People stand outside a minibus utilized as Mobile Library in Athens, Greece, on June 15, 2018. Along with the summer, the Mobile Library of the city of Athens came to life this year promising to fill as many neighborhoods as possible with books for children and adults. (Xinhua/Christos Skyllakos)
By Natasha Pavlopoulou
ATHENS, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Along with the summer, the Mobile Library of the City of Athens came to life this year promising to fill as many neighborhoods as possible with books for children and adults.
The central districts of Syntagma Square, Petralona and Pagkrati among others, are some of the loan centers the library visits in June, as part of Athens' role as World Book Capital for 2018, organizers told Xinhua.
The colorful minibus which was loaded with 1,000 books was at the Serafeio Athletic and Community Complex in the centre of Athens on Friday.
There are more than 3,000 titles available in the full collection of the project. Books offered are in Greek, English and French and most of them fall in the literary category so far.
The lending process is simple: Thanks to an automated electronic system, Athens' residents become members of the library and can borrow up to two books at a time free of charge.
Both the vehicle and the books are a loan from Veria, a city in northern Greece and will be returned once the program is finished in spring 2019.
Until then the mobile library travels the streets of Athens with the support of the municipality's Cultural, Sport and Youth Organization (OPANDA) and the Municipal Library of Veria.
"Books everywhere is the slogan of the mobile library and in the two weeks from the beginning of the program, more than 50 citizens became members," Foteini Pitta, librarian and project coordinator, told Xinhua.
With over 250 book-related events, Athens is celebrating being World Book Capital for an entire year. Celebrations started in April 2018 and will end in April 2019 after the distinction from UNESCO.
Seminars and conferences, workshops, reading events and activities for adults and children, have turned the city into the place where the universal heart of the written word is beating.
"One of the great challenges of the event is to bring books to neighborhoods that do not have libraries and more importantly, to bring non-readers closer to the book and attract their interest," Georgios Foutas, member of the Board of Directors of OPANDA and of the Organizing Committee Athens World Book Capital 2018, told Xinhua.
"For this reason, the mobile library will be stationed in all seven municipal communities of Athens often seeking presence in sports venues and major events and celebrations of the city," he explained.