On January 8, 2018, after three years of intensive preparation for the historic relocation, the collections of the National Library of Greece began their transfer from the two buildings of Athens (Vallianeion, Votanikos) to their new building, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. The transfer is in progress and is estimated to be completed in three months. The project is funded by the Greek State, with a budget of 500,000 Euros.
Preparation for the project of transferring the collections and services of the National Library of Greece included a total of 50 particularly demanding and complex sub-projects, carried out over three years. These involved the processing and expansion of the collections, the development of digital services, creation of a new lending section, increasing the public and training the NLG staff. The relocation and modernization of the National Library of Greece is being implemented with the cooperation of the public and private sector, involving more than 150 employees of the NLG and 400 sub-contractors, thanks to a donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation amounting to 5,000,000 Euros and a special grant from the Greek State of 5,200,000 Euros
The transfer of the collections is an extremely difficult and complicated project, given that it must ensure their minimum damage and maximum safety. Packaging and transport comply with international optimum practices. All departments of the National Library participate in the project’s implementation and its coordination has been undertaken by the Interdepartmental Transport Group, consisting of a civil engineer, conservators of books and archives and administrative staff.
Books are mainly being transported in wheeled bookcases, suitably designed to absorb vibrations and to avoid material shifting out of place. Plastic and wooden crates as well as cardboard boxes are also used. Special tilted ramps are placed where there are steps and stairways, for the safe movement of the wheeled bookcases.
The process of transferring the collections from the book “stacks” is as follows: each shelf is electronically identified and immediately placed in the wheeled bookcase. When each wheeled bookcase is full, it is closed, sealed while supervised by an employee of the National Library, placed in a truck with temperatures monitored, and finally transferred to the SNFCS accompanied by an employee of the National Library. It is then repositioned and checked again. It should be noted that the Library conservators oversee and provide additional instructions to the working groups while the project is underway.