Individual thematic collections
In Greece, National Libraries, and not only, have since long ago chosen the rules with which they sort, categorize and organize their books and the methods for searching for specific information. Even though this classification is thematic in character, it still doesn’t fully cover all topics from the point of view of specific personalities that have left their imprint in various knowledge areas.
It isn’t only the number of titles that that make up a scientist’s library. It is also formed by the owner’s own publication activity, like letters, reprints, reviews in books or in magazines, reports, personal letters with comments and judgments about projects, and other similar multilingual material, thus turning each volume in a small self-contained library and a tool for knowledge on a very specific topic.
The ”Historical Library” of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation is filling exactly this gap: It follows in chronological order and in each field of science and knowledge, the achievements of Greek civilization, letters, science and the arts, from prehistory, classical and Hellenistic period, the years of Byzantine culture and of Ottoman Domination, the Greek Revolution coming to today. It’s organization, however, is not just thematic or alphabetical, but concentrates and displays the status of each module, as formed bibliographically, by renowned personalities in the world of civilization.
The “Historical Library” aims to highlight exactly this point of view, embracing diverse areas of intellectual expression: Archaeology, Architecture, Philosophy, Poetry, Literature, History, Theatre, Theology, Law, Arts, Literature, etc. The sections that have been selected, subject to the limitation of space, number around fifty. These personal historical collections are hosted in a total surface area of about 450 m2, in the halls of a monumental neoclassical building of the early 20th century, which act as communicating vessels, in terms of coherence and visitation. The bookcases have been designed so that they form a continuous structure, which while maintaining the desired autonomy of each owner, still maintain an overall integrity of the historical library. The bookcases’ total length is more than seventy meters and their height varies from four to more than five meters high.There is provision for the existence of showcases, thus permitting permanent exhibition of precious possessions from each collection, while at the same time enabling periodic such exhibitions, of thematic or anniversary character.
From the librarian’s point of view, organization of the “Historical Library” aims in the display and promotion of the main body of each named collection, while all other relevant material of each collection is accessible in another specially designed seven storey library building, at walking distance, preserving the autonomy of each library. At the same time, these books can be visited in situ and via Internet.
The Historic Libraries, now permanently housed in the Library of Aikaterini Laskaridis are listed independently and made available also through the Internet, so not only do they keep their identity, but also at the educational level, they are also able to provide a picture of the course of Greek culture through the ages. The Foundation’s rich educational programs, in conjunction with other events and lectures relative to the Greek civilization, thus turn the “Historical Library” in an ideally integrated mixing pot for learning. Irrefutable evidence of all this knowledge, for the lover of learning, is the book itself.
Panos Laskaridis, President of the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation”
Konstantinos Staikos, Library Historian, Architect