Staff at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki dipped into their own pockets to fund and create a gallery space at the university’s Library and Information Centre, so as to hold exhibitions to show some of the center’s valuable archives and collections, the head of the centre, Katerina Nasta, said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency’s (ANA) free-press magazine ‘Praktoreio’.
The Library and Information Centre of AUTh is an independent university unit which consists of the Central Library and its branches, Specialised Academic Libraries and Departmental Libraries, and is considered the centre of AUTh as a source of knowledge, research and documentation.
After working for nearly three decades at the AUTh Central Library, Nasta said that what has been so far achieved is just the beginning, as she plans to go deeper into the library’s treasure trove of knowledge and history, where digital technology meets cultural heritage and interdisciplinary practices explore new fields of interest.
The sheer number of archives and rare collections makes it the largest university library in Greece, comparable to the libraries of the most renowned universities in the world.
Nasta said that, at a time when state universities suffered from underfunding, an awareness of the size and importance of the AUTh Library and Information Center inspired its staff and teachers to achieve this small ‘miracle’ in the last few years.
International fairs, book publishing, collaborations with international organisations and countries, global conferences, innovative digital library services are just some of the actions included in the AUTh Central Library’s report from 2016 to date.
Utilising personal financial and human resources, the most recent conquest was the creation of an exhibition space inside the building to present rare material from the centre’s collections to the public.
“Via the organisational chart we expect to set up a preservation department, to take care of our material on our own, except of course in special cases,” Katerina Nasta observed, adding that “thanks to European funding programs, three major digitisation projects have been completed.”
Nasta also mentioned her department’s collaboration with AUTh’s Cartography and Geographical Analysis Laboratory, “which digitised and continues to authenticate and scan maps from the Trikoglio Library. We digitise material from the library’s rare collections,” she said, while “we are planning to immediately bring out the latent AUTh administrative archive. New horizons have opened up and will be expanded with the creation of the library’s Publications Department,” she asserted.