New library set to open on Naxos

Greece’s first Library of University Books is set to open on the island of Naxos, heralding the beginning of an ambitious program that aims not just at establishing the library, but also at becoming connected online throughout Greece and Europe. Naxos was chosen as the starting point of the project for good reason. First and foremost because it was the home of a leading Greek academic, Stylianos Korres, who, following postgraduate studies in Berlin, was made an honorary lecturer by the Philosophy School of the University of Athens. Korres was also the founder and chairman of the Cycladic Studies Society and is an active purveyor of Cycladic culture, with scholarly articles on the subject published in Greek and foreign periodicals. He studied Greek lyric poetry, published Theognis’ eulogies in 1949 and served as chairman of the board of the Friends of the People Society and the Philekpaideftiki Etairia. The University of Athens, the Philekpaideftiki Etairia and Naxos Municipality worked closely to establish the library that will bear Stylianos Korres’s name. The library will initially be housed in Naxos Town Hall before moving to the Naxos Cultural Center in the citadel. To supplement the library’s collection, the sons of Korres – Dimitris Korres, a professor of medicine, and Giorgos Korres, professor of prehistoric archaeology – have donated their father’s books. The collection will also be enriched by other donations, such as that of Georgios Mangakis and others who have offered their support to this project, which began as part of an Athens University initiative to enrich the provinces with scholarly publications. The project appears to have attracted a fair number of supporters since the collection has grown from 800 tomes last year to 1,400 this year, currently being stored at the Town Hall until construction work on the impressive building that used to house the French School is complete. What would be interesting to see is this first initiative growing in size and spreading its wings. The library could form a core around which international symposia and conferences were held, transforming Naxos into a center for the exchange of ideas.