Lefkada of Literature and Arts holds an enormous amount of books and materials that are about its history and culture. These works are the product of Lefkadian intellectuals. It has many and rich in context libraries and hosts the collections of Aristotelis Haramoglis and Nikos Svoronos, their life’s works.
The Historical Archives are also very important, with archival collections that cover a large spectrum of the social and administrative history of the island from the age of the Venice rule and on.
There are also smaller libraries in the island like the ones in Spartohori, Karya, Nikiana, Tsoukalades and other villages that are run by the local cultural clubs and prove that the people of Lefkada treasure books.
Public Library of Lefkada
It was founded in 1953 after the initiative of Panos Rontogiannis, Bishop Dorotheos, former Mayor Dimitris Giannoulatos, Takis Mamaloukas and others, who gathered old books, relics, holly pictures and sacred vessels from private collections, ruined temples and churches of the island. This material formed the core of the creation of the Public Library.
The Library is housed in the old neoclassic mansion of the Zoulinos family (the family lived there from 1888 to 1906) a historical listed building constructed in the end of the 19th century on Rontogianni Street, at the Old Town Centre. The building had been previously used by the National Bank and now it is a property of the Greek State.
The library is housed on the ground floor, it hosts more than 60000 publications and it is continuously being enriched. It also holds a collection of engravings from the 17th century made by the Italian geographer Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718). A part of its material is digitally accessible to the public while it participates in many programs and activities that aim to the preservation and the promotion of history and culture, by means of a modern library.
The collection of post-Byzantine icons and relics from churches and monasteries of the island is housed on the first floor.
The Library organises educational programs, workshops, literature contests and many events (music nights, exhibitions, book presentations etc) inside its building as well as at its outer premises, on the green clad garden by the Square of Marka. It is also very active in publishing interesting books about the island of Lefkada.
The Library consists of borrowing and research sections, a children’s section, a reading hall, a public information centre and a section for Persons with Disabilities.
Recently, a club called “Friends of the Public Library” was initiated.
Address: 11, Rontogianni str.
Operating Hours: Tuesday 11.00-19.00, Wednesday to Friday 08.30-14.30, Saturday 08.30-13.30.
Information: tel +302645022502, fax +302645021047.
Haramogleios Special Lefkadian Library
It is the only library with Lefkada as its single theme, which was honoured by the Academy of Athens in 1987 and held a position in the Guinness Book of Records in 1994 for being the largest of its kind.
It has a collection of about 40000 works of 810 Lefkadian authors and more material that covers 60 subjects about Lefkada. The collection consists of books, texts, newspapers, articles, engravings, posters, pamphlets, maps, prints, photographs and other informative materials about the island of Lefkada. The oldest ones date back to 1420. The library is constantly being enriched and is now an important documentation centre for all kinds of research for the island.
It was the life’s work of Aristotelis Haramoglis (1919-2003) who, from 1973 until his death in 2003, collected all kinds of material in print that related to Lefkada and its people, whatever had been written by Lefkadians but also every publication that had some reference to Lefkada or its people, with the purpose of preventing any element of the intellectual creation of the island from being lost. He donated his collection to the Cultural Centre in 1984. In 1993 it was moved to a building at the Square of Marka, at the Old Town Centre, where it is still located.
When ten years passed from the death of Aristotelis Haramoglis, the founder of Haramogleios Special Library, the internet site MY LEFKADA, in collaboration with the Haramogleios Library, honoured his memory by creating a video clip dedicated to “the intellectual ark of the Lefkadian people”, as the late author Gerasimos Grigoris used to say.
It is open for the public on weekdays from 09.00 to 13.00 and from 17.00 to 19.00.
For more information: tel +302645021465.
Library of Nikos Svoronos
Nikos Svoronos (1911-1989) was a great Lefkadian teacher of history with a work that is internationally renowned.
His collection was donated by his heirs to the Municipality of Lefkada and housed at the building of the Haramogleios Special Lefkadian Library, at the square of Marka, in the Old Town Centre.
It consists of thousands of books, documents, press cuttings, rare pamphlets and newspapers from the WWII and the resistance against the dictatorship of 1967-1974 as well as unpublished doctoral theses.
The material is classified in the following categories: foreign periodicals, Greek periodicals, bibliographies, dictionaries, yearbooks, statistics, conference proceedings, books and papers of Nikos Svoronos, art books, source texts, unpublished doctoral theses, books about the Greek Civil War and the Resistance, rare pamphlets and printed material of the Greek Civil War, historical books in Greek, books written in the main European languages, books written in Slavic and Rumanian languages, books and periodicals about Turkology, Law and History of Institutions, books that were of particular interest for Nikos Svoronos, books with remarkable dedications.
Information: tel +302645021465
Historical Archives of Lefkada
The Records’ Office of Lefkada was founded by the Venetians simultaneously and in parallel with the other public services because they had a well organised administration that kept its records in order. This principle was also consistently followed by the next administrations of the island until 1864 (when the Seven Islands were united with Greece) and sporadically after 1864.
The material that was collected in the Office covered the time period from 1716 (Venetian Rule) until 1864 and maybe a little later too. But the main bulk of the material begins in 1716, because in July 1715 the Venetians abandoned Lefkada under the pressure of the Turks and blew up the battlements and some other parts of the castle of Santa Maura, where the Records had been housed. Therefore, a large part of the material was incinerated.
The Records’ Office of Lefkada was renamed into “Historical Archive of Lefkada” and later on, in 1991, into “Archives of the Prefecture of Lefkada”.
The Archives serve a range of purposes, such as the organisation, management, preservation etc of archival material, the creation of archival awareness on behalf of the services and institutions that produce archival material, but also the awareness of society in general, the realisation of educational programs for schools, the organisation of exhibitions, etc.
The material of the Archives of the Prefecture of Lefkada covers the following time periods and subjects:
Venetian Rule (1684 – 1797)
Republican French (1797-1798)
Russians and Turkish protection (1798-1800)
Septinsular Republic (1800-1807)
Imperial French (1807-1810)
Transitional Period of the English protection (1810-1817, 1791-1817 administrative and judicial documents)
State of the United Ionian Islands (English Protectorate 1817-1864 administrative and judicial documents)
Archive of the period of the Greek State (1864-1930). From 1864 and on there was no systematic record keeping. There are administrative and judicial documents from this period.
Notarial Archives (1692-1919)
Newspaper collections from 1867 to present
Handmade maps of various regions of the island, from the Venetian Rule and the English Rule and about 1000 building plans.
More recent and modern archives (administrative, educational, judicial, municipal etc)