WHAT

WE DO

Multilingual Library & Multicultural Center

About the space

We opened Athens’ first multilingual library in the vibrant and diverse area of Kypseli in November 2019. We are a reading and lending library. We are working towards creating a society free of discriminations by ensuring free access to knowledge through a space that encourages communication, imagination and joy. We develop and implement innovative projects that empower the most vulnerable overcome the obstacles that keep them on the fringes of society. We raise awareness on equality, solidarity and the protection of human rights. We promote interculturalism and empathy in the daily lives of the people of Athens. We are here to stay.

7 Evias St, Kypseli, 113 62, Athens

work from here!

Come alone with your laptop, or with your team to have your meeting and your brainstorming sessions! Enjoy a tea or coffee and see how much more you can get done when you work from an inspiring and beautiful space! On warm days, a lovely back garden awaits you!

Free Wifi

Meeting Room Access

come with your kids!

The library has a children’s section designed to satisfy a toddler’s endless curiosity, ignite a child’s imagination and draw  youngsters to the exciting world of teen literature! There are toys for the little ones and board games for older children. There is a high chair available for feeding breaks. 

Child Friendly Space

High Chair Available

meet with friends!

Arrange to meet with your friends at the library and if they are late, there are over 14,000 books to keep you company while you wait! Tea and coffee are on the house! 

Back Garden Seating

Free Tea & Coffee

Our current projects

Please visit our facebook page for the latest updates.

Our current projects

Please visit our facebook page for the latest updates.

After school tutoring program

EDUCATION

In response to the educational crisis caused by COVID 19 We Need Books has designed an after school tutoring program to support primary school children living locally in their academic efforts, in an inclusive environment that promotes teamwork and collaboration.

Greek language lessons for adults

EDUCATION

Kypseli is the most culturally diverse area of Athens and is home to hundreds of migrants and refugees. We Need Books is offering Greek language lessons to help them overcome the biggest barrier for social inclusion. 

CHARMMS

Workshops

CHARMMS: challenging refugee and migrant media stereotypes contributes in fighting against stereotypes that follow refugees and migrants in the media and entertainment industry, through innovative workshops that have been designed in collaboration with the Norwegian organisation NorSensus Mediaforum, which specializes in issues of media literacy. The project is funded by the Active Citizens Fund.

Our past projects

Our past projects

Life is Elsewhere

Art exhibition
Life is Elsewhere brought together the work of nine international artists in an exhibition exploring the influence of literature, prose or poetry, on contemporary visual art, encompassing themes of escape alienation, narrative, reportage, theatre, documentary and the physical form of books themselves.
 
In homage to the aims of We Need Books this exhibition focused on artists or work which claim inspiration from literary sources or from an interest in the form of books at a time when books themselves are becoming a rarer form of entertainment or vessel of information.

Literature & Empathy as Tools for Social Inclusion

Panel Discussion
In an effort to raise awareness of the need for the acceptance of “otherness”, We Need Books organized a panel discussion to explore how literature and empathy can be used as tools for social inclusion.
 
The panel comprised of Gulwali Passarlay, human rights activist and author of “A Lightless Sky”; Maria Aggelidou, multi-awarded author and translator; Sofia Kouvelaki, Executive Director of The HOME Project; Lefteris Papagiannakis, then Vice Mayor for Migrants, Refugees and Municipal Decentralisation. The discussion was moderated by Katerina Malakate, author whose work demonstrates a deep concern for social polarisation and Greece’s most read literary blogger.

Book & Play

LIBRARY

From October 2018 to May 2019 We Need Books participated in the Municipality of Athens’ pilot programme Polis 2. During this time we operated a multilingual library in Plateia Theatrou, one of the city’s most run down areas. It was entirely run by volunteers and through the various cultural events it organised it brought together people of all backgrounds. It offered a collection of over 3,500 books in over 14 languages for children and adults, creative workshops for children ages 2 – 17 and language lessons in Greek, English and German.

Caritas & Schisto

Libraries

We Need Books created a library with over 1,000 in Arabic, Farsi, Greek and English in a shelter for single parent asylum seeking families in Athens. It also provided over 300 books in Farsi to the refugee camp in Schisto so that a library could be set up in collaboration with the coordinators for education in the camp. 

Mustafa
What’s especially meaningful for me is seeing books here in Arabic which reminds me of my hometown, and of my father. I saw one book here I know he would love. So I could come in and read something in Arabic, then call my father and tell him about it. And it doesn’t matter what your refugee status is – this is the kind of thing that’s always going to be important, even once people are more integrated. They’ll always need that.
Abdhallah
When I entered We Need Books the first time, pushing the slow, heavy glass doors, and after looking all around Athens for books written in Arabic or translated to Arabic, I saw them, just there, waiting for me on the metal shelves. Ghada Al Samman,Virgina Woolf, Nagib Mahfuz, Haruki Murakami, Mahmoud Darwish and all the others. And then, Boooom, snap back to this old feeling, back to the amazed tiny boy inside me, overwhelmed with excitement and joy. I wanted to take all the Arabic books home with me. I told myself: I can’t let them out of my sight. But I ended up with Virginia’s Waves and Ghada’s Loafs Beats Like A Heart and came back later for the rest. It has been two years, I am borrowing books from the library and growing younger.
Now Greece is my country, Athens is my city, and home is where I keep my books.
Βαλεντίνα & Χριστίνα

Η προσωπική μας αίσθηση μετά τη σύμπραξή μας με την οργάνωση WNB, είναι ότι αποτελεί ένα πρότυπο εγχείρημα που συντονίζεται από ζεστούς, κινητοποιημένους και ικανούς ανθρώπους και αποτελεί πλέον ένα αδιάσπαστο και σημαντικότατο μέρος της κοινότητας της Κυψέλης και του κέντρου της πόλης εν γένει. Είναι ένα εγχείρημα που όχι μόνο αξίζει να συνεχιστεί αλλά και που, αν εκλείψει, αφαιρεί ένα δυναμικό εργαλείο από την φαρέτρα των επαγγελματιών της δικής μας φιλοσοφίας και απογυμνώνει την πόλη από έναν χώρο αληθινά ανοιχτό και εποικοδομητικό για όλους αδιακρίτως.


Κοινωνικοί Λειτουργοί

Hala

My family is doing alright, also we go to school, we live in a house, we get financial aid every month and I am studying German. There is no library as great as yours. I really miss the library…


teenager who relocated to Germany

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