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2010 Annual






Veria central public library provides services of education, information and entertainment which contribute to the improvement of quality of life. It develops a network of traditional and web services, which help the citizen to participate more effectively in the knowledge society.

The vision for 2010 A library which develops synergies, networks and encourages citizens for a greater participation in the social development.


The Library in few words • 2 Libraries • 2 mobiles • 20 personel • 159.329 loans • 349 creativity programs, seminars and events • 74.500 Euro operational budget Library Council – Regular Members Kostas Theoharopoulos, High School Director ------ President Fotis Koutsoupias, School Councilor ----- Vice-Persident Priest Porfyrios Batsaras ------ Member Athanasios Kopatsiaris , Doctor ------ Member Pavlos Savvidis, Educational Instructor ------ Member

The power of ingenuity


n 12 August 2010 in Gotenborg, Sweden, the Veria Central Public Library received the “Access to Learning Award” from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A small library in a small city of a small country received a worldwide award proving the power of ingenuity and innovation in our days. Let us declare 2010 as the year for all Greek libraries because such an achievement gives hope to all kinds of cultural institutions. This year’s report differs from the ones of the previous years as it tries to summarize the Library’s accomplishments throughout its history. The 2010 award remains a landmark for its progress and a serious trust for the future. The story of the Veria Central Public Library is a tale of a mission and realistic goals, constant experimentation, collaboration with other libraries and experts, and of a relentless investment in digital innovation and technologies. Our inspired staff and the motivation of our community leaders allowed the library to succeed locally and also to influence other libraries in Greece and elsewhere.

Our motto “a smart library, an open approach” is changing the perception that most Greek people have about a modern public library. A few years ago the Veria Library took a strategic decision to implement more services for young children and parents focusing on imparting creativity via innovation. In 2010, two new municipal libraries were added to our network of services. Those libraries operate in the villages of Makroxori and Saint George, now being part of the greater local authority of the City of Veria. The idea of “Magic Boxes” funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, a space for children to experiment and develop life-long skills and digital competencies, had capable successors in those two libraries. The mission and vision of the Veria Central Public Library are: Serve the un-served, Build partnerships, Create experiences and expectations. In order to accomplish them, we must remain relevant to the community, care about what people think about our services and respond positively to their demands. The impact of the award surpassed the borders of


the Library and the region. Over 200 articles were published in domestic printed and electronic media. In November 2010 a movie about the Library was created and is due to be launched next year on ERT1, the National Greek TV Station. The year 2010 was one of great success and dignity for all people who worked and served in various positions in the Library since its establishment in early 1950s. I feel obliged to name the two founders of the Library, Anastassios Karatzoglou, the Major by that time and Dimitrios Papadopoulos, the first Library Director. Obviously the current Library Committee had the luck and capability to relate its function

with such a global acknowledgment. Thus, it deserves special compliments, Our members should expect more actions and services from the Veria Central Public library in the coming year. The endless spirit, persistence and enthusiasm of the Library staff ensures that in the next ten years the Library will be as creative as ever for the benefit of all citizens.

Ioannis Trohopoulos Director


Minister of Education Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou in the Library, talking with members of the Library Council.



The people we serve We are a public institution of Northern Greece, serving the city of Veria, the county of Imathia and two neighboring counties. We cover a total population of 180,000 inhabitants. We operate a central library, two mobile libraries and a network of branches.

Based on our vision, our on-site and online services and our strong focus on children we have managed to transform our library into a unique center for creativity, innovation and edutainment. Our impact has been recognized both locally and nationally. We serve all parts of our community and we devote our time to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the people. In particular the audience of our organization consists of:


• Children: We put emphasis in promoting reading, creativity and digital literacy to children. To this end, we have developed the “Magic Boxes” area especially developed for children, who may attend creative workshops such as robotics, 3D gaming, storytelling, painting, sculpting, theatre and music. • Adults: We support adults’ educational needs with our lifelong learning activities. We help students, professionals, unemployed and pensioners to become familiar with IT, to understand the online marketplace and to exploit their digital competencies. • Disadvantaged: We appeal to socially excluded groups of people such as immigrants and people with mental and physical disabilities, by tailoring our training workshops to match their needs. Fur-

thermore, they may participate in voluntary work, socialise with other people and make use of our IT facilities. • Volunteers: We very often invite teachers, artists and other professionals to make use of our infrastructure, thus enabling them to unfold their talents and innovate, experiment, teach, create and collaborate with our audience and our staff. • Mobile libraries users: Aiming at integrating remote villages and small towns to our community, we visit 42 destinations in the countryside with our mobile libraries. • Citizens in rural districts: We offer our services to people living in municipalities and villages neighboring to the city of Veria, by integrating libraries into our network of branches and by offering upgraded library services. We manage to attract and successfully serve all parts of our community equally well, without discrimination. Internet services We strive to sustain a user-centric library environment offering upto-date and innovative IT services. We succeed in providing these services free of charge by: 1. raising supporting funds from national and international projects and sponsors 2. establishing strategic partnerships with the local authorities. In particular: - We have developed the first mobile library of Greece, offering access to electronic material to people living in remote and disconnected areas. Today, with funding from the Prefecture of Imathia, we organize campaigns and road shows; we visit the countryside offering free Internet access and IT training to people living in remote villages and small towns. - The European funded project “Light” was our first initiative to offer free IT tools to children and teachers for user generated content using mobile phones, low-cost photo cameras and open source software. Today, with the support of the Regional Educational Directorate, we focus our dissemination efforts in the promotion of web2.0 technologies; in the context of our outreach activities program (Technology Month, the Summer Reading Program and the Mobiles) we visit all classrooms in primary and secondary schools in the region.

Reading tales., January 17, 2010.

- We launched the “Information Society Training and Awareness Raising” centers with the support of the European funded project ISTAR. Today, we sustain those centers with the support of the local municipalities and we continuously improve our services offering free access to: PCs, adsl, wifi, IT support, IT training courses, web design services (for the local cultural institutions). These centers are further empowered with the support of the European projects UNTOLD,

Group meeting within ACCESS IT program framework, 18 February 2010.

Writer Aris Dimokidis in the Library, 15 March 2010


High-school children sitting in the Library’s Magic Boxes area, 18 April 2010.

Writer Christos Bouliotis in the Library, 26 April 2010.

Visiting Poland within the ACCESS IT program framework, 10 May 2010.

Art workshop with artists coming from North Greece (Union of Visual Artists from the North of Greece,, 15 May 2010.


12 August 2010, Gottenborg, Sweden. The Library’s Director Ioannis Trohopoulos receiving the “Access to Learning” Award from Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Global Libraries initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The wealth of every country, every region, every city is its people. The ideas, the passion, the offers, the diligence, the novelty, the venture, all these elements led to the transformation of the Library of Veria into a hub of creativity and knowledge. These are the elements that make us optimistic about the existing and great forces of the Nation and the country.” Anna Diamandopoulou Minister of Education, Life Long Learning and Religious Affairs

The Veria Library has brought positive change to the lives of the many people it serves,” said Deborah Jacobs, director of the Global Libraries initiative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at an award ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden. “It’s a testament to Veria’s ingenuity that such a small library in the mountainous region of Northern Greece is paving the way for its users and for others who can and have learned from its innovative use of technology and exciting programs”.

Deborah Jacobs, director of the Global Libraries initiative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at an award ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden

The Central Public Library of Veria will use the amount of $1,000,000, received with the Global Libraries “Access to Learning” Award, to promote its network of libraries, to upgrade its technological infrastructure, to reproduce the idea of “Magic Boxes” in all the levels of its services and to extend its influence beyond its region through internet presence and social networks.


focusing on immigrants, and ENTITLE, focusing on life-long learning.

enhance the social life of librarians while helping them maintain their existing professional and social relationships and establish new ones by reaching out other colleagues.

- We have started the implementation of a large scale digitization project; our members get free access to over 700,000 pages of digitized maMeeting of Library Directors from all over Europe, terial. Our digital 18 May 2010. repository is extended with the support of three European projects (Europeana, EDLocal and Access IT).

Our Information Technology and Training Center helps adults (i.e. students, professionals, unemployed and pensioners) by offering free IT training courses and courses related to new technologies.

A best example for all Greek Public Libraries


From 1994 the Library participates in programs funded by EU. The continuous experimentation and inovative services helped us to develop a mondern Library structure. We have created a website to stimulate and promote to public libraries and cultural organizations the sharing of policies and practices for the digital era. 37 organizations from different EU countries joined the PULMAN and PULMAN-XT project and gained from the benefits of the site. - We have created a website to share best practices with policy makers, practitioners and suppliers. 42 organizations from different countries, including all EU Member States, brought together local professionals, policy makers and suppliers at all levels.

A learning space for digital skills

Other initiatives such as i) the Cookbook-guide for digital story telling, ii) the City-Talks wiki for Veria’s neighborhoods iii) the Technology Month program iv) our digital archive v) our participation in the European Digital Library attract our members’ interest and engages them to the use of our renewed IT services that have a user friendly interface and offer personalized access to an extensive pool of knowledge. The Magic Boxes workshops help children in expressing their creativity and trigger their curiosity while exploiting their digital skills. The entire area has been technology-enhanced to engage children in interactive and collaborative experiences. Various creative activities are organized by the librarians, teachers, artists, volunteers and experts in children education. Impact of our services The library infrastructure in Greece remains underdeveloped. Contrary to this situation, we manage to have multiple impacts in people’s life, in local as well as national level: - Compared to all public libraries in Greece, we have the highest performance on member subscriptions (41% of the city’s total population) and the best record of materials on loan. - We have provided IT training to nearly 3,500 adults in the county of Imathia including students, professionals, unemployed and pensioners. Furthermore, we have enabled individuals and groups from immigrant communities to create, promote and share their digital stories that reflect their life and experiences in their adopted country.

- The projects MOBILE and ISTAR are at the heart of what we do today. We developed training and promotional material to spread our results and help other organizations build their own mobile services and IT training centers. - We are the national coordinators of the Europeana project (the European Digital Library). We are preparing promotional and training material; we organize workshops and we are planning a national conference to disseminate best practices in digital archiving. In October 2010 organized with great success n cooperation with many other institutions a conference about Europeana and Greek digital content. - We have developed the Future Library, the first social network in Greece to connect librarians; we

- The Summer Reading Program, the Technology Month and the Mobile Libraries Program are the most important outreach activities we organize in order to reach children. Facts for 2009 include: 60 seminars on creativity, reading and digital skills; 3.000 children attended; 36.600 total loans during summer; 1.248 photos on Flickr, 3 issues of our newspaper reaching 4.000 children.

The avocate for children Ioannis Moshos, July 21, 2010.

- We were the first to introduce an electronic mobile library in Greece. Our mobile libraries reach 30.000 people. We visit schools, local cafes, shops and the main squares; we have even encountered suspicious people scared of technology equipment!

laying Wii, 1 June 2010.

Robotics Seminar, 5 June 2010.


Mobile Library service to St George, 10 June 2010.

Creative workshop, 12 June 2010.

Celebrating the Award with the Library Council, 20 August 2010

Days of American Culture, 20 September 2010.

Today the situation changes: we spread mobile internet, we teach, we inform, we connect people. “…Bravo! Bravo! You should come back soon, until today we felt completely excluded and forgotten...” This is what an old man from Foustani (a village of 300 habitants) said while checking online the weather forecast. As a result, more than 60 Greek public libraries learn from our approach and replicate our mobile services to reach remote and disconnected areas in other parts of Greece. - We were the first Greek public library to set up our own web site (back in 1997) and offer online services. The national authority for Information Society recognized our active role and funded our initiative “infolibraries”. As a result, we have managed to coordinate the online presence of nearly 100 local cultural organizations, municipal and public libraries and join all Greek public libraries under our web portal.

“Magic Boxes” approach in the new branches is expected to open new perspectives in user interaction within libraries and pave the way towards a new era of public libraries. We want to build library spaces where our users will co-exist with media, book collections, virtual characters and robots while operating in everyday environments. We will expand the reach of our services and integrate to our network of branches new municipal libraries. To that end, we will upgrade our infrastructure to support the IT needs of the people from the new areas. We will create user-centric and technology-enhanced environments that are open and accessible to all; we will address personalized learning requirements and provide the means for users to express their creativity. We want to build upon the success story of the Magic Boxes project. We will replicate the “Magic Boxes” concept to the entire main

- The “Magic Boxes” is a cornerstone for Greek libraries in that it developed an area especially designed for children. Our innovation was recognized by his Excellency the President of the Hellenic Democracy, Dr. Karolos Papoulias, who paid an honorary visit to our library and who officially launched the operation of the “Magic Boxes”.


Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the main sponsor of the “Magic Boxes” project commented: “...the Magic Boxes will not only become a significant instrument for the children of Imathia but also for the broader region.” This year nearly all the elementary and the primary schools of Veria (approx. 5,000 students) visited the “Magic Boxes” area, participated, used and evaluated its features. - Until today, two neighboring municipalities have embraced our vision and agreed to join our network of information services by establishing branch libraries based on the concept of the “Magic Boxes”. As a result, in 2010 our services reached 10.000 more people. Future plans Following our mission and vision for 2010, we classify our actions in three categories: “Serving the unserved”, “Building partnerships” and “Creating experiences”. The implementation of a regional network of library branches and the expansion of our information services will bring under our umbrella more local cultural institutions. This reflects the sustainable framework that we have established which aims at sharing costs, resources and infrastructure as well as developing quality services for a higher number of citizens. The integration of all local libraries in our network of branches (currently 2 and 7 more to come), regardless of their diverse register status (public, municipal or communal) will ensure the accessibility of our services within the county as well as within the broader region. Sustainable services require user engagement. The adoption of the

building and to our new branches. The future Veria Public Library will totally embrace the term “Magic”, aiming at stressing the emotional and pleasurable aspects of experiencing creativity and knowledge. Veria library acts as a model of best practice and innovation. Taking into consideration its limited budget and relatively few resources the library has managed to create a remarkable impact both on a local and national level. Through its inspired staff, motivated local community and innovative services the library succeeded in proliferating its innovation impact in other libraries. While the majority of the south-east European public libraries face considerable barriers to enter the new digital era and even survive in it, the Veria Central Public Library succeeds in identifying and delivering the new role of public libraries to the community. Veria’s Library motto “a smart library, an open approach” alters the common perception about the modern public library into a concept that considers the library as a center for creativity, learning and innovation.

Guiding Technical/Vocational School students around the Library, 3 October 2010.

President of Parliament Mr Philippos Petsalnikos in the opening of Makrohori Public Library, 26 November 2010.


Library tour to members of the Greek Guiding Association from Thessaloniki, 6 November 2010.

Author Nikos Papandreou in the Library, 19 November 2010.

Headf of the Library Council, Mr Kostas Theoharopoulos, at the opening of St George Library, 12 December 2010.

Event with the chore “Cantus Firmus�, 27 December 2010.



Primer school children Secondary school University students

Adults Primer school children Secondary school University students


The Creative Library in 2010 185 creative workshops and guiding tours for children 2 cocerts 3 film projections 15 book presentations 144 free seminars in new technologies for adults


Ellis 8, VERIA tel.: 23310 24494 e-mail:

Annual Report 2010 ( EN )  

Annual Report 2010 ( EN )