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The non-profit organisation “We Need Books” was established with an aim to contribute to dealing with the refugee crisis and combatting marginalisation, using books as a means of immigrant and refugee integration into Greek society. The organisation’s vision is to build a more wholesome multicultural society free from discrimination, through the strengthening of vulnerable social groups and the promotion of interculturalism.
Since September 2019, “We Need Books” operates, in downtown Athens, the Multicultural Centre where the capital’s first Multilingual Library is hosted, and language courses are offered along with other educational and cultural activities. The Multilingual Library aims at bringing people of different origin and backgrounds together, offering them access to books in their native languages, as well as opportunities for education, entertainment, creative activities and socialisation in a welcoming environment. The Library, which follows the standards of major pioneering libraries in Europe, hosts 3 collections: The Main and the Children’s Collections, with books available for lending, and the Special Collection, with rare items of particular interest.
In 2020 the grant from the Latsis Public Benefit Foundation covered both the remuneration of a professional librarian, employed to undertake the cataloging and organisation of the lending library, and the cost for procurement of the necessary equipment, as well as part of the overall expenses required for the smooth operation of the Library.
“Since 2017, our team have been working tirelessly for the creation and management of the first multilingual library in Athens, while in 2019 we launched our own space in Kypseli, the most multicultural neighbourhood in Athens. Despite the fact that we had the books, we lacked not only the know-how to proceed with their much necessary cataloging, but also the funds to hire a professional to undertake this work. With the valuable support from the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, a professional librarian joined our team; thus, we were able to begin the titanic process of cataloging, as well as the creation of an online catalogue and lending department in our space, all indispensable to ensure sustainability of both the library and our organisation altogether in the future. It is beyond doubt that this project will help provide the best possible service to the community, promote the library’s valuable items, increase the number of its members, and substantially upgrade their everyday life. For a small organisation like ‘We Need Books’, the kind donation by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation gives us impetus and strength to keep going.”
General Director, We Need Books