An information treasure trove opens its doors to the public

The owner of a private book collection has made it available for public reference at the Evonymos Ecology Library established in 1994 in a neoclassical building in Thiseion. The library now contains about 10,000 titles and has its own website, which can be found at A non-profit body, the library’s purpose is to enrich the original collection, now almost doubled, from antique stores and auctions, purchases and donations, which have been extremely generous. There are sections on nature, ethnology, travel literature, town planning and zoning, the work environment, consumer protection, quality of life, ecology, political ecology, the relationship between man and nature, transport, environmental technology, environmental law and culture, among several other subjects. It comprises around 10,000 titles, most of them classified, 10,000 magazines, encyclopedias, dictionaries, numerous brochures, studies, minutes of conferences, travel guides and calendars, and illustrations including photographs, postcards, engravings, posters and 1,000 maps. All are Greek-language editions apart from a small number of foreign publications and a large number of foreign magazines on the environment (1,500 issues of 200 different titles from 50 countries). The material covers the past two centuries, the oldest in Greek dating from 1815 and the oldest foreign publication from 1787. The earliest magazine dates from 1840. Many are rare editions. «We want the material, which we consider to be a treasure trove, to become more widely known,» said its director, Sakis Kourouzidis. «Not out of a sterile love of the past, but because we believe that interpreting and understanding the present often begins with an understanding of the past. We look at the past not for its own sake, but to enrich the present with authentic material, often experientially acquired.» The Evonymos also has a traditional bookbinding workshop where old books are given new covers and magazines are bound. The bibliographic database is the product of many years of work using software from the National Documentation Center, which also hosts the library’s website. The database contains 13,000 book titles and articles from newspapers and magazines. There is also a host of magazines with 10,000 issues from 13,000 different titles, a list of which are available. Specialized databases include one on newspaper clippings from recent years created by Panteion University, selected websites on the environment, classified into categories and sub-categories, images and about 500 decorative motifs from old books. Another data bank is part of an inter-state program of cooperation between environmental organizations, of which Evonymos is a member. Evonymos’s website contains pages on environmental education, book reviews, a press digest on environmental issues, web links to 30 libraries in Greece and abroad, mountaineering associations, Greek environmental organizations (registered by the national Center for Social Research), news from Europe, and classified advertisements. Another page is devoted to questions from readers, answered by associates of Evonymos. The library also has material for the visually impaired and a Braille printer.