Public Library of Rethymno

The Public Library of Rethymno is located in the precinct of the church of Agia Varvara (St Barbara) in the city of Rethymno, housed since 1945 in the former Girls’ School.

The first serious effort to create library facilities in the city came from the Educational Association of Rethymno and the Library itself was founded in 1887. The first major donation was made in 1879 by the illustrious Rethymno resident Emmanouil Vivilakis consisting of 700 volumes of valuable publications.

In 1953 it was recognized as a Public Library of Rethymno and in 1972 was appointed as “Central”. In 1972 it was also equipped with two book vehicles (mobile libraries), which until today bring the books even to the most remote and isolated villages of Crete.

The Public Library of Rethymno each year serves approximately 30,000 users, while the lending department, numbering 10,000 active members, performs over 27,000 borrowings. It currently has more than 150,000 volumes of books, 10,000 volumes of magazines and a rich, mostly local, newspaper archive dating to 1881 until today. It also has important old-series dating to 1498 and a valuable historical record from the 19th to the early 20th century, making it one of the richest regional libraries in Greece.

Due to the age of the building and the lack of space, a research is being already conducted about the construction of a new building that will house the Public Library of Rethymno.