ARA Greece recently visited Gennadius Library, one of the most important libraries in Greece. It came into existence from a donation by Joannes Gennadius, a collector and bibliophile, who gave his personal collection of 25.000 (!) volumes back in 1922 for its creation. This number has kept growing ever since, reaching today a total of 138.000.
Besides boasting an impressive collection, the beautiful library and surrounding facilities are a garden of peace within the bustling and bereft of trees Athens.
Gennadius was particularly interested, among other things, in the binding aspect of the books he collected. There are many volumes he acquired solely on this basis and he personally created scrapbooks and catalogs listing them. You can imagine how this could be of particular interest to a group of people passionate about bookbinding!
Props to Thaleia Michelaki -the president of our hearts- who sacrificed her publicity for the sake of documenting the visit.
Also, a big thanks to Irini Solomonidi for welcoming us at the library, giving us access to some lovely books and sharing interesting stories about them and the establishment.
Binders of today examining the handwork of our past colleagues.
I wonder if there’ll come a day when a scrutinous eye will focus on our bindings as well: will it look down upon our shortcomings or admire our skills? Who knows…
Here’s a little something for all you sherlockian type of fellows;
Ms Solomonidi informed us that there’s sort of a dispute between the librarians concerning these two identical volumes: it is apparent they were made to resemble each other, yet we also know that they weren’t made by the same person… So, which one is the original and which is the copy?
Our team had a few ideas, but there was always a counter argument and we weren’t able to reach to a verdict. What do you think?
I saved a binding treat for last: a bookcase made in France over a century ago. It was simply astonishing how snuggly it closed and how well it functioned after so many years – just have a look at the video!
There’s a small secret that allows the gradual and smooth descend of the top: a small hole, so small that it’s hardly observable up close, that allows the air to escape while controlling its outflow. It would be hard to close the case shut without this simple and yet ingenious little detail.
Gennadius library is open to the public and is well worth a visit!