Cyprus Mail

Free-swap library for Phaneromeni Square

By Annette Chrysostomou

The first free-swapping library in Nicosia will open this Friday at Phaeromeni, the Nicosia municipality said on Wednesday.

From Friday, September 18, citizens of Nicosia can access the library which will be placed in Phaneromeni Square in front of the church entrance.

The swapping bookshelf suggests an alternative approach to the traditional concept of public libraries. Anybody interested can borrow the books, read them and return them.

When somebody takes a book from its collection, the theory is that they could bring one along to replace it.

This way, the collection is enriched and the next borrower benefits.  The swapping manual is easy: there is no fee, no thematic direction and no management, and the library is open 24/7.

“ The company Public has donated around 350 books”, Roulla Georgopoulou, head of the Nicosia municipal multifunctional foundation, explained to the Cyprus Mail, adding that this meant the mobile structure housing the books was already full for the time being. In addition, she said that teachers had been invited to bring pupils to the inauguration.

The municipality has further plans for the library. According to Georgopoulou, they will use the space for other activities in collaboration with NGOs and schools, such as organising book collections and sales. Already, she said, schools have it in their diaries, as there is a week of reading for primary schools.

The idea is new for Cyprus, but has been a great success in Greece. It was originally created by two Greek architects, Eleftherios Ambatzis and Irini-Emilia Ioannidou who live and practice architecture in the area of Kifissia, where they designed and opened the first swapping library in 2012.

These two architects have also designed and painted the mobile construction which is home to the new Phaneromeni library.

The municipality invites all residents and guests of Nicosia to attend the opening ceremony and exchange their first books while enjoying a coffee at the ‘Café 78-80 Phaneromeni’. The opening will take place at 11am at Phaneromeni square with an inauguration by the mayor of Nicosia, Constantinos Yiorkadjis.


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