Hatzopouleios Municipal Library

A gate to knowledge

Growing up in our area, a primary school child in the ‘80s, summer was full of temptations: swimming, walks, holidays and play all day. Winter, on the other hand, was different. Friends were leaving and obligations were starting. But there was one thing that helped me continue traveling and wandering: it was what we now call Hatzopouleios Municipal Library and the books it hosted. To this day, I still keep the memory of the picture I had in my mind at that time. The memory of a warm, hospitable and mysterious place.

Hatzopouleios Municipal Library, like all municipal libraries, is a space with free access. A space where the expression of humans’ creative imagination and thought is kept. Its role and contribution to culture, education and information is the reason why Katheti chose to feature it.

45 years of offering and activities

It was founded in 1976 and was originally housed in the Town Hall.

Since 1994, it is housed in the neoclassical building that was erected with a donation by Alexandros and Katina Hatzopoulou, at the ruins of the old Poros school.

Due to lack of employees, Hatzopouleios Municipal Library and the Shell’s Museum it hosts open only upon appointment, which you can book by calling Mr Maniatis at 6937872181.

It hosts over 9,500 book titles on every subject, and for every age and interest, as well as DVDs with documentaries and educational subjects. The library’s collection includes books, historical documents, newspapers and magazines related to the area. Furtherore, it contains wings with English, French and German books and it provides online services to citizens, with free access Most of the books come from donations and the collection is constantly enriched.

The operation of the library is multidimensional, because, in addition to books, it often hosts cultural events, scientific conferences and educational seminars, which are organized on the island. With the cooperation of the Municipality and various local organizations, it participates in the organization of cultural events or other social activities and it is actively involved in the publishing activities of the Municipality, with historical and literary books.

And something unique, the shells of our seabed

The museum shell exhibition entitled “Shells and the Sea” is also remarkable. It is housed on the ground floor of the building. Most of the collection is donated by the couple George and Helga Kanellakis

The shells come from the seabed of the surrounding area. The exhibition is also enriched with some geological, volcanic and archaeological data, mainly from the wider area of the South Aegean. The data was provided by the University of Athens.

It also includes a series of scientific photographic depictions of the surrounding seabed, by the doctor and scuba diver-photographer K. Vratic.

The visitors’ tour is completed with informative documentaries on the hydrobiological marine wealth.

The soul of the library

Yannis Maniatis, responsible for the operation of the library and the shell exhibition, has been offering his services voluntarily for about 20 years. He had a career in the navy, but he states: “My passion has always been books, intellect and culture.”

Talking to us about the library, he states that its most important need is hiring permanent staff. Since 2010, with the change of the institutional framework for municipal libraries, the subsidies have stopped, making it difficult to buy books and be able to have permanent staff.

Continuing, he points out that the issue of staff could be dealt with through voluntary work. This would improve the operation of the library and would ensure the accomplishment of objectives such as registering its material to an online librarian program and linking it to other libraries. Read more about Yannis Maniatis in the interview he gave to Katheti.

Hatzopouleios Municipal Library has offered important work to our area during its years of operation. It makes it easier for people who love books to get in touch with a large and varied collection. It has also supported Katheti, by donating books so as to enrich its own lending library. Katheti, as an educational and cultural center, recognizes the role of books in our lives and features topics such as books with a local flavor and the organizations that promote culture and knowledge.

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Yannis Maniatis talks to us
31 July 2021
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