The Public Library of Sparta was founded in 1972 with donations from P. Poulitsa and a grant of library books from the Municipality of Sparta.
In 1989 the library moved into its present home, a building which offers better planning and complete organization of the library’s departments.
With the existing conditions and facilities, several actions have been initiated including:
The print and electronic materials of the library consist of approximately 85,000 books, 144 local newspaper and periodical titles, 250 magazine titles, 2,400 music CDs, 900 video cassettes, 500 CDRom, and more. Library patrons and the general public may use the following departments:
The library was chosen as the institution responsible for the Nikiforos Vrettakos Archive by the poet himself shortly before his death. The Archive was inaugurated in 2000 and includes family and personal correspondence, photographs, honorary distinctions and awards, personal items and the poet’s personal library.
The Academy of Athens, the highest intellectual institution in Greece, awarded the Public Library of Sparta, among others, on December 29, 2011 during a ceremonial session. According to the report made by the Secretary General of the Academy, “[the Public Library of Sparta] is the main cultural and educational agent of the capital of Lakonia, where all the archives and libraries of Lakonian scholars are kept, where Lakonian literature and prosopography are drawn up and publications are circulated concerning the issues and people of Lakonia.” This honorary distinction was received on behalf of the Public Library of Sparta by its director, Mrs. Helen Tzinieri-Tzanetakou.
The ceremonial session, held in the presence of Prime Minister Mr. Loukas Papademos, began with a speech given by the President of the Academy, Mr. Apostolos S. Georgiades, entitled “Legal Science, Judicial Power and Politics.” The Secretary of the Academy, Mr. Vassilios H. Petrakos, presented his report on the work of the Academy in 2011 and announced the awards and accolades, which were handed out by the President.
Once again, the highest intellectual institution in Greece awarded scientists, researchers, artists, entities and people for their particular social awareness and influential cultural contributions on a local and a wider scale.
The Public Library of Sparta was awarded for its overall educational and cultural contribution to Lakonia and particularly for various educational and cultural actions. Specific honor was awarded for its compilation of libraries belonging to prominent figures of Lakonia, for the Nikiforos Vrettakos Archives, as well as the Department of Lakonian Literature, an innovative and unique section of the Public Library of Sparta that supports scientific research and greatly contributes to the recording and preservation of the productions of local authors.
Undoubtedly, this highly prestigious honor is dedicated to all those who have contributed and continue to contribute to the organization and operation of the Public Library of Sparta… the Presidents and members of the Supervisory Board, the director and all of the employees, who for three decades, with often limited financial resources, endeavored to transform a small regional library of the 1970’s into one of the largest in size public libraries in Greece, with continuously developing functions and services that adapt to the new and modern demands of the reading public.
Commemorating the centenary of the birth of the poet, Nikiforos Vrettakos, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared 2012 as the “Year of Nikiforos Vrettakos”, and thereby entrusted the planning and implementation of anniversary events to the National Book Center of Greece.
The “poet of Taygetos” belongs to a generation of authors who contributed to the renewal of neo-hellenic poetry in the 1930’s. Vrettakos’ expressive writing is associated with the searches and visions of fellow writers at a critical time (before and after World War II) and is characterized by profound social and political agitations, intellectual-artistic unrest at a national and European level.
His poetic instinct and the “coordinates” he set in his work classify him as a timeless literary figure. Nikiforos Vrettakos focused on human existence, the concept of beauty through nature, the power of memory and Hellenism as a language and a culture.
Celebratory events for the “Year of Nikiforos Vrettakos” are being organized by the National Book Center of Greece, in collaboration with the Public Library of Sparta / Nikiforos Vrettakos Archives, the Benaki Museum and the Hellenic Authors Society.
Highlights of the celebration include:
INTERNATIONAL POETRY DAY
This year’s campaign for International Poetry Day (21st March) is dedicated to the poet Nikiforos Vrettakos: elegant posters showcasing his verses will be displayed on public transport (metro, tram, bus, etc.).
THEMED KIOSKS at the NATIONAL BOOK CENTRE’S FAIRS
The National Book Centre is organizing, in collaboration with the Public Library of Sparta, a unique themed kiosk with chronology, audiovisual materials, presentation of books, manuscripts, etc. which will be on display at the 5th Children and Young Adults’ Book Fair and the 9th International Book Fair in Thessaloniki.
The National Book Centre is creating a website for Vrettakos, focusing on the man and his work. The site will make it easier for bibliophile Internet users when searching for information on the chronology, list of work, existing audiovisual materials and reviews of the poet.
The National Book Centre’s mobile exhibition is dedicated to the Lakonian poet and will be showcased at local festivals and events. It will tour schools, cultural centers, libraries, bookstores, universities and reading clubs.
SUPPORTING OTHER INSTITUTIONS
The National Book Center continuously supports the commemorative events that are being organized by other cultural institutions during the course of the year.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The “Calendar of Events” – updated daily on the National Book Center’s website – lists all the events taking place throughout the country and abroad, offering fast, accurate and direct information to all interested parties who would like to participate.