Relocating literary history

The National Library of Greece is moving its entire collection from its home of 100 years to a new cultural center on the Athens seafront Workers move boxes with books to trucks at the old historic National Library of Greece in Athens earlier this month. Wearing masks and gloves, specialized staff gingerly place their treasured cargo inside wheeled, shock-absorbing boxes for a historic trip to the other end of Athens in the biggest book move in Greek history. From January until April, the National Library of Greece is moving root and branch, out of its 100-year-old home in central Athens and literally into the 21st-century. “This is no simple move. It’s a journey into a new era,” says library general director Filippos Tsimpoglou. More than 550 staff worked on the two-year operation to clean, digitize, tag and relocate over 700,000 manuscripts and books, made possible by a massive donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), one of the country’s leading philanthropic organizations. The foundation in 2016 unveiled the library’s new home — a 20-hectare cultural center designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano on the Athens seafront that also hosts the national opera. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, […]

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