The Library was established in accordance with the statutes of the Hellenic Society for Aesthetics (1972 amendment) and of the Michelis Foundation (1979). It is unique in its kind in that it is dedicated to aesthetics, a branch of philosophy that occupies only a small section of the stacks in most libraries around the world. The core of the Library comes from the personal collection of books belonging to Panayotis Michelis and his wife Effie.
Originally the Library was housed in the offices of the Michelis Foundation, on the 5th floor of 79 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, in Athens, Greece. In February 2000 the Library was opened to the public in specially remodelled premises on the 2nd floor of the same building.
The first cataloguing of the holdings took place in 1988 and it was in electronic format – something advanced for the times. In January 2006, the old system was replaced by Horizon, an integrated library system used by large libraries in Greece and abroad.
As of January 2009 the online Catalogue (OPAC) of the Library can be accessed.
The Library specializes in aesthetics, architecture, fine arts, philosophy of art and philosophy in general. Its entire contents are included in a catalogue of more than 20,000 entries. More specifically:
- The main collection consists of books and a large number of rare offprints of articles in various languages (mainly Greek, English, French, German and Italian). Many of these titles are first editions dating to the fifties, sixties or seventies. A large number of volumes are inscribed by the authors to the Michelis couple. The effort to bring the main collection up-to-date with the addition of the latest publications and to locate out-of-print titles is ongoing.
- The collection of periodicals comprises numerous Greek and foreign titles on aesthetics, architecture, art and philosophy. The collection includes complete runs of the most authoritative periodicals on aesthetics, i.e. the British Journal of Aesthetics (UK), the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (USA), the Revue d’Esthétique and the Nouvelle Revue d’Esthétique (France), the Rivista di Estetica (Italy), and, of course, the Chronika Aisthetikes / Annales d’Esthéti¬que / Annals for Aesthetics, which is published by the Panayotis and Effie Michelis Foundation in cooperation with the Hellenic Society for Aesthetics. More than 5,000 articles that were published in the above periodicals are included in the catalogue of the Library.
- The collection of old books contains approximately 300 titles published before 1900. This collection is kept in the offices of the Michelis Foundation and is available to the public only by special permission.
- The collection of ancient Greek classics includes more than 600 volumes in various editions with texts either in the original or in translation.
- With books that belonged to Effie Michelis as the core, a collection of books onnaïve painting has been put together in recent years and is gradually being added to..
- The Michelis Library houses the proceedings of the Mediterranean Congresses, which the Hellenic Society for Aesthetics has had digitised.
- Finally, the Archives of the IAA (International Association for Aesthetics), a unique collection, digitised by the Hellenic Society for Aesthetics, are housed in the Library following a decision of the XIVth International Congress of Aesthetics in Ljubljana in 1998 to entrust the Michelis Foundation with its Archives.
The Library addresses mainly researchers, students and academic teachers and is open to the public for study in its premises (it is not a lending library). Readers have access to the online Catalogue (OPAC) and the Internet and may use their own laptops. Under certain conditions and restrictions the Library can provide readers with photocopies.
The P. & E. Michelis Foundation Library
79 Vas. Sofias (2nd floor), 115 21 Athens, Greece.
Opening hours: Monday through Friday, 10:00 – 16:00
Head Librarian: Caterina Basba
E: Caterina Basba (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Τ: 210 72 58 245, fax: 210 72 18 626