Kythera Municipal Library Opens

We are extremely happy to report that the Municipal Library in Kythera has opened! The library is located in a former elementary school in Kontolianika, just north of LIvadi. Photos below are courtesy of John Stathatos who has been keeping us updated of the progress. Many thanks to Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis who worked so diligently in orchestrating the "Kythera Bookshelves Project". As you can see from the photos below, the bookshelves have been put to good use. 

What follows is a liberal translation of the Press Release, in Greek. The entire article can be read on

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

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