Thanks to its rich historical past and its intellectual tradition, Greece hosts many excellent libraries where you can spend hours browsing through the shelves. Some of them date from the time of the independence movements of the 18th and 19th century. Libraries in Greece can be divided into a number of categories, according to their legal status, their administrative responsibility and their target group. Here, we are highlighting the most famous among them.
1. National Library of Greece: Founded in 1832, the National Library of Greece hosts a large collection of records, historical documents and manuscripts dating from the 9th to the 19th centuries, bridging the past, the present and the future of Greece’s printed heritage. Relocated, in 2018, from the historical neoclassical building in downtown Athens to Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the institution regroups its forces and enters the digital age, and becomes the ideal space for study, research, and education, a source of ideas and an open place of learning, promoting a wide range of educational and interactive programs.
2. Central Library of the Municipality of Athens: Containing more than 55,000 books as well as rare material, old newspapers, magazines and archives dating back to 1860, the Central Library of the Municipality of Athens is one of the oldest and most important libraries of the capital of Greece. The library also includes a music library and a children’s section.
3. Gennadius Library: Established in 1926 from the Greek diplomat and benefactor Joannes Gennadius, the Gennadius Library counts more than 120,000 books, archives and works of art on Hellenic culture. Part of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the library often hosts events and art exhibitions open to the public.
4. Central Library of Thessaloniki (Municipal Library): Housed in a modern structure that can’t be missed, the Municipal Central Library is a favorite destination for every book lover. Both printed and digital archives and rare material, books that range from Literature and Arts, to History and Science, along with a children’s library, the institution constitutes one of the city’s must visit.
5. Lilian Voudouri Music Library at the Athens Concert Hall: Created by the Friends of Music, the Lilian Voudouri Music Library, housed in the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Mousikis), has an impressive collection of books and records of Western music, as well as ancient Greek, Byzantine, folk, and popular music, and The library also contains archives from composers and examples of traditional music from around the world. On top of this, the library has more than 60,000 books and musical scores, 10,000 audio recordings, and many other audiovisual materials, making it a real treasure for anyone interested in music.
6. Greek Parliament’s Library: Aiming mainly to support the parliamentary work, Greek Parliament’s Library is the ideal place for those who are interested in gathering political, legal, constitutional information. The Library is open to the public, which can get information on the parliamentary activities and the legislative procedure, on current legislation and records of parliamentary debates and also consult the Library’s collections at its reading rooms.
7. Eugenides Foundation Library: Operating since 1966, the Eugenides Foundation Library is specialized in the fields of science and technology, and includes a children’s section, which organizes events and has its own children’s reading club. The library is open to the public and visitors can borrow books, as well as make use of their computer room.
8. Piraeus Municipal Library: Rich in literary material and treasure trove of encyclopedias, containing rare archives and old documents related to the city of Piraeus, the Municipal Library invites you to discover the history of this historical port of the Mediterranean.
ASFA Library (Athens School of Fine Arts)
Greek Literary and Historical Archive of MIET (Educational Foundation of the National Bank)
Library of the Technical Chamber of Greece
Library of the Hellenic American Union
French Institute’s Library
Library of Cervantes Institute
Goethe Institute Library
Italian Cultural Center Library
University libraries are at the heart of the intellectual life of Greece, and inspire inquiry, advance knowledge, catalyze discovery, and shape a common academic ontology shared between Greek and foreign scholars.
Every Greek university has its own library. If you are interested in studying in Greece, please visit each university’s website in order to find out more about its library’s infrastructure and contents.