Veria Central Public Library A small library… with a far-reaching influence

This August marked the third anniversary of when the former director of the Central Public Library of Veria, Mr. Ioannis Trohopoulos received, in Gothenburg, Sweden, the “Access to Knowledge” award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

            That year, the Gates Foundation chose our library from among 250 candidates worldwide and gave us the material and moral impetus to continue on our way to the top. The award was accompanied by the monetary sum of $1,000,000.

            Today the library continues to be the focal point of the city of Veria. People of every age visit it to borrow books, magazines, braille books, dvds, cd-roms, kindles etc., to look for information from databases and other sources, to attend to workshops, lectures or lessons in new technology, or browse electronically one of the 2,200 newspapers on the biggest news-stand in the world at, to sew, to embroider, to draft their CVs, to experiment, to get to know the  world and so much more.

            The library personnel, always striving to make things easier for others, experiment and try to improve their services. Last winter, additional services were added, i.e. assistance in filling in applications for the heating allowance, the printing out of the road tax form and help with the electronic insurance service for those who do not have access to the Internet.

            For many years, the library in Veria has believed in the power of technology and dared to proceed with a series of innovations: it created an automated electronic catalogue in 1992, its own website in 1997 and free internet access for its public in 1999.

            Today, its website forms a junction which continually acquaints the reader of new services, its ideas, its digital stories, podcasts, vidcasts, as well as the digital depository “Medussa”. In “Medussa” about 700,000 pages of books, newspapers, magazines, maps, documents and manuscripts have been digitalised, and the number increases daily. Information for the webpages of facebook, twitter and flickr are also updated daily.

            The Magic Boxes, the renovated children’s section of the library (the renovation was done in 2009, with funds provided by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation) continue to attract younger and older people and make their mark dynamics of a space that relies on promoting  creative expression and experimentation.

            A place where the explosion of enthusiasm, curiosity, initiative and joy is diffused everywhere, generated by young and old as they take part in the various programmes and activities. In 2012, 330 educational activities were organised, in which 8,000 children took part.

            The successful model of the Magic Boxes formed a guide for the Future Library (, the non-profit corporation which is financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation ( which has restored 8 more children’s libraries in Northern Greece after the original of Veria’s. The Future Library aims to transform the Greek Public and Municipal Libraries into centres of creativity, innovation and learning. The aim of the sponsoring of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is to expand a network of Public and Municipal Libraries all over the country, which will be linked to the National Library of Greece at its new facilities, at the Cultural Centre of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, strengthening the public conscience regarding the importance of the libraries as centres of learning, creativity and interaction.

            In December 2012, an award for the work of the library in Veria came from the Athens Academy, our country’s most important intellectual foundation. The citation that was read at the awards ceremony was as follows:

“This Academy Award is conferred on the Central Public Library of Veria which, inaugurated half a century ago, has done a great cultural and educational work. Using all the modern technological means and the 27 years of experience of its director Ioannis Trohopoulos, it was a model of organisation and completeness for the counties of Imathia, Pella and Pieria, and offered the gift of learning first of all to the students introducing them to books and then to those people who during their youth did not have the blessings offered by knowledge, which frees from fear and superstition.”

One visit to Veria is enough to get to know first-hand the little miracle of the city, its library, and to ascertain that in Veria people read a lot!

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γράφτηκε στις 29 Οκτωβρίου 2013
in News (EN)
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