98TH LIBRARY – Judith’s Reading Room Opens Library in Greece

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Opens Library in Greece

A village declares its first community library

January 20, 2020  — 

Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith Krug, a librarian, announced today the dedication of its 98th library in its 21st country in collaboration with a visionary and unstoppable elementary school teacher from a village on an island in north Greece.

The village of Potamia, on Thassos Island, did not have a community library, making it difficult for children to celebrate the joy of reading and to develop literacy skills.  That was until Vicky Xanathopoulou reached out across oceans to apply online for the 2019 Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award.  Xanathopoulou won the coveted 2019 “Judith’s Award,” for which only teachers, librarians or authors are eligible.  To augment her $500 cash prize, for which she flew to New York City to accept, the organization decided to help her establish a community library in her seaside village. 

The 98th Judith’s Reading Room library is housed inside the historic Cultural Union of Polignotos Vagis stone building, originally used as a fishing sanctuary for monks.  A museum, it hosts cultural events and will now house the community library.  Judith’s Reading Room provided 75 children’s books in English. Villagers are augmenting the library by donating books from their home collections.  All books will be available for loan and families will enjoy organized reading activities and book presentations.  In all, 150 children will be served by the library.

“I’m so happy and grateful for the opportunity given by Judith’s Reading Room to the children of my village to have more reading and cultural experiences,” said Xanathopoulou.  

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  In the ten years since its founding, Judith’s Reading Room has established 98 libraries in 21 countries filled with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Visit Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award for current award information!