIONS to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library requires ongoing financial assistance, in order to continue to provide the high level of service that it has instigated over the past few years.

If you wish to donate to this extrordinary Kytherian public resource, you can deposit funds directly into:

National Bank of Greece
ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ
GR28 0110 3800 0000 3802 9603 891
Swift - Bic: ETHNGRAA

In Australia, contact George Poulos.
George Poulos, email
Or, phone, Sydney, (02) 93888320

In America, contact Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, Corresponding Secretary of the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA):
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, email

Where is the Library located?

The Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library. The sunshine version .

The Municipal Library of Kythera is located just off the central road through Kythera. If you take the Ayios Ilias turn off, it is the first building you see on your right hand side.

Ayios Elias turnoff to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Library is located near the centre of the island. In the map provided, it's exact position is the dot "i" in the word Kondelianika - just a little below where the bottom edge of the letter "L" spells "Lib" for "Library, in blue.

Location of the Municipal Library of Kythera

To gain a clearer picture download a .pdf of the map here:

MAP Location of Municipal Library of Kythera Lib.pdf

Interior of the Library

The main room in the Kytherian Muncipal Library

The main library room is spacious, and houses many significant books. The shelving continues around all walls in the main room. The shelving depicted was provided by Kytherians from California. The full story of how Cynthia Cavalenes helped organise a container of shelving to be delivered from the Alhambra Municipality to Kythera is related below in this entry.

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library.

It contains many of the books that formed the Children's Library at Livathi, which had to unfortunately close down. This childrens library has been resurrected within the Kytherian Municipal Library. Children borrow books form this library consistently. They also attend in sizable school groups and undertake various activities. In this photograph the library has been set up for "chess classes"..

The Archive and storage room of the Kytherian Municpal Library. It lies on the left hand side as you first enter the Library. (Opposite the Children's Library). In October 2013 a door was placed in this room. The room also contains a steel shelving unit, to house more valuable books, files and archives. In October 2013 the precious Koksma archive was placed there.

A storage room (apothiki) has been constructed on the eastern (Ayios Elias) side of the Library. It has a sloping roof down to the exterior fence wall. This is the view from the exterior of the storage room.

This is the entry and passageway into the large storage room in the Kytherian Municipal Library. It opens up into a much larger space in the farthest / northern part of the room.

The storage room is quite spacious. It is a very necessary area of the building, as more and more persons are donating books to the Library.

Well appointed toilets have been constructed next to the large storage room. One of them caters to diabled persons. An wheelchair access ramp to the tiolets was built during the August 2013 renovation of the building.

Donated books awaiting cataloguing. Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donating superior books in large quantities. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

Refurbishment and transformation of the Library. August 2013

The transformation was undertaken with the generous assitance of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (KAA) both located in Sydney, Australia, and the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA), based in Los Angeles, USA.

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library in 2012. Note the freshly painted walls. Painting was undertaken in the summer of 2013.

The courtyard of the Municipal Library in 2011-June 2013, in need of refurbishment

The courtyard as it existed 2011- April 2013, was grossly inadequate. It discouraged persons attending the Library at all.

Superb end product following the refurbishment of the rear courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The courtyard after the refurbishment of August 2013. This is the view from the rear door to the archway on the eastern wall. The condition of the courtyard now is a great improvement to the state of the courtyard as it existed in the years leading up to mid-2013.

Looking over the beautifully constructed eastern wall into the courtyard

View of the courtyard facing the township of Ayios Elias. The pergola has been constructed on the northern wall.

Pergola against the northern wall in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The pergola on the northern wall of the courtyard. This has been equipped with electrical power and lighting, and can now be used for evening cultural events and performances.

The indefatigable volunteers

The opening of the Library has been a great source of pride for residents of the island, as well as those living in the Kytherian diaspora.

The Library functions because of the dedication of a number of volunteers. Two of the main "drivers" have been John Stathatos and Dimitris Koutrafouris.

John Stathatos (centre) introducing Professor and Mrs George Huxley to the library during the course of their 2013 visit to the island

Dimitris Koutrafouris is an extremely dedicated volunteer to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Dimitris Koutrafouris is very dedicated to the Library, and spends innumerable hours there. Here he is entering details about a book into the Central catalogue. Many persons are donating books to the Library in large quantities.

Other volunteers who work tirelessly include, Sara Scopsi-Tzanne, Yianna Karavokyri, Heleni Rousketou, and Fotini Yiamtsidou.

These volunteers are assisted by Maria Lourantou (teacher in Chora Primary School), Heleni Drivakou (teacher in Potamos Primary School), Maria Lepoura (chess teacher), Sofia Nezi and Alex Veneris.

Note that the volunteers conceive the function of Library to be much more than a mere lending library. In addition it will act as a research institution, and a centre of culture for the island of Kythera, fostering, art, theatre, poetry, photography, and audiovisual creativity, amongst other activities. The Library is also heavily integrated with the schools on the island, providing a venue for many school students activities, as can be evidenced by photographs that appear later in this entry. Above all the volunteers want the Library to be "zodino" (alive) - a place where multifarious activities occur on an on-going basis.

Summer 2013 building developments. How the renovations and transformation occurred.

It was decided in 2012, that the exterior of the Library needed a good makeover and landscaping.

Design for the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

The design depicted was created pro bono by architect Elias Vassiliadis.

Download a .pdf of the landscaping plan here:

SXOLEIO KONTOLIANIKA.pdf

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Engineer, Ioannis Skinna, George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

Ioannis Skinna also offered his services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, and Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, John Stathatos, Director of the Kytherian Cultural Association, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Grammos re-building the piers for the pergola in the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

Master tradesman Grammos had to rebuild the original columns for the pergola from the start.

Architect, Elias Vassiliadis, incorporated the inspired idea of incorporating a "bezoula" in the courtyard. Visitors to the courtyard automatically gravitate to the "bezoula" and inevitably sit on it. It will also be useful as extra sitting space for both day and nightime events which will be held in the Library's courtyard.

The "bezoula" (sitting bench) being built. The large construction team worked efficiently and quickly to refurbish the courtyard. .

The Library Committee decided to lay "coritzo" in the courtyard. The finish is aesthetically beautiful and will last a long time.

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 2

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 3

The old iron, rusty and dangerous ironwork on the southern wall (closest to camera) was removed, and a stone wall, in keeping with other walls around the exterior of the Library, constructed in it's place.

The ironwork wall as it existed (all the way along the Eastern wall), before the August 2013 renovation of Kytherian Municipal Library

The vegetation from the adjoining block, that had overgrown this wall was removed, at the same time as the iron fence top. One of the advantages of this action, was that the owner of the neighbouring, Panayotis Defterevos (Panayotis Rent A Car), upon seeing his property cleared and levelled out, very kindly offered the very sizable adjoining space as a car park, to cater for events that will be staged at the Library in the future.

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library. The building had been constructed and maintained without a gutter to take water away from the walls. This would have caused inevitable dampness problems inside the building in due course.

Note that the paint work on the walls is of a very low standard. The entire Library was re-painted during August 2013, which enhanced the aesthetic and water-proofing capacity of the building immeasurably.

2012-2013

Dimitris Koutrafouris, Spokesman for the Library, and Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora, Kythera. Long term vision for the island, and a deep thank you to the volunteers


It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island. That has been achieved as a result of persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum.

The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Children unpacking and enjoying the books

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power. It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.

Children undertake many activities at the Library

Children performing school work at the Library. Children undertake many activities here, that they would otherwise not be encouraged to perform.

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library

Young Kytherians learning how to play chess, under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use in the Library.

Children playing in the newly constructed courtyard Because the construction of the yard was 'coritzo' tiles on concrete, this enables the children to really enjoy the courtyard facilities.

It is not all play for the children. They also help to run and maintain the Library. Here children help to sort and stack books for the Children's Library.

Fall 2013

for the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris

See also, April 2013 Report by George C Poulos. George is an Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Re-design of the Courtyard - 2012-2013

One of the "finishing touches" that needs to be completed is the re-design of the external (back) courtyard. Architect Elias Vassiliadis has very kindly drawn up - free of charge - a plan drawn for the library grounds. The cost estimate for the work is approximately 11,000 euro's. The Library Committee and overseas friends hope to secure the money, fairly quickly, so they can put this work out to tender.

The design is elegant. There will be two alternative specifications for the covered area at the back, (6), one calling for a lightweight wood and bamboo pergola, and the other for a more substantial tiled roof; this will require two alternative cost figures. One substantially higher than the other. In either case, the covered area will be open at the front and sides.

The curved wall (1) will be of roughly dressed stone with a smooth upper surface, 50 cm high, so as to provide extra seating. Between this low wall and the boundary wall will be an area for planting, as will be area (3) alongside the access path.

Area (2), under the pergola and in front of the steps leading up to the library, will be smooth concrete, probably with some stone and terracotta decorative elements. Likewise the approach path, (4).

The main area of the courtyard, (5) will be fine gravel over a base layer of coarse gravel. Not only is this a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly than concreting everything, it also allows for natural drainage. If, instead, we were to concrete or seal the entire area, we would also have to provide for underground drainage. Insulated electrical outlets and water points will be provided along the perimeter wall.

The Library Committe, and overseas Friends have also asked for estimates for the provision of guttering for the main building, including buried drainage of the runoff.

2011

A Municipal Library. Considered critical infrastructure in most countries in the world.


The new municipal library is planned to open in Kondeleanika, Kythera. It is fully refurbished, and ready to be "fitted out" to fulfill its purpose - to become the first accessible lending library on the island of Kythera for 6,000 years.

The problem seems to be that Municipality of Kythera, has run out of money to equip it properly.

In Greece, Provinces (States) and the National government take no economic responsibility for local Libraries. This is a tragedy.

In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There is no town with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera, that does not have a well established and equipped library, in place.

The citizens of a town of this size would not tolerate not having an operational Library. It would be considered unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The Americans enter the campaign:

A group of Americans, under the leadership of Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis of Alhambra, California which is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, were inspired by Kythera's Mayor, Theodore Koukoulis to provide shelving for the library. Cynthia, her two sisters (Candace Weiss and Toni Cavalenes) and her cousin (Kendra Rosner) met the Mayor in September 2008 while visiting in the Municipality of Kythera building. This meeting was arranged through George Poulos, Public Relations Officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia, and Trustee of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. At that meeting Cynthia inquired what the needs of Kythera are and the Mayor responded "bookshelves" for the proposed library.

Cynthia organised the financing for the Bookshelves Project in the USA, and George Poulos, under the auspices of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, organised funds in Australia. By May 2009, Cynthia could report "that we have come a long way in the fund raising. If everyone that committed funds comes through we have raised $6,460. That leaves us with a need for $1,540 more for shipping plus the cost of the container, $2,500. I have no doubt we will get there. We still have some fund raising events up our sleeves, but I haven't had time to work on them just yet".

By the end of the Bookshelves Project she could report with some pride: "This project certainly does qualify as "great." If it did not, we would not have had so many people and organizations supporting it. We have had eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who have donated to this cause. I think as a grass roots project, that speaks volumes."

Just days after returning from her first visit to Kythera, Cynthia found the inspiraation for this project. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Alhambra's new municipal library, she realized that the City (where she works) may no longer need the bookshelves that remained in the decommissioned old library and that there could be an oppotunity to obtain some of them for Kythera's proposed library of which Mayor Koukoulis had spoken.

Photographs of the shelving in situ in California

Although locating bookshelves and obtaining them may appear to be an easy task, the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining property belonging to a municipality can be quite daunting. In January 2009, Cynthia reported: "I just received a message from the Director of Public Works who states that used bookshelves do not have much value on the auction market and are only worth about $120 per ton for the recycled steel, minus the agents commission. The shelves will have to be declared surplus and of no significant value, at which time I will be able to obtain them for Kythera for the suggested price of $1 per shelf unit. I accepted that price without hesitation. It might only cost about $100 to purchase the shelves.

I have a tentative February 10th presentation date with the Rotary to see if they will assist in this project. Also, since I am a member of the Soroptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, I might be able to convince them to help with the project. The shipping might cost about $10,000 and the soroptimists' help in fundraising will be invaluable. I'll know more after the presentations.

The City is anxious to mobilize removal of the shelves, so as I expected, I am under a tight timeframe to move them out of the old library."

Cynthia also faced numerous additional logistical challenges.
A. How to remove the shelving units from the old Alhambra Library, and where to store them?

In August 2009 Cynthia reported "We don't have the container yet. Half the shelves are stored indoors at a warehouse that belongs to a Rotarian and half are stored in my backyard (It's summer here so it's alright & they are covered). But they have to be moved before the rains come.

The City didn't want volunteers to dismantle the shelves in the City owned library building for liability reasons, so City staff moved them out of the library, but they cannot be stored on City property. It took a crew of six people a week to dismantle and bundle the components for the shelves. They transported them to Al's Towing in Alhambra where they are stored until we can shiip them.

It took a huge effort to get the shelves dismantled and into storage and it was very chaotic. I left someone else in charge who's concept differred from mine. Once I inventoried the equipment, I found that we didn't have the proper number and size of shelves to go with the respective frames so another work party was dispatched (2 more days) to go back into the old library to gather the pieces we were missing. The second batch was transported to my backyard. Another tricky piece of the puzzle - now that the shelves are out of the old library, City staff can't be used to load the container. A local church that has offered help from their youth group, but volunteer labor can be unpredictable and I am worried about the continuity of the project. Although many of the staff that have been working on this project might offer to volunteer to load the container, as the director of the department for which they work I can't allow that because it could be perceived as coercion from me. So the Soroptimists will provide a stipend to them (funded through the fundraising effort) for their work. One of the staff happens to also work for a shipping company. He has experience organizing the loading of containers. I have asked him (on behalf of the Soroptimists) to be the lead person in the task of loading of the container. So between the City staff who are familiar with the project and the volunteers from the church the container will be properly loaded.

I won't lie, it's been a difficult project. I've lost a lot of sleep over the whole thing. The nice thing is that all of these people really are dedicated to the project, so I know they will come through. I am trying to get the shelves shipped in the next couple of weeks, but I can't bring the container into the warehouse until we are ready to ship because of the inconvenience it will cause the warehouse owner. Now that I am telling the shipper I'm ready to move forward, I am getting frustrating information from them."

B. Will it be better to own the shipping container the shelves are to be sent in, or just use the one provided by the shipper?

One of Cynthia's contacts advised her that "most people don't own the container. I think there is more paperwork involved and it might be more work to pass through Customs. So I think shippers don't want to deal with that and try to discourage it."

Although there would be no additonal charge to use a container provided by the international shipping company, once the container arrived in Pireaus the load would have to moved to another container (at a cost to the project for the labor to do so) because the international shipper did not service Kythera and for liablity reasons could not allow their container to be loaded onto another vessel. The cost of shipping from Pireaus to Kythera would be $1,500 U.S. Once the container arrived on Kythera it would have to be immediately unloaded and returned to the vessel. Any additional time on the island would result in a rental charge for the container. The transport of the emplty container back to Pireaus would cost an additional $1,500 U.S. After extensive research, Cynthia located a "sea worthy" container with the appropriate inspection certificate at a cost of $2,500 U.S. Determining that the cost of transferring the load in Piraeus, potentially paying rent while the container was on Kythera and shipping the container back to Piraeus could be just as costly and possibly more costly, than purchasing the container outright, Cynthia decided purchasing the container was the better choice.

C. Can a free or inexpensive location be found to store the shelves until they could be shipped?

If storage space had to be rented it would prove costly. Ultimately space in a warehouse in Alhambra was donated by Rotarian, Al Pavone, owner of Al's Towing which had limited indoor space that could be used to store the shelves. This saved a tremendous amount of money since the shelves were in storage for approximately six months before they could be shipped. "We are finalizing our inventory to see what components we still need to get from the old library before we ship. We have been authorized to go back into the building and take whatever we still need. We are in really good shape. It looks like we have about 30-eight foot long wall sections, about 25-eight foot long free standing double sided sections, and 2-eight foot long display/counter units. The next hurdle will be weight. these bookshelves are steel. They are HEAVY!!! Hopefully we will be able to send the whole lot.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if they could go Kythera to help reassemble the bookshelves on the island. I told the staff that disassembled them that I'm sure they would be welcome, but they would have to fund their own way there. I'm attaching a photo of the crew with some of the dismantled shelves in the background.

Everyone is really excited about this project!"

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli posted an extended report on the Message Board, 31.05.2009.

The Shelving project was reported in the kythera-family Newsletter in June, 2009 , and July, 2009

John Stathatos acts as the Kytherian connection

John Stathatos is a great advocate for Hellenic and Kytherian culture on the island. He is the Director of the Kythera Cultural Association. John has been engaged in numerous cultural Projects, such as Photographic Encounters, and the restoration of the Fatseas collection of photographs, which were featured in a Benaki Museum exhibition.

He is a great advocate for the Municipal Library.
In October 2009, he wrote to Cindy and George advising / asking that:

1. You may add my name to any document. My address is Strapodi, Chora, Kythera 80100.
2. The container will be unloaded alongside or behind the new municipal library in Agios Elias, Kythera.
3. There is equipment on the island to unload the container. I will try to find out the cost, and can probably get it done for free, but I obviously need a few days to get the details.
4. Has Tina (Anoni) chosen a haulage company to carry the container from Piraeus to Kythera? If not, I might be able to get a discount rate from a local trucking company. Again, I would need till Monday or Tuesday to confirm this.
5. I saw the mayor today and brought him up to date.
6. Do we have even a very rough ballpark figure for arrival on Kythera?

On the 12th January, 2010, the shelving arrived on Kythera, and was unpacked on the same day, and packed away safely in the Library at Kontolianika.

John Stathatos announced:

"As it happened, the right crane to offload the whole container was out of commission. Fortunately work had finished on the inside of the library, which is nice and dry, so I got the municipality to provide some labour, and we got everything unloaded in a couple of hours.

Above, are couple of photos; we’ll take more when it comes time to assemble the shelves. (See below).

Congratulations on completing the final lap of your grand project!"

The Project was written up in the December 2009 issue of Kytheraismos newspaper

Cynthia sent an excited email to her many Shelving Project supporters:

"This is so coool! See article below regarding bookshelves project. It was run in the local Kytherian newspaper, Kytheraismos, and is posted on the kythera-family.net website. I know most of you cannot read it so once I get the translation, I'll send it along.

Gay (Kinman - a fellow Soroptimist)! you made the paper!!!! Aren't you glad you showed up that cold morning for the loading of the container?????

Organisations mentioned (that I can recognize - I don't speak or read Greek) - Alhambra, Soroptimist International, Rotary, Kythera Society of CA, Kythera Association of AU, Kythera Association of NY."

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kythera Library on 14.11.2013

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Ioannis Skinna, Engineer,George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

....planning the next stage of the transformation of the courtyard, in the Kythera Municipal Library, Kondelianika.

Both Elias and Ioannis offered their services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Kytherian Municipal Library

The kythera-family.net, Main Page

See also, www.facebook.com/KytheraLibrary.

This facebook site is devoted to the new public library in the village of Kontolianika, which amongst other services is running a paperback exchange scheme. The library is staffed by volunteers. Opening times are: 6-8 pm except for Sundays & Tuesdays, and 10.00-3.00 pm Saturdays.

DONATIONS to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library requires ongoing financial assistance, in order to continue to provide the high level of service that it has instigated over the past few years.

If you wish to donate to this extrordinary Kytherian public resource, you can deposit funds directly into:

National Bank of Greece
ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ
GR28 0110 3800 0000 3802 9603 891
Swift - Bic: ETHNGRAA

In Australia, contact George Poulos.
George Poulos, email
Or, phone, Sydney, (02) 93888320

In America, contact Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, Corresponding Secretary of the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA):
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, email

Where is the Library located?

The Kytherian Municipal Library

The Kytherian Municipal Library. The sunshine version .

The Municipal Library of Kythera is located just off the central road through Kythera. If you take the Ayios Ilias turn off, it is the first building you see on your right hand side.

Ayios Elias turnoff to the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Library is located near the centre of the island. In the map provided, it's exact position is the dot "i" in the word Kondelianika - just a little below where the bottom edge of the letter "L" spells "Lib" for "Library, in blue.

Location of the Municipal Library of Kythera

To gain a clearer picture download a .pdf of the map here:

MAP Location of Municipal Library of Kythera Lib.pdf

Interior of the Library

The main room in the Kytherian Muncipal Library

The main library room is spacious, and houses many significant books. The shelving continues around all walls in the main room. The shelving depicted was provided by Kytherians from California. The full story of how Cynthia Cavalenes helped organise a container of shelving to be delivered from the Alhambra Municipality to Kythera is related below in this entry.

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library

The Childrens Library is the first narrow room to the left as you enter the Kytherian Municipal Library.

It contains many of the books that formed the Children's Library at Livathi, which had to unfortunately close down. This childrens library has been resurrected within the Kytherian Municipal Library. Children borrow books form this library consistently. They also attend in sizable school groups and undertake various activities. In this photograph the library has been set up for "chess classes"..

The Archive and storage room of the Kytherian Municpal Library. It lies on the left hand side as you first enter the Library. (Opposite the Children's Library). In October 2013 a door was placed in this room. The room also contains a steel shelving unit, to house more valuable books, files and archives. In October 2013 the precious Koksma archive was placed there.

A storage room (apothiki) has been constructed on the eastern (Ayios Elias) side of the Library. It has a sloping roof down to the exterior fence wall. This is the view from the exterior of the storage room.

This is the entry and passageway into the large storage room in the Kytherian Municipal Library. It opens up into a much larger space in the farthest / northern part of the room.

The storage room is quite spacious. It is a very necessary area of the building, as more and more persons are donating books to the Library.

Well appointed toilets have been constructed next to the large storage room. One of them caters to diabled persons. An wheelchair access ramp to the tiolets was built during the August 2013 renovation of the building.

Donated books awaiting cataloguing. Now that the Library has been established to a very high standard, Kytherians and Athenians are donating superior books in large quantities. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

Refurbishment and transformation of the Library. August 2013

The transformation was undertaken with the generous assitance of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (KAA) both located in Sydney, Australia, and the Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA), based in Los Angeles, USA.

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library

New marble signs, written in both Greek and English announce the opening of the Kytherian Municipal Library in 2012. Note the freshly painted walls. Painting was undertaken in the summer of 2013.

The courtyard of the Municipal Library in 2011-June 2013, in need of refurbishment

The courtyard as it existed 2011- April 2013, was grossly inadequate. It discouraged persons attending the Library at all.

Superb end product following the refurbishment of the rear courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The courtyard after the refurbishment of August 2013. This is the view from the rear door to the archway on the eastern wall. The condition of the courtyard now is a great improvement to the state of the courtyard as it existed in the years leading up to mid-2013.

Looking over the beautifully constructed eastern wall into the courtyard

View of the courtyard facing the township of Ayios Elias. The pergola has been constructed on the northern wall.

Pergola against the northern wall in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

The pergola on the northern wall of the courtyard. This has been equipped with electrical power and lighting, and can now be used for evening cultural events and performances.

The indefatigable volunteers

The opening of the Library has been a great source of pride for residents of the island, as well as those living in the Kytherian diaspora.

The Library functions because of the dedication of a number of volunteers. Two of the main "drivers" have been John Stathatos and Dimitris Koutrafouris.

John Stathatos (centre) introducing Professor and Mrs George Huxley to the library during the course of their 2013 visit to the island

Dimitris Koutrafouris is an extremely dedicated volunteer to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Dimitris Koutrafouris is very dedicated to the Library, and spends innumerable hours there. Here he is entering details about a book into the Central catalogue. Many persons are donating books to the Library in large quantities.

Other volunteers who work tirelessly include, Sara Scopsi-Tzanne, Yianna Karavokyri, Heleni Rousketou, and Fotini Yiamtsidou.

These volunteers are assisted by Maria Lourantou (teacher in Chora Primary School), Heleni Drivakou (teacher in Potamos Primary School), Maria Lepoura (chess teacher), Sofia Nezi and Alex Veneris.

Note that the volunteers conceive the function of Library to be much more than a mere lending library. In addition it will act as a research institution, and a centre of culture for the island of Kythera, fostering, art, theatre, poetry, photography, and audiovisual creativity, amongst other activities. The Library is also heavily integrated with the schools on the island, providing a venue for many school students activities, as can be evidenced by photographs that appear later in this entry. Above all the volunteers want the Library to be "zodino" (alive) - a place where multifarious activities occur on an on-going basis.

Summer 2013 building developments. How the renovations and transformation occurred.

It was decided in 2012, that the exterior of the Library needed a good makeover and landscaping.

Design for the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

The design depicted was created pro bono by architect Elias Vassiliadis.

Download a .pdf of the landscaping plan here:

SXOLEIO KONTOLIANIKA.pdf

Architect Elias Vassiliadis, Engineer, Ioannis Skinna, George Poulos, and Building Supervisor, Refaat Khalil

Ioannis Skinna also offered his services for free. In addition to those in the photograph above, all stages of the work was supervised by Mayor Theothoris Koukoulis, and Deputy-Mayor, Michaelis Protopsaltis, John Stathatos, Director of the Kytherian Cultural Association, and Library Chairman, Dimitris Koutrafouris, manager of the National Bank of Greece, in Potamos.

Grammos re-building the piers for the pergola in the courtyard of the Kythera Municipal Library

Master tradesman Grammos had to rebuild the original columns for the pergola from the start.

Architect, Elias Vassiliadis, incorporated the inspired idea of incorporating a "bezoula" in the courtyard. Visitors to the courtyard automatically gravitate to the "bezoula" and inevitably sit on it. It will also be useful as extra sitting space for both day and nightime events which will be held in the Library's courtyard.

The "bezoula" (sitting bench) being built. The large construction team worked efficiently and quickly to refurbish the courtyard. .

The Library Committee decided to lay "coritzo" in the courtyard. The finish is aesthetically beautiful and will last a long time.

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 2

Laying the "coritzo'' tiles in the courtyard of the Kytherian Municipal Library 3

The old iron, rusty and dangerous ironwork on the southern wall (closest to camera) was removed, and a stone wall, in keeping with other walls around the exterior of the Library, constructed in it's place.

The ironwork wall as it existed (all the way along the Eastern wall), before the August 2013 renovation of Kytherian Municipal Library

The vegetation from the adjoining block, that had overgrown this wall was removed, at the same time as the iron fence top. One of the advantages of this action, was that the owner of the neighbouring, Panayotis Defterevos (Panayotis Rent A Car), upon seeing his property cleared and levelled out, very kindly offered the very sizable adjoining space as a car park, to cater for events that will be staged at the Library in the future.

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library

Orestes performing the difficult task of affixing a gutter to the Kytherian Municipal Library. The building had been constructed and maintained without a gutter to take water away from the walls. This would have caused inevitable dampness problems inside the building in due course.

Note that the paint work on the walls is of a very low standard. The entire Library was re-painted during August 2013, which enhanced the aesthetic and water-proofing capacity of the building immeasurably.

2012-2013

Dimitris Koutrafouris, Spokesman for the Library, and Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora, Kythera. Long term vision for the island, and a deep thank you to the volunteers


It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island. That has been achieved as a result of persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum.

The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Children unpacking and enjoying the books

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power. It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.

Children undertake many activities at the Library

Children performing school work at the Library. Children undertake many activities here, that they would otherwise not be encouraged to perform.

Young Kytherians learning chess at the Library

Young Kytherians learning how to play chess, under the tutelage of Dimitris Koutrafouris.

Children enjoy playing with an Ipad in the Library

The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) donated six Ipads for Kytherian children to use in the Library.

Children playing in the newly constructed courtyard Because the construction of the yard was 'coritzo' tiles on concrete, this enables the children to really enjoy the courtyard facilities.

It is not all play for the children. They also help to run and maintain the Library. Here children help to sort and stack books for the Children's Library.

Fall 2013

for the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris

See also, April 2013 Report by George C Poulos. George is an Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Re-design of the Courtyard - 2012-2013

One of the "finishing touches" that needs to be completed is the re-design of the external (back) courtyard. Architect Elias Vassiliadis has very kindly drawn up - free of charge - a plan drawn for the library grounds. The cost estimate for the work is approximately 11,000 euro's. The Library Committee and overseas friends hope to secure the money, fairly quickly, so they can put this work out to tender.

The design is elegant. There will be two alternative specifications for the covered area at the back, (6), one calling for a lightweight wood and bamboo pergola, and the other for a more substantial tiled roof; this will require two alternative cost figures. One substantially higher than the other. In either case, the covered area will be open at the front and sides.

The curved wall (1) will be of roughly dressed stone with a smooth upper surface, 50 cm high, so as to provide extra seating. Between this low wall and the boundary wall will be an area for planting, as will be area (3) alongside the access path.

Area (2), under the pergola and in front of the steps leading up to the library, will be smooth concrete, probably with some stone and terracotta decorative elements. Likewise the approach path, (4).

The main area of the courtyard, (5) will be fine gravel over a base layer of coarse gravel. Not only is this a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly than concreting everything, it also allows for natural drainage. If, instead, we were to concrete or seal the entire area, we would also have to provide for underground drainage. Insulated electrical outlets and water points will be provided along the perimeter wall.

The Library Committe, and overseas Friends have also asked for estimates for the provision of guttering for the main building, including buried drainage of the runoff.

2011

A Municipal Library. Considered critical infrastructure in most countries in the world.


The new municipal library is planned to open in Kondeleanika, Kythera. It is fully refurbished, and ready to be "fitted out" to fulfill its purpose - to become the first accessible lending library on the island of Kythera for 6,000 years.

The problem seems to be that Municipality of Kythera, has run out of money to equip it properly.

In Greece, Provinces (States) and the National government take no economic responsibility for local Libraries. This is a tragedy.

In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There is no town with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera, that does not have a well established and equipped library, in place.

The citizens of a town of this size would not tolerate not having an operational Library. It would be considered unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The Americans enter the campaign:

A group of Americans, under the leadership of Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis of Alhambra, California which is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, were inspired by Kythera's Mayor, Theodore Koukoulis to provide shelving for the library. Cynthia, her two sisters (Candace Weiss and Toni Cavalenes) and her cousin (Kendra Rosner) met the Mayor in September 2008 while visiting in the Municipality of Kythera building. This meeting was arranged through George Poulos, Public Relations Officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia, and Trustee of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. At that meeting Cynthia inquired what the needs of Kythera are and the Mayor responded "bookshelves" for the proposed library.

Cynthia organised the financing for the Bookshelves Project in the USA, and George Poulos, under the auspices of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, organised funds in Australia. By May 2009, Cynthia could report "that we have come a long way in the fund raising. If everyone that committed funds comes through we have raised $6,460. That leaves us with a need for $1,540 more for shipping plus the cost of the container, $2,500. I have no doubt we will get there. We still have some fund raising events up our sleeves, but I haven't had time to work on them just yet".

By the end of the Bookshelves Project she could report with some pride: "This project certainly does qualify as "great." If it did not, we would not have had so many people and organizations supporting it. We have had eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who have donated to this cause. I think as a grass roots project, that speaks volumes."

Just days after returning from her first visit to Kythera, Cynthia found the inspiraation for this project. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Alhambra's new municipal library, she realized that the City (where she works) may no longer need the bookshelves that remained in the decommissioned old library and that there could be an oppotunity to obtain some of them for Kythera's proposed library of which Mayor Koukoulis had spoken.

Photographs of the shelving in situ in California

Although locating bookshelves and obtaining them may appear to be an easy task, the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining property belonging to a municipality can be quite daunting. In January 2009, Cynthia reported: "I just received a message from the Director of Public Works who states that used bookshelves do not have much value on the auction market and are only worth about $120 per ton for the recycled steel, minus the agents commission. The shelves will have to be declared surplus and of no significant value, at which time I will be able to obtain them for Kythera for the suggested price of $1 per shelf unit. I accepted that price without hesitation. It might only cost about $100 to purchase the shelves.

I have a tentative February 10th presentation date with the Rotary to see if they will assist in this project. Also, since I am a member of the Soroptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, I might be able to convince them to help with the project. The shipping might cost about $10,000 and the soroptimists' help in fundraising will be invaluable. I'll know more after the presentations.

The City is anxious to mobilize removal of the shelves, so as I expected, I am under a tight timeframe to move them out of the old library."

Cynthia also faced numerous additional logistical challenges.
A. How to remove the shelving units from the old Alhambra Library, and where to store them?

In August 2009 Cynthia reported "We don't have the container yet. Half the shelves are stored indoors at a warehouse that belongs to a Rotarian and half are stored in my backyard (It's summer here so it's alright & they are covered). But they have to be moved before the rains come.

The City didn't want volunteers to dismantle the shelves in the City owned library building for liability reasons, so City staff moved them out of the library, but they cannot be stored on City property. It took a crew of six people a week to dismantle and bundle the components for the shelves. They transported them to Al's Towing in Alhambra where they are stored until we can shiip them.

It took a huge effort to get the shelves dismantled and into storage and it was very chaotic. I left someone else in charge who's concept differred from mine. Once I inventoried the equipment, I found that we didn't have the proper number and size of shelves to go with the respective frames so another work party was dispatched (2 more days) to go back into the old library to gather the pieces we were missing. The second batch was transported to my backyard. Another tricky piece of the puzzle - now that the shelves are out of the old library, City staff can't be used to load the container. A local church that has offered help from their youth group, but volunteer labor can be unpredictable and I am worried about the continuity of the project. Although many of the staff that have been working on this project might offer to volunteer to load the container, as the director of the department for which they work I can't allow that because it could be perceived as coercion from me. So the Soroptimists will provide a stipend to them (funded through the fundraising effort) for their work. One of the staff happens to also work for a shipping company. He has experience organizing the loading of containers. I have asked him (on behalf of the Soroptimists) to be the lead person in the task of loading of the container. So between the City staff who are familiar with the project and the volunteers from the church the container will be properly loaded.

I won't lie, it's been a difficult project. I've lost a lot of sleep over the whole thing. The nice thing is that all of these people really are dedicated to the project, so I know they will come through. I am trying to get the shelves shipped in the next couple of weeks, but I can't bring the container into the warehouse until we are ready to ship because of the inconvenience it will cause the warehouse owner. Now that I am telling the shipper I'm ready to move forward, I am getting frustrating information from them."

B. Will it be better to own the shipping container the shelves are to be sent in, or just use the one provided by the shipper?

One of Cynthia's contacts advised her that "most people don't own the container. I think there is more paperwork involved and it might be more work to pass through Customs. So I think shippers don't want to deal with that and try to discourage it."

Although there would be no additonal charge to use a container provided by the international shipping company, once the container arrived in Pireaus the load would have to moved to another container (at a cost to the project for the labor to do so) because the international shipper did not service Kythera and for liablity reasons could not allow their container to be loaded onto another vessel. The cost of shipping from Pireaus to Kythera would be $1,500 U.S. Once the container arrived on Kythera it would have to be immediately unloaded and returned to the vessel. Any additional time on the island would result in a rental charge for the container. The transport of the emplty container back to Pireaus would cost an additional $1,500 U.S. After extensive research, Cynthia located a "sea worthy" container with the appropriate inspection certificate at a cost of $2,500 U.S. Determining that the cost of transferring the load in Piraeus, potentially paying rent while the container was on Kythera and shipping the container back to Piraeus could be just as costly and possibly more costly, than purchasing the container outright, Cynthia decided purchasing the container was the better choice.

C. Can a free or inexpensive location be found to store the shelves until they could be shipped?

If storage space had to be rented it would prove costly. Ultimately space in a warehouse in Alhambra was donated by Rotarian, Al Pavone, owner of Al's Towing which had limited indoor space that could be used to store the shelves. This saved a tremendous amount of money since the shelves were in storage for approximately six months before they could be shipped. "We are finalizing our inventory to see what components we still need to get from the old library before we ship. We have been authorized to go back into the building and take whatever we still need. We are in really good shape. It looks like we have about 30-eight foot long wall sections, about 25-eight foot long free standing double sided sections, and 2-eight foot long display/counter units. The next hurdle will be weight. these bookshelves are steel. They are HEAVY!!! Hopefully we will be able to send the whole lot.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if they could go Kythera to help reassemble the bookshelves on the island. I told the staff that disassembled them that I'm sure they would be welcome, but they would have to fund their own way there. I'm attaching a photo of the crew with some of the dismantled shelves in the background.

Everyone is really excited about this project!"

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli posted an extended report on the Message Board, 31.05.2009.

The Shelving project was reported in the kythera-family Newsletter in June, 2009 , and July, 2009

John Stathatos acts as the Kytherian connection

John Stathatos is a great advocate for Hellenic and Kytherian culture on the island. He is the Director of the Kythera Cultural Association. John has been engaged in numerous cultural Projects, such as Photographic Encounters, and the restoration of the Fatseas collection of photographs, which were featured in a Benaki Museum exhibition.

He is a great advocate for the Municipal Library.
In October 2009, he wrote to Cindy and George advising / asking that:

1. You may add my name to any document. My address is Strapodi, Chora, Kythera 80100.
2. The container will be unloaded alongside or behind the new municipal library in Agios Elias, Kythera.
3. There is equipment on the island to unload the container. I will try to find out the cost, and can probably get it done for free, but I obviously need a few days to get the details.
4. Has Tina (Anoni) chosen a haulage company to carry the container from Piraeus to Kythera? If not, I might be able to get a discount rate from a local trucking company. Again, I would need till Monday or Tuesday to confirm this.
5. I saw the mayor today and brought him up to date.
6. Do we have even a very rough ballpark figure for arrival on Kythera?

On the 12th January, 2010, the shelving arrived on Kythera, and was unpacked on the same day, and packed away safely in the Library at Kontolianika.

John Stathatos announced:

"As it happened, the right crane to offload the whole container was out of commission. Fortunately work had finished on the inside of the library, which is nice and dry, so I got the municipality to provide some labour, and we got everything unloaded in a couple of hours.

Above, are couple of photos; we’ll take more when it comes time to assemble the shelves. (See below).

Congratulations on completing the final lap of your grand project!"

The Project was written up in the December 2009 issue of Kytheraismos newspaper

Cynthia sent an excited email to her many Shelving Project supporters:

"This is so coool! See article below regarding bookshelves project. It was run in the local Kytherian newspaper, Kytheraismos, and is posted on the kythera-family.net website. I know most of you cannot read it so once I get the translation, I'll send it along.

Gay (Kinman - a fellow Soroptimist)! you made the paper!!!! Aren't you glad you showed up that cold morning for the loading of the container?????

Organisations mentioned (that I can recognize - I don't speak or read Greek) - Alhambra, Soroptimist International, Rotary, Kythera Society of CA, Kythera Association of AU, Kythera Association of NY."

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Australian Financial Review on 01.10.2013

This sketch is of the master classes in tango dancing that we would have in the morning in the old school house at the main square.

The Australian Financial Review Magazine. pp. 48-52.

October Magazine. Friday 27th October, 2013

Article: To Draw is to See

Drawing is a crucial tool in an architect’s kit, but it’s use goes way beyond drafting building plans. Six (prominent Australian) architects tell Katrina Strickland when and where they sketch – and how much it means to them.

One of the 6 Australian architects chosen to comment was Kytherian architect.....

Eva-Marie Prineas

Architect Prineas


Once I began studying architecture, the way I sketched changed. I sketch in the office and also try to sketch when we go away, although with two children aged three and five it is easier when I travel alone. I probably don’t sketch enough in meetings because l'm self-conscious. I’m not confident enough to sketch in front of a client when the idea is not yet fully formed. But I have seen how sketching can completely seduce a client - some architects are masters.

My father is from the Greek island of Kythera, which is south of the Peloponnese and north of Crete. When l was at university I started working on a conservation plan for our family house, which is at the top of the island in a village called Mitata.

When you go there it is like stepping back into the 1940’s. We got married there and until we had children, travelled there every summer. Our neighbour in Mitata, who is also an architect, organised a week of tango one summer. This sketch is of the master classes we would have in the morning in the old school house at the main square.

The other image is from the island of Naoshima in Japan, where there are a number of art museums including Chichu.

To enter one of the galleries here, you have to remove your shoes and put on little slippers. You go through a dark space first, then emerge into a diffusely lit white room. Three significant Monet paintings appear to float on each of the walls. I made this sketch from memory afterwards. I was taken by the small moves the architect made, which completely changed the way I perceived the paintings.

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Lets Cook Greek on 26.04.2013

Traditional Greek Cooking Classes

Lets Cook Greek

Upload a .pdf of this flyer here:

lcg flyer 3a.pdf


We are two home cooks who realise the need to pass on recipes of traditional
Greek dishes before they are lost out of our kitchens forever. Our classes are demonstration style with sampling of all dishes and surprise giveaways for all.

GREEK FAVOURITES CLASS $95pp
TUESDAY 21 MAY

6.30pm-9.30pm

This course offers a selection of some of the more popular Greek recipes and you will be amazed how easy they are. You will learn to make:

Spanakopita
Stifatho
souzoukakia
kourabiethes
baklava

YIAYIA’S DELIGHTS $95pp
TUESDAY 4 JUNE

6.30pm-9.30pm

Every yiayia had these dishes in her repertoire, and now they can be part of yours!

Mousaka
Lahanodolmathes
yiouvetsi
Galaktoboureko
paximathia

BOOKINGS

Koula 0419432600

Toula 0412610472

Email, letscookgreek
www.letscookgreek.com.au


Venue:

Pino’s Dolce Vita Fine Food,
45 President Ave,
Kogarah, 2217
NSW

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 03.11.2013

Kytherian Library Report. April 2013.

Delightful photograph of the children unpacking the books.

For a few years a small Children’s and Adolescent Library Library operated in Livathi, Kythera. However it closed down in 2011. In 'western' countries such as Australia, America & Canada, and most countries in Europe, Asia, North & South America, all small communities and all small townships maintain a Local Lending Library. There are few towns in the world with a population of 3,300, the population of Kythera that does not have a well established and equipped library. The citizens of a town of this size would consider not having a library unacceptable, and prejudicial to their children's future.

The original Kondelianika School is located just as you turn from the central road in Kythera towards Ayios Elias. (See the map provided). Some years ago the Municipality of Kythera decided to establish a Central Library “re-adapting” the school building. As you can see from the photograph the Library building is substantial, and well maintained. However, there was little funding for shelving and equipment to fit out the library.

Cindy Jarvis (nee Cavalenes), a niece to Spyro Kavallinis and Aryiro Notaras in Sydney, lives in Los Angeles, USA, and works for the city Council in Alhambra, California. In 2011, the Alhambra Council was disposing of a large quantity of library shelving. Cindy took the initiative, secured funding to purchase the shelving, and have it packed and shipped to Kythera by container. Cindy coordinated eight organizations (and their members) including Soroptimist International of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino, Rotary International of Alhambra, KAA, KSOC, KSNY, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope of Santa Barbara, two companies (providing in-kind assistance) and over fifty individuals (including a film/television celebrity) who donated to the cause. In Australia, the Aroney Trust, KWHF, and KAA also provided valuable assistance. The shelving you see in the photographs is from Alhambra, USA. A surplus of shelving was also distributed to other cultural groups on the island.

In October 2012, a part time Library assistant was provided to Kythera by the Greek Republic’s, Department of Employment. During the time of her tenure many volunteers gathered to organize and assist in establishing the Library. The books from the original Children’s Library were integrated into the collection.

It has been obvious for many years that the Library could be maintained on an ongoing basis, only with the help of volunteers. The Municipality did not share this view. Dimitri Koutrafouris, the young manager of the National Bank in Potamos, using all his patience and diplomatic skills managed to convince the authorities that the volunteer system was the only viable option. The Library volunteers assumed their “duties” on the 27 March 2013. The library will now remain open throughout spring. Opening hours are 4-8 pm every day except Sundays, and the library can be opened in the mornings for school visits by prior arrangement. During summer, opening days will have to be restricted since most volunteers will be busy, but the library administrator’s can still guarantee opening at least 2-3 days out of 7.

Dimitri Koutrafouris, along with John Stathatos have been very ‘hands on’ at the Library. With assistance, they have re-arranged the shelving system to allow more units to fit into the library and increase accessibility (you can see this in one of the photos). They have also arranged the books into a simpler system of decimal cataloguing which they devised and adapted to the needs of the library. The Municipality has also been persuaded to allow a much wider selection of books to be loaned.

John Stathatos is co-founder and artistic director of the Kythera Cultural Association. Co-founder and joint leader of the Kythiraiki Protovoulia (Kytherian Initiative) municipal reform group. Other volunteers who have offered assistance include Eleni Rousketou: Eleni has been very active in a variety of social, cultural and philanthropic fields on the island. She is a key member of the Dramatic Society as actor and writer, and is currently trying to organise free distribution of milk to the kindergartens and primary schools of the island. She has recently been asked to join the governing body of the Kythera Cultural Association. Another active volunteer is Antonis Poulios. He is a young primary school teacher, representing the children’s activities sub-group.

All volunteers, including the children and their teachers have provided invaluable assistance. As you can see from the photographs, the children are thoroughly enjoying their new library, and the facility it affords them to learn and develop.

A first, in the 3,000 year history of the island of Kythera.

George C Poulos

Honorary Member of the Friends of Kythera Library

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Municipal Library Kythera on 18.04.2013

Opening of the Municipal Library of Kythera

What follows is a liberal translation of the Press Release, in Greek, (further) below.

It is always a shame when a school is forced to close. But there is always a sense of triumph when a school, like the closed Primary School in Kontolianika, finds an “adaptive re-use”, and reopens. Over the month of May 2013, all the necessary preparations for the establishment and operation of a Public Library on Kythera were completed. After a long period of prevarication, a firm commitment was finally made to establish of a large public library in the centre of the island.

This has been achieved by the persistent and optimistic efforts of various political and cultural entities on the island, as well as individuals associated with those entities. The Library, in addition to promoting the love of books will perform broader educational missions. This cultural coalition has effectively combined their efforts, powers, intentions, desires, skills and resources for the benefit of the island.

The Library had been administered from September 2012, by the municipal clerk Calliope Kasimati, from the Graduate School of Management of Cultural Resources at the University of Peloponnese. Her appointment was a temporary one. During her tenure she was assisted by an informal and ever-expanding group of volunteers. They arrived unsolicited and ‘magically” grew in number. Working together, these volunteers will ensure that the Library will stay open, irrespective of national and local economic developments, and municipal affairs.

The volunteer’s first task was to organise the seven thousand volumes which occupied the large, single classroom, as well as numerous forgotten books still packed away in boxes. These had come into the possession of the municipality from 14 November 2011, after the Children’s and Adolescent Library in Livadi closed down. They had been packed away properly, and have been rescued from the ravages of moisture, dust and rodents. The losses have been reduced to a minimum. The volunteers have already completed the registration, sorting, restoration and classification of books. This has been achieved by “working overtime”, including performing extra work every Saturday. The work has been undertaken with big dreams, unexpected improvisations, and with the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, teachers and children.

Other students in advanced countries with a rich educational and cultural heritage enjoy the privilege of libraries as a ‘given’, and a right. They benefit greatly as a result of having access to public libraries. We, in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, on our favourite little island, have had to struggle to achieve the same privileges. This need to build up the Library ‘from scratch’ has made us appreciate what we have achieved so much more. Working together we will find a way to turn previous shortcomings into creative power.

It is not often that people are given the opportunity to become a pioneers, patrons and participants in the birth of such an exalted and beautiful institution.


Fall 2013

On Behalf of the Group of Volunteers

The Municipal Library of Kythera

Dimitris Koutrafouris
(Contact tel: 6970235969)


Dimiris is the Manager of the National Bank of Greece, Hora


Η ευχή που συνοδεύει πάντοτε το κλείσιμο ενός σχολείου πραγματοποιείται για πρώτη φορά. Το κλειστό Δημοτικό Σχολείο στα Κοντολιάνικα ξανανοίγει. Εδώ κι έναν μήνα γίνονται οι αναγκαίες προετοιμασίες για τη δημιουργία και λειτουργία της Δημοτικής Βιβλιοθήκης Κυθήρων. Μετά από ένα μακρύ διάστημα δισταγμών, τελικά επικράτησε η σταθερή προσήλωση στην ανάγκη ίδρυσης μιας μεγάλης δημόσιας βιβλιοθήκης στο κέντρο του νησιού. Με την επίμονη αισιοδοξία πολιτικών και πνευματικών φορέων αλλά και μεμονωμένων προσώπων γεννιέται η προσδοκία ενός πολιτιστικού οργανισμού ο οποίος εκτός από την προώθηση της αγάπης για το βιβλίο θα επιτελεί ευρύτερη μορφωτική αποστολή. Αυτό που προβάλλει τώρα ως στοίχημα είναι ο καλύτερος δυνατός συνδυασμός δυνάμεων, προθέσεων, επιθυμιών, ικανοτήτων και πόρων.
Υπεύθυνη τοποθετήθηκε, για ένα πεντάμηνο, το πιο ενδεδειγμένο ίσως γι’ αυτή τη θέση πρόσωπο, η δημοτική υπάλληλος Καλλιόπη Κασιμάτη, πτυχιούχος της Σχολής Διαχείρισης Πολιτιστικών Πόρων του Πανεπιστημίου Πελοποννήσου. Από την πρώτη στιγμή πλαισιώθηκε από μιαν άτυπη και συνεχώς διευρυνόμενη ομάδα εθελοντών, αυτόκλητων και κατά τρόπο σχεδόν μαγικό συναθροισμένων. Όλοι μαζί εργαζόμαστε με την ελπίδα να μπει σύντομα το νερό στ’ αυλάκι ώστε να μην είναι δυνατή καμμία υπαναχώρηση, όποια κι αν είναι η εξέλιξη των οικονομικών και των δημοτικών πραγμάτων.
Κατ’ αρχάς, βρεθήκαμε ‘‘αντιμέτωποι’’ με έναν όγκο επτά χιλιάδων τόμων οι οποίοι καταλαμβάνουν τη μεγάλη, ενιαία σχολική αίθουσα και με την αναμονή άλλων τόσων ‘‘ξεχασμένων’’ σε κιβώτια. Στην κατοχή του Δήμου μας έχει περιέλθει από 14 Νοεμβρίου 2011 η Παιδική κι Εφηβική Βιβλιοθήκη Λειβαδίου κι έτσι διασώθηκε το μεγαλύτερο τμήμα της πριν προφτάσει να γίνει βορά της υγρασίας, της σκόνης και των τρωκτικών. Οι απώλειες έχουν περιοριστεί ευτυχώς στο ελάχιστο. Ήδη ολοκληρώνεται η καταγραφή, διαλογή και ταξινόμηση, η έκθεση των χρηστικών βιβλίων και η αποθήκευση των υπολοίπων, πολλές φορές με υπερωρίες και πρόσθετη εργασία κάθε Σάββατο, με μεγάλα όνειρα, απροσδόκητους αυτοσχεδιασμούς και με την ενθουσιώδη συνδρομή εθελοντών, εκπαιδευτικών και παιδιών.
Άλλοι μαθητές σε προηγμένες χώρες με πλούσιες εκπαιδευτικές παραστάσεις θα απολαμβάνουν πιθανότατα καλύτερη από τη δική μας εκπαίδευση. Εμείς σε ετούτο το μικρό κι αγαπημένο τόπο μπορεί να μην βρίσκουμε έτοιμα αυτά που ονειρευόμαστε αλλά νοιώθουμε εντονότερη την ανάγκη τους κι έχουμε το ‘‘προνόμιο’’ να τα στήνουμε μόνοι μας από την αρχή. Όλοι μαζί θα βρούμε τον τρόπο να μετατρέψουμε τις ελλείψεις σε δημιουργική δύναμη. Δεν δίνεται άλλωστε συχνά η ευκαιρία να γίνει κανείς μάρτυρας, αρωγός και συμμέτοχος στη γέννηση ενός υψηλού και ωραίου θεσμού.

Φθινόπωρο 2013

εκ μέρους της Ομάδας Εθελοντών
Δημήτρης Κουτραφούρης
(τηλ. επικοινωνίας: 69.70.23.59.69)

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kytherian Publishing & Media on 18.04.2013

Emmanuel Kalligeros receives prestigious awards from the Academy of Athens

Emmanuel Kalligeros with the President of Academia of Athens Prof. G. Kontopoulos.

The Academy (Ἀκαδήμεια) was founded by Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC) in ca. 387 BC.

In the recent annual meeting of the Academy of Athens, the highest and most prestigious cultural institution in Greece, it was announced that in the categories of Political and Moral Sciences, the editor and author Emmanuel P. Kalligeros was afforded the highest honour for his books "Kythirian Surnames, Historical, Geographical and Linguistic approach" and "Kythirian Place Names (Toponymia), Historical Geography of Cythera." The decision states that in addition to awards for his books, he was also 'awarded' for his contribution to the development of Kythera (newspaper, books, guides).

Emmanuel P. Kalligeros documented Kytherian history in these two books - Kytherian Surnames, Historical, Geographical and Linguistic approach "(Society of Kytherian Studies, 2002, re-printed in 2006) and Kytherian Place Names, (Toponymia), Historical Geography of Kythera" (Society of Kytherian Studies, 2011). This research helped to explain the emergence of modern Kythera.

The General Secretary of the Academy, Mr. V. Petrakou , reading from the report during the ceremony, stated that" the publication of these books is based "on original research over many years. They have enlightened the modern history of Kythera and provided material for new research." This high praise was reiterated by the president of the Academy of Athens, Mr. G. Contopoulos, in the presence of the Minister of Education and Culture Minister Arvanitopoulos.

Emmanuel Kalligeros warmly thanked the Academy of Athens for the honour bestowed upon him. He also thanked many persons who supported his long-term research on Kythera, who provided him with the strength and inspiration to complete these projects, and for making valuable suggestions, that enhanced the works. A number of institutions and associations also provided valuable assistance. The Trifyllion Foundation, KIPA, the Society of Kytherian Studies, the Kytherian Associations of Athens & Australia, and the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust in Sydney. Thanks must go to all culturally minded persons on Kythera, in Athens and around the world, who embraced this whole effort of research on these key areas of ​​Kytherian History.

It should be noted that the English version of Kytherian Surnames has now been printed, and will soon be ready for distribution. Also that the translation into English of Kytherian Place Names is well advanced, and this too should be available for distribution by the end of year 2013. Kytherians in Greece and the diaspora are very keen to acquire English versions of these works. Both works were provided ostensibly free of charge by Emmanuel Kalligeros, in order that they could be enjoyed by Kytherians around the world.

Στην καθιερωμένη ετήσια σύνοδο της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών, κατά τη οποία ανακοινώνονται οι βραβεύσεις του Ανωτάτου αυτού πνευματικού Ιδρύματος της χώρας, ανακοινώθηκε και η απονομή επαίνου από την τάξη των Πολιτικών και Ηθικών Επιστημών στον εκδότη των "Κ" Εμμ. Π. Καλλίγερου για τα βιβλία του "Κυθηραικά Επώνυμα, Ιστορική, Γεωγραφική και γλωσσική προσέγγιση" και "Κυθηραικά Τοπωνύμια, Ιστορική Γεωγραφία των Κυθήρων". Η απόφαση αναφέρει ότι απονέμεται για τα παραπάνω βιβλία, αλλά και για την συμβολή του στην ανάπτυξη των Κυθήρων (εφημερίδα, βιβλία, οδηγοί).

"Έπαινος, οίκοθεν, στον Εμμ. Π. Καλλίγερο για τα δύο βιβλία του "Κυθηραικά Επώνυμα, Ιστορική, Γεωγραφική και γλωσσική προσέγγιση" (Εταιρεία Κυθηραικών Μελετών, 2002, β΄ έκδ. 2006) και Κυθηραικά Τοπωνύμια, Ιστορική Γεωγραφία των Κυθήρων" (Εταιρεία Κυθηραικών Μελετών, 2011), καθώς και για την λοιπή συμβολή του στην ανάδειξη των Κυθήρων". Για τα βιβλία αναφέρεται στην έκθεσή του Γ.Γ. της Ακαδημίας κ. Β. Πετράκου, η οποία αναγνώσθηκε κατά την απονομή, ότι "...αποτελούν τον καρπό πρωτότυπων και πολύχρονων ερευνών με τις οποίες διαφωτίζεται η νεώτερη ιστορία των Κυθήρων και προσφέρεται ύλη για νέες έρευνες".
Τον έπαινο επέδωσε ο πρόεδρος της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών κ. Γ. Κοντόπουλος παρουσία του υπουργού Παιδείας και Πολιτισμού κ. Αρβανιτόπουλου. Ο συγγραφέας από τη θέση αυτή απευθύνει θερμές ευχαριστίες, τόσο στην ολομέλεια της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών για την τιμή που του έκαναν, όσο και στα Κυθηραικά σωματεία, τα οποία, όχι μόνο υπεστήριξαν τις μακρόχρονες προσπάθειες για την ολοκλήρωση των έργων αυτών, όσο και για τις προτάσεις τους. Ειδικά αναφέρονται, το Τριφύλλειο Ίδρυμα, το ΚΙΠΑ, η Εταιρεία Κυηθραικών Μελετών και ο Κυθηραικός Σύνδεσμος Αθηνών, καθώς και όλοι οι πνευματικοί άνθρωποι και οι παράγοντες των Κυθηρίων της Αθήνας, οι οποίοι αγκάλιασαν την όλη προσπάθεια σχετικά με την έρευνα ενός σημαντικού τομέα της Κυθηραικής Ιστορίας.
Σημειώνεται ότι είναι ήδη έτοιμη και θα κυκλοφορήσει σύντομα η μεταφρασμένη στα αγγλικά έκδοση των Επωνύμων, ενώ προχωρεί και η μετάφραση των τοπωνυμίων. Και για τα 2 έργα υπάρχει ζωηρό ενδιαφέρον από τους Κυθήριους της Διασποράς, προς παράγοντες και ιδρύματα των οποίων προσεφέρθη δωρεάν η εργασία αυτή.

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kytherian Publishing & Media on 18.04.2013

Emmanuel Kalligeros receives prestigious awards from the Academy of Athens

Emmanuel Kalligeros with the minister of Education and Culture Prof. K. Arvanitopoulos.

The Academy (Ἀκαδήμεια) was founded by Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC) in ca. 387 BC.

In the recent annual meeting of the Academy of Athens, the highest and most prestigious cultural institution in Greece, it was announced that in the categories of Political and Moral Sciences, the editor and author Emmanuel P. Kalligeros was afforded the highest honour for his books "Kythirian Surnames, Historical, Geographical and Linguistic approach" and "Kythirian Place Names (Toponymia), Historical Geography of Cythera." The decision states that in addition to awards for his books, he was also 'awarded' for his contribution to the development of Kythera (newspaper, books, guides).

Emmanuel P. Kalligeros documented Kytherian history in these two books - Kytherian Surnames, Historical, Geographical and Linguistic approach "(Society of Kytherian Studies, 2002, re-printed in 2006) and Kytherian Place Names, (Toponymia), Historical Geography of Kythera" (Society of Kytherian Studies, 2011). This research helped to explain the emergence of modern Kythera.

The General Secretary of the Academy, Mr. V. Petrakou , reading from the report during the ceremony, stated that" the publication of these books is based "on original research over many years. They have enlightened the modern history of Kythera and provided material for new research." This high praise was reiterated by the president of the Academy of Athens, Mr. G. Contopoulos, in the presence of the Minister of Education and Culture Minister Arvanitopoulos.

Emmanuel Kalligeros warmly thanked the Academy of Athens for the honour bestowed upon him. He also thanked many persons who supported his long-term research on Kythera, who provided him with the strength and inspiration to complete these projects, and for making valuable suggestions, that enhanced the works. A number of institutions and associations also provided valuable assistance. The Trifyllion Foundation, KIPA, the Society of Kytherian Studies, the Kytherian Associations of Athens & Australia, and the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust in Sydney. Thanks must go to all culturally minded persons on Kythera, in Athens and around the world, who embraced this whole effort of research on these key areas of ​​Kytherian History.

It should be noted that the English version of Kytherian Surnames has now been printed, and will soon be ready for distribution. Also that the translation into English of Kytherian Place Names is well advanced, and this too should be available for distribution by the end of year 2013. Kytherians in Greece and the diaspora are very keen to acquire English versions of these works. Both works were provided ostensibly free of charge by Emmanuel Kalligeros, in order that they could be enjoyed by Kytherians around the world.

Στην καθιερωμένη ετήσια σύνοδο της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών, κατά τη οποία ανακοινώνονται οι βραβεύσεις του Ανωτάτου αυτού πνευματικού Ιδρύματος της χώρας, ανακοινώθηκε και η απονομή επαίνου από την τάξη των Πολιτικών και Ηθικών Επιστημών στον εκδότη των "Κ" Εμμ. Π. Καλλίγερου για τα βιβλία του "Κυθηραικά Επώνυμα, Ιστορική, Γεωγραφική και γλωσσική προσέγγιση" και "Κυθηραικά Τοπωνύμια, Ιστορική Γεωγραφία των Κυθήρων". Η απόφαση αναφέρει ότι απονέμεται για τα παραπάνω βιβλία, αλλά και για την συμβολή του στην ανάπτυξη των Κυθήρων (εφημερίδα, βιβλία, οδηγοί).

"Έπαινος, οίκοθεν, στον Εμμ. Π. Καλλίγερο για τα δύο βιβλία του "Κυθηραικά Επώνυμα, Ιστορική, Γεωγραφική και γλωσσική προσέγγιση" (Εταιρεία Κυθηραικών Μελετών, 2002, β΄ έκδ. 2006) και Κυθηραικά Τοπωνύμια, Ιστορική Γεωγραφία των Κυθήρων" (Εταιρεία Κυθηραικών Μελετών, 2011), καθώς και για την λοιπή συμβολή του στην ανάδειξη των Κυθήρων". Για τα βιβλία αναφέρεται στην έκθεσή του Γ.Γ. της Ακαδημίας κ. Β. Πετράκου, η οποία αναγνώσθηκε κατά την απονομή, ότι "...αποτελούν τον καρπό πρωτότυπων και πολύχρονων ερευνών με τις οποίες διαφωτίζεται η νεώτερη ιστορία των Κυθήρων και προσφέρεται ύλη για νέες έρευνες".
Τον έπαινο επέδωσε ο πρόεδρος της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών κ. Γ. Κοντόπουλος παρουσία του υπουργού Παιδείας και Πολιτισμού κ. Αρβανιτόπουλου. Ο συγγραφέας από τη θέση αυτή απευθύνει θερμές ευχαριστίες, τόσο στην ολομέλεια της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών για την τιμή που του έκαναν, όσο και στα Κυθηραικά σωματεία, τα οποία, όχι μόνο υπεστήριξαν τις μακρόχρονες προσπάθειες για την ολοκλήρωση των έργων αυτών, όσο και για τις προτάσεις τους. Ειδικά αναφέρονται, το Τριφύλλειο Ίδρυμα, το ΚΙΠΑ, η Εταιρεία Κυηθραικών Μελετών και ο Κυθηραικός Σύνδεσμος Αθηνών, καθώς και όλοι οι πνευματικοί άνθρωποι και οι παράγοντες των Κυθηρίων της Αθήνας, οι οποίοι αγκάλιασαν την όλη προσπάθεια σχετικά με την έρευνα ενός σημαντικού τομέα της Κυθηραικής Ιστορίας.
Σημειώνεται ότι είναι ήδη έτοιμη και θα κυκλοφορήσει σύντομα η μεταφρασμένη στα αγγλικά έκδοση των Επωνύμων, ενώ προχωρεί και η μετάφραση των τοπωνυμίων. Και για τα 2 έργα υπάρχει ζωηρό ενδιαφέρον από τους Κυθήριους της Διασποράς, προς παράγοντες και ιδρύματα των οποίων προσεφέρθη δωρεάν η εργασία αυτή.

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Kytherian Publishing & Media on 18.04.2013

Emmanuel Kalligeros receives prestigious awards from the Academy of Athens

Emmanuel Kalligeros with the President of Academia of Athens Prof. G. Kontopoulos.

The Academy (Ἀκαδήμεια) was founded by Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC) in ca. 387 BC.

In the recent annual meeting of the Academy of Athens, the highest and most prestigious cultural institution in Greece, it was announced that in the categories of Political and Moral Sciences, the editor and author Emmanuel P. Kalligeros was afforded the highest honour for his books "Kythirian Surnames, Historical, Geographical and Linguistic approach" and "Kythirian Place Names (Toponymia), Historical Geography of Cythera." The decision states that in addition to awards for his books, he was also 'awarded' for his contribution to the development of Kythera (newspaper, books, guides).

Emmanuel P. Kalligeros documented Kytherian history in these two books - Kytherian Surnames, Historical, Geographical and Linguistic approach "(Society of Kytherian Studies, 2002, re-printed in 2006) and Kytherian Place Names, (Toponymia), Historical Geography of Kythera" (Society of Kytherian Studies, 2011). This research helped to explain the emergence of modern Kythera.

The General Secretary of the Academy, Mr. V. Petrakou , reading from the report during the ceremony, stated that" the publication of these books is based "on original research over many years. They have enlightened the modern history of Kythera and provided material for new research." This high praise was reiterated by the president of the Academy of Athens, Mr. G. Contopoulos, in the presence of the Minister of Education and Culture Minister Arvanitopoulos.

Emmanuel Kalligeros warmly thanked the Academy of Athens for the honour bestowed upon him. He also thanked many persons who supported his long-term research on Kythera, who provided him with the strength and inspiration to complete these projects, and for making valuable suggestions, that enhanced the works. A number of institutions and associations also provided valuable assistance. The Trifyllion Foundation, KIPA, the Society of Kytherian Studies, the Kytherian Associations of Athens & Australia, and the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust in Sydney. Thanks must go to all culturally minded persons on Kythera, in Athens and around the world, who embraced this whole effort of research on these key areas of ​​Kytherian History.

It should be noted that the English version of Kytherian Surnames has now been printed, and will soon be ready for distribution. Also that the translation into English of Kytherian Place Names is well advanced, and this too should be available for distribution by the end of year 2013. Kytherians in Greece and the diaspora are very keen to acquire English versions of these works. Both works were provided ostensibly free of charge by Emmanuel Kalligeros, in order that they could be enjoyed by Kytherians around the world.

Στην καθιερωμένη ετήσια σύνοδο της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών, κατά τη οποία ανακοινώνονται οι βραβεύσεις του Ανωτάτου αυτού πνευματικού Ιδρύματος της χώρας, ανακοινώθηκε και η απονομή επαίνου από την τάξη των Πολιτικών και Ηθικών Επιστημών στον εκδότη των "Κ" Εμμ. Π. Καλλίγερου για τα βιβλία του "Κυθηραικά Επώνυμα, Ιστορική, Γεωγραφική και γλωσσική προσέγγιση" και "Κυθηραικά Τοπωνύμια, Ιστορική Γεωγραφία των Κυθήρων". Η απόφαση αναφέρει ότι απονέμεται για τα παραπάνω βιβλία, αλλά και για την συμβολή του στην ανάπτυξη των Κυθήρων (εφημερίδα, βιβλία, οδηγοί).

"Έπαινος, οίκοθεν, στον Εμμ. Π. Καλλίγερο για τα δύο βιβλία του "Κυθηραικά Επώνυμα, Ιστορική, Γεωγραφική και γλωσσική προσέγγιση" (Εταιρεία Κυθηραικών Μελετών, 2002, β΄ έκδ. 2006) και Κυθηραικά Τοπωνύμια, Ιστορική Γεωγραφία των Κυθήρων" (Εταιρεία Κυθηραικών Μελετών, 2011), καθώς και για την λοιπή συμβολή του στην ανάδειξη των Κυθήρων". Για τα βιβλία αναφέρεται στην έκθεσή του Γ.Γ. της Ακαδημίας κ. Β. Πετράκου, η οποία αναγνώσθηκε κατά την απονομή, ότι "...αποτελούν τον καρπό πρωτότυπων και πολύχρονων ερευνών με τις οποίες διαφωτίζεται η νεώτερη ιστορία των Κυθήρων και προσφέρεται ύλη για νέες έρευνες".
Τον έπαινο επέδωσε ο πρόεδρος της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών κ. Γ. Κοντόπουλος παρουσία του υπουργού Παιδείας και Πολιτισμού κ. Αρβανιτόπουλου. Ο συγγραφέας από τη θέση αυτή απευθύνει θερμές ευχαριστίες, τόσο στην ολομέλεια της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών για την τιμή που του έκαναν, όσο και στα Κυθηραικά σωματεία, τα οποία, όχι μόνο υπεστήριξαν τις μακρόχρονες προσπάθειες για την ολοκλήρωση των έργων αυτών, όσο και για τις προτάσεις τους. Ειδικά αναφέρονται, το Τριφύλλειο Ίδρυμα, το ΚΙΠΑ, η Εταιρεία Κυηθραικών Μελετών και ο Κυθηραικός Σύνδεσμος Αθηνών, καθώς και όλοι οι πνευματικοί άνθρωποι και οι παράγοντες των Κυθηρίων της Αθήνας, οι οποίοι αγκάλιασαν την όλη προσπάθεια σχετικά με την έρευνα ενός σημαντικού τομέα της Κυθηραικής Ιστορίας.
Σημειώνεται ότι είναι ήδη έτοιμη και θα κυκλοφορήσει σύντομα η μεταφρασμένη στα αγγλικά έκδοση των Επωνύμων, ενώ προχωρεί και η μετάφραση των τοπωνυμίων. Και για τα 2 έργα υπάρχει ζωηρό ενδιαφέρον από τους Κυθήριους της Διασποράς, προς παράγοντες και ιδρύματα των οποίων προσεφέρθη δωρεάν η εργασία αυτή.

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Greek Coffee on 10.04.2013

Certain types of coffee may help you live past 90 (but you'll have to go to Greece to drink it)

Daily Mail. United Kingdom.

By ANTHONY BOND

PUBLISHED: 20 March 2013 18:26 GMT, 2

For many people, it is their kick-start to the day.
But a new study has found that drinking certain types of coffee could also help you to live longer.
Researchers studied the elderly inhabitants of Greek Island Ikaria, who boast the highest rates of longevity in the world.

Findings: A new study has found that drinking certain types of coffee could help you to live longer

Download the entire article as a .pdf, here:

Vasc Med-2013-Siasos-Coffee.pdf


They found that a cup of boiled Greek coffee could hold the key to good cardiovascular health, according to a new study published in SAGE journal Vascular Medicine.
However those who drank normal coffee, like those favoured in the UK, did not display the same good health, the study found.

Study author Dr Gerasimos Siasos, from the University of Athens Medical School, said: 'Boiled Greek type of coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to gather benefits compared to other coffee beverages.

'This study provides a new connection between nutritional habits and cardiovascular health.

'Given the extent of coffee drinking across the world, and the fact that even small health effects of at least one type of coffee could have a large impact on public health, this study provides an interesting starting point.'

Ikarians are twice as likely to live past the age of 90 than in any other part of Europe, with the islanders tending to live out their latter years in good health, researchers said.

Unfortunate: Normal coffee which we favour in the UK does not display the same good health. This is a file

Researchers from University of Athens Medical School looked at links between coffee-drinking habits and endothelial function, which helps to regulate blood clotting and assist the immune system.

A dysfunctional endothelial can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes.

Recent studies suggest that moderate coffee consumption may reduce the risks of heart disease, and have a positive impact on aspects of endothelial health.

Of the 142 islanders over 65 polled, those who drank only Greek boiled coffee (87 per cent) had better endothelial function than those who consumed other types of coffee.
Medical staff used health checks and questionnaires to get more detail on the participants’ medical health, lifestyles and coffee drinking, in addition to testing their endothelial function.

Even in those with high blood pressure, boiled Greek coffee consumption was associated with improved endothelial function, without worrying impacts on blood pressure.

Dr Siasos said: 'Further studies are needed to document the exact beneficial mechanisms of coffee on cardiovascular health.'

Greek coffee is boiled in a special pot and served foamy at the top with grounds at the bottom of the cup.

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Greek Coffee on 10.04.2013

Consumption of a boiled Greek type of coffee is associated with improved endothelial function: The Ikaria Study

Authors

Pitsavos and Christodoulos Stefanadis
Marina Zaromitidou, Konstantinos Zisimos, Eleni Kokkou, Georgios Marinos, Athanasios G Papavassiliou, Christos
Gerasimos Siasos, Evangelos Oikonomou, Christina Chrysohoou, Dimitris Tousoulis, Demosthenes Panagiotakos.

Magazine: Vascular Medicine

[What follows is part of the article. Numbers refer to references that can be obtained from the full article..

Download the entire article as a .pdf, here:

Vasc Med-2013-Siasos-Coffee.pdf


Abstract

Objective: The association of coffee consumption with cardiovascular disease remains controversial. Endothelial function is associated with cardiovascular risk. We examined the association between chronic coffee consumption and endothelium function in elderly inhabitants of the island of Ikaria.

Methods: The analysis was conducted on 142 elderly subjects (aged 66–91 years) of the Ikaria Study. Endothelial function was evaluated by ultrasound measurement of flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Coffee consumption was evaluated based on a food frequency questionnaire and was categorized as ‘low’ (< 200 ml/day), ‘moderate’ (200–450 ml/day), or ‘high’ (> 450 ml/day).

Results: From the subjects included in the study, 87% consumed a boiled Greek type of coffee. Moreover, 40% had a ‘low’, 48% a ‘moderate’ and 13% a ‘high’ daily coffee consumption. There was a linear increase in FMD according to coffee consumption (‘low’: 4.33 ± 2.51% vs ‘moderate’: 5.39 ± 3.09% vs ‘high’: 6.47 ± 2.72%; p = 0.032). Moreover, subjects consuming mainly a boiled Greek type of coffee had a significantly higher FMD compared with those consuming other types of coffee beverages (p = 0.035).

Conclusions: Chronic coffee consumption is associated with improved endothelial function in elderly subjects, providing a new connection between nutrition and vascular health.

Introduction

Coffee is one of the most frequently consumed beverages and several studies have evaluated the association between chronic or acute coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease risk. [1–5]. Recent studies suggest a slight risk reduction for coronary heart disease mortality with moderate coffee consumption. [6,7] Moreover, favorable effects of chronic caffeine administration on endothelial cell migration, on re-endothelialization and on the expression of nitric oxide synthase enzyme have also been reported. [8,9]
It is known that endothelium plays a key role in vascular function and parameters of vascular function and structure show important clinical impact and are associated with cardiovascular risk. [10–12] Endothelial function, which is usually quantified by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in the brachial artery, [13] reflects the ‘health’ of the vessel wall and is affected by various lifestyle habits (e.g. smoking) and aging. [14,15]

Ikaria island inhabitants have been recognised as having one of the highest longevity rates universally and a high percentage of healthy aging. [16,17] Indeed, in Europe, only 0.1% of the population lives over 90 years, while in Ikaria the percentage is roughly 1%. As Ikaria’s elderly population consists of an isolated rural group with established lifestyle conditions, the study of the factors related to cardiovascular risk seems interesting.
To our knowledge, there are no clinical studies evaluating the effects of chronic coffee consumption on endothelial function, especially in subjects with established cardiovascular risk factors such as elderly individuals. Therefore, under the context of the Ikaria Study, [17,18] we examined the association between habitual coffee intake and endothelial function.

Materials and methods
Study sample


The Ikaria epidemiological study17,19,20 has been carried out in the Province of Ikaria, in Greece. In brief, during 2009, a volunteering-based, multistage sampling method was used to enroll 673 permanent elderly inhabitants of Ikaria above the age of 65 years old. The participation rate was 95%. Of the aforementioned sample, we randomly selected one of every fifth participant entering the study in order to evaluate his/her endothelial function; thus, 71 men (75 ± 6 years) and 71 women (75 ± 6 years) were studied in this project. All participants were interviewed by trained personnel (cardiologists, general practitioners and nurses) who used a standard questionnaire developed for the purposes of the study.

Bioethics

The study was approved by the Medical Research Ethics Committee of our institution and was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1989) of the World Medical Association. All subjects were informed about the aims of the study, agreed to participate and signed an informed consent.

Anthropometric, clinical and biochemical characteristics
Weight and height were measured using standard procedures and body mass index (BMI) scores were calculated as weight divided by height squared (kg/m2). Resting arterial blood pressure was measured three times in the right arm at the end of the physical examination with the subject in a sitting position. Patients whose average blood pressure levels were greater or equal to 140/90 mmHg or were under anti-hypertensive medication were classified as hypertensive subjects. Fasting blood samples were collected between 08.00 and 10:00 hours. Blood lipid examinations (serum total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides) were measured using a chromatographic enzymic method in an automatic analyzer (RA-1000). Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was calculated using the Friedewald formula: (total cholesterol) – (HDL cholesterol) – 1/5 (triglycerides). The intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation of cholesterol levels did not exceed 3%, of triglycerides 4% and of HDL-cholesterol 4%. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as total serum cholesterol levels greater than 200 mg/dl or the use of lipid-lowering agents. All biochemical evaluations were carried out in the same laboratory that followed the criteria of the World Health Organization Reference Laboratories. Diabetes mellitus type 2 was determined by fasting plasma glucose tests and was analyzed in accordance with the American Diabetes Association diagnostic criteria (fasting blood glucose levels > 125 mg/dl (7 mmol/l) or use of special medication, indicating the presence of diabetes).

Sociodemographic and lifestyle variables

The age and sex of the participants were recorded. As regards smoking habits, current smokers were defined as those who smoked at least one cigarette per day or had stopped smoking for less than a year, while non-current smokers were defined as those who had stopped smoking for at least 1 year or reported never smokers.

Assessment of coffee consumption

All participants were asked about their usual frequency and type of coffee consumption (i.e. never, < 1 cup per week, 1–2 cups/day, 3–5 cups/day and > 5 cups/day) over the previous year. Brewed coffee is the richest in caffeine content (135 mg/8 oz (227 g) of coffee), while percolated-roasted ground coffee contains 74 mg of caffeine per 5 oz (142 g), and drip-roasted ground coffee 112 mg per 5 oz (142 g).21 Furthermore, Greek coffee contains 0.3–6.7 mg/100 ml cafestol and 0.1–7.1 mg/100 ml kahweol, in contrast with filtered coffee, which contains these diterpenes at 0–0.1 mg/100 ml.22 For the analysis, all types of coffee reported (instant, boiled coffee, ‘cappuccino’ or filtered) were adjusted for one cup of 150 ml coffee and a concentration of 28 mg of caffeine per 100 ml. One cup of coffee was equivalent to 450 ml of brewed coffee or 300 ml of instant coffee.23 According to the distribution of coffee consumption, we categorized usual coffee consumption as ‘low’ (< 200 ml/day), ‘moderate’ (200–450 ml/day), or ‘high’ (> 450 ml/day). As only 11% of the participants consumed less than one cup of coffee daily, this group was merged with the group who consumed less than 200 ml/day.

Evaluation of vascular function

Endothelial function was evaluated by estimating the FMD in the brachial artery, as previously described.24,25Endothelium-independent dilation (EID) was defined as the percentage change of vessel diameter from rest to the maximum diameter post-nitrate administration. Briefly, all subjects were instructed to refrain from smoking at least 6 hours before the examination time, and after 10 minutes’ rest the right brachial artery was scanned in longitudinal section 5 cm above the antecubital fossa using a Vivid e PRO ultrasound imager (General Electric, Milwaukee, WI, USA) equipped with a linear array (4–13 MHz) U/S transducer. A pneumatic cuff placed distal to the ultrasound probe was then inflated to supra-systolic pressure on the forearm for 5 minutes to induce reactive hyperemia. After the release of the ischemia cuff, the brachial artery diameter was measured every 15 seconds for 2 minutes, and FMD was defined as the percentage change of vessel diameter from rest (baseline brachial artery diameter) to the diameter 60 seconds after cuff release. After 10 minutes’ rest, a further arterial diameter measurement was made between 2 and 5 minutes after a single sublingual spray of glyceryl trinitrate (400 μg). EID was defined as the percentage change of vessel diameter from rest to the maximum diameter post nitrate administration.

Statistical analysis

All variables were tested for normal distribution using the P-P plots. The values of triglyceride levels were skewed; thus they were log-transformed to improve normality. Normally distributed variables were expressed as mean ± SD and not normally distributed variables were expressed as median with first and third quartile. Student’s t-test or analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to compare the mean values of normally distributed variables (i.e. age, BMI, FMD) between different categories of qualitative variables (i.e. coffee consumption). Post hoc analysis after Bonferroni correction was applied to test for pairwise differences between study subgroups. The chi-squared test was used to evaluate dependency between categorical variables (i.e. diabetes mellitus, smoking status and coffee consumption category). Multiple linear regression analysis was used to test for the association between FMD and coffee consumption categories, after adjustment for several covariates known to affect endothelial function. Statistical significance was indicated byp-values < 0.05. Plots of standardized residuals against predicted values were used to evaluate models’ assumption of homoscedacity, while the Durbin–Watson statistic was used to test for serial dependency. Collinearity between independent variables was tested using the VIF criterion. Cook’s distances were used to check for influential points in the regression analyses. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS software (version 18.0; SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA).
Power analysis with a type I error of 0.05 and a standardized difference of 0.30 in FMD between the three coffee consumption groups revealed that the number of enrolled individuals has a power of > 80% to reveal statistical significance differences.

Results

Basic characteristics of the participants
From the study participants, 80% were characterized as hypertensive, 23% suffer from diabetes mellitus, 73% had hypercholesterolemia, 17% were active smokers and 22% had a history of cardiovascular disease. Concerning coffee consumption, 89% consumed every day at least one cup of coffee while 87% consumed a boiled Greek type of coffee, 6% instant coffee or cappuccino, and 8% filter coffee. The basic characteristics of the participants according to coffee consumption are shown in Table 1. From the elderly participants included in the study, 40% had a ‘low’ daily coffee consumption, 48% a ‘moderate’ consumption and 13% consumed more than 450 ml of coffee daily. As shown in Table 1, there was no difference in the presence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia between the three groups of coffee consumption.

[This is only the first part of the article. Download the full article as a .pdf in the reference provided above.]

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 15.11.2012

Tsirigo-FM is available around the world

KYTHERA'S RADIO STATION

Listen to Tsirigo Radio.

It can play in the background while you work on your computer.

http://tunein.com/radio/Tsirigo-FM-1056-s107560/

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 02.11.2012

''its just another day in paradise ''

one of the loviest people on the island ... Forti Manea from agia pelagia out for a afternoon of spear fishing and having great luck catching these fish just out from diakofti .. great catch boys and ''kali orixi ''

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 15.10.2012

''DANCING IN THE STREETS''

the 24th september panayias dance at agia pelagia was a wonderful night super violinist nikos economidis made his violin hum as the large crowd danced the night away ... to his lovely misic

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Lafcadio Hearn Files on 10.10.2012

Watkinson Library acquires Hearn collection of books

The Watkinson Library is located at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America.

http://commons.trincoll.edu/watkinson/2012/04/05/just-acquired-lafcadio-hearn-iana/

On April 5th, 2012, the Watkinson Library acquired a group of books by and about Lafcadio Hearn, which will join an already impressive collection both in the Watkinson and the main library stacks.

Lafcadio Hearn was a mongrel child of the world,—a global villager,—a man unattached to country, kin, or creed. He was a sensitive underdog marginalized for his proclivities from beginning to end. Born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn on June 27, 1850, on the Ionian island of Leucadia just north of Ithaca (of Homeric fame), Lafcadio’s own odyssey would bring him to far shores and settings, both exotic and mundane.

In 2009 the Library of America published a selection of Hearn’s works, edited by Christopher Benfey, entitled Lafcadio Hearn: American Writings. In an interview Benfey stated, “I’m completely convinced that Hearn’s time has come. He famously wrote that he worshiped ‘the Odd, the Queer, the Strange, the Exotic, the Monstrous.’ Such pronouncements have made it easy to dismiss him as some oddball combination of Poe and Gauguin, living in an escapist world of dreams. But what Hearn was really interested in was the astonishing variety of human life.”

Hearn’s mother, Rosa Antonia Cassimati, was from Cerigo (known to the Greeks as Kythera); his father, Charles Bush Hearn, was an Irish surgeon and officer in the British Army. Their romance was not favored by either of their families. After Charles was re-assigned to the West Indies, he managed to send Rosa and young Patrick to Dublin, where his relations greeted these “gypsy” additions to their household with predictable warmth. An estranged aunt who doted on Patrick took them in, but after Charles finally returned to Ireland and established a little household in 1853 it became clear he had lost interest in Rosa. He took a new military assignment in the West Indies, and by the time he returned in 1856, Rosa had gone back to Greece and left five-year-old Patrick alone with his great-aunt. Charles Hearn annulled their marriage, and the Hearn family hid the boy from his mother when she returned to Ireland to see him.

At age nine or ten young Patrick discovered the library in his great-aunt’s house, and found several books of art containing images from Greek mythology. “How my heart leaped and fluttered on that happy day!” he would later write. “Breathless I gazed; and the longer that I gazed the more unspeakably lovely those faces and forms appeared. Figure after figure dazzled, astounded, bewitched me.” This fascination with the elder gods did not sit well with his aunt, a devout Catholic, who sent him to a boarding school—three quarters monastery and one quarter military academy—run by “a hateful venomous-hearted old maid.” Guy de Maupassant, who attended the school months after Lafcadio left, wrote “I can never think of the place even now without a shudder. It smelled of prayers the way a fish market smells of fish . . . We lived there in a narrow, contemplative, unnatural piety—and also in a truly meritorious state of filth . . . As for baths, they were as unknown as the name of Victor Hugo. Our masters apparently held them in the greatest contempt.”

When he was sixteen Hearn suffered an accident which blinded his left eye, and from then on he would instinctively cover it with his left hand in conversation, or look down or to the left when photographed. Financial troubles forced him to seek schooling in London while living with a dock worker and his wife (distant relatives)—and there he made his first forays into the underside of urban existence, fascinated and repelled by “the wolf’s side of life, the ravening side, the apish side; the ugly facets of the monkey puzzle.” Fed up with his dilatory and dreamy ways, his family gave him a one-way ticket to New York City and told him to make his way to Cincinnati, to another set of relatives who didn’t want the strange young man. Penniless and homeless, he wandered the streets of the river town until he found work doing odd jobs at one of the local newspapers. In October of 1872 he submitted a review of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, which became his first signed publication. Thus was born a literary journalist—an intelligent, provocative observer with a ripe facility for language and a penchant for exposing the horror and the humor of everyday urban life.

Christopher Benfey notes, “One of our best current travel writers, Pico Iyer, uses the phrase ‘global soul’ for people who have adapted themselves to our new world of mass migration and globalization. Hearn, it seems ot me, was an early version of a global soul. Born into the British Empire, he experienced firsthand the bitter divisions of the American Gilded Age, and lived to witness the rise of a new power in Asia: Imperial Japan.”

“Late in his life,” Benfy continues, “Hearn became the Brothers Grimm for Japan, assembling the bare bones of some Japanese ghost stories and transmuting them—with a whiff of Poe and Mérimée—into literary masterpieces.”

Photos > Island Social Life

submitted by Hellenic Museums & Galleries on 27.03.2012

Aphrodite and the Gods of Love. Boston, USA. Exhibition.

Other sculptures and paintings:

Head of Aphrodite (Bartlett Head), about 330-300 BC

Statuette of Aphrodite emerging from the sea,Greek or Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, Hellenistic or Imperial Period, first century BC or first century AD.

"Sleeping Hermaphrodite" Roman, Imperial Period, 1st century B.C. Marble

"Votive Relief with Aphrodite and devotees" Greek, Late Classical period, 4th century B.C.

The Judgment of Paris – Itallic, Etruscan, Hellenistic Period, late 3rd – 2nd century B.C.

The object of beauty

Love, desire and yearning sizzle through the hallways of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts this winter where the “Aphrodite and the Gods of Love” exhibition pays homage to the fiery and furious goddess of love.

The display of 170 Greek and Roman works of art, including thirteen significant loans—nine from Italian museums—will take visitors on a five-thousand-year trek from the deity’s birth from the foamy waters of Kythera.

Aphrodite and the Gods of Love

October 26, 2011-February 20

• Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
465 Huntington Avenue,
Boston, MA,

tel.: 617 267 9300

Saturday-Tuesday 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m.-9:45 p.m.;

admission $20 (adults), senior discount applies; free for MFA members and visitors under 18 years of age.

“Aphrodite and the Gods of Love” is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in association with the J. Paul Getty Museum. When the exhibit closes at the MFA on February 20, it will make its way to the Getty Villa in Malibu, California where it will be in view from March 28 to July 9. After that it will go to be displayed in New Mexico at the San Antonio Museum of Art from September 15, 2012 to February 17, 2013 and then at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK from March 10 to May 26, 2013.