Parliamentary Library

The Public Tobacco Factory on Lenorman Street has a new look. The facade’s terracotta and warm mustard paint highlight this exceptional but little-known example of early industrial architecture in Athens. The restoration of the exterior is just one step in the major project of transferring most of the Parliamentary Library there. Only some 50,000 volumes, strictly related to Parliament, will remain in their original location. The bulk of the vast collection of Greek newspapers and magazines has been shifted to the new site, along with the publication, microfiche and electronic cataloging, as well as the art and publication conservation departments. The main axis of the new complex will be the closed-access City Library, which will house some 55,000 of the library’s 800,000 volumes. Construction is complete and the reading room of the new library, with open access to around 20,000 titles, is due to open to the public by the end of this year, Parliamentary Library Director Evrydiki Abatzi told Kathimerini. Visitors now have access to three reading rooms at the Tobacco Factory, including the Benaki Library’s reading room, which is temporarily operating at the new site since the Old Parliament building is due for restoration. The number of visitors has fallen slightly, a Benaki employee explained, probably because the new location is not in the city center: «Many people don’t know that we are just 10 minutes from the Sepolia metro station.» Restoration work is proceeding in stages. A study is under way for the uses of the entire 18,500-square-meter complex, which includes an impressive multipurpose atrium.