At a time when some foreign institutes in Athens have scaled down or even closed their libraries, it’s heartening to see the French Institute (IFA) expanding theirs. On Monday, French Ambassador Christophe Farnaud officially opened the revamped Mediatheque Octave Merlier, now all on a single floor with panoramic views of Athens. Light, bright and user-friendly, the library offers new media – DVDs, CDs, computer access and a wide range of popular periodicals – in addition to the traditional fare of books, journals and the daily French press. Most of the books are in French, but in recent years the library has steadily built up a collection of Greek translations from the French as well as a wide range of French films either dubbed into Greek or with Greek subtitles that have proved popular. The library is open to all and its use on site is free of charge. Loans are free to students enrolled at the French Institute and children up to the age of 14, while others may borrow books for a small annual fee.