It was founded during troubled times, just after the end of WW2 and during British colonial rule, by Pafos Mayor Christodoulos Galatopoulos (1943-1953). To honour his initiative, the Pafos Municipal Council named the library after its founder in a 2002 decision.
It opened its doors to the public as a lending library in May 1946 and hosted numerous cultural events, with the highlight being the Palamas Festival, the only one held across Greece in honour of renowned poet Kostis Palamas, who tragically died in Athens during German occupation.
Their inspiration was Christodoulos Galatopoulos, who was imprisoned by the British colonial authorities in 1949 for opening the library, as well as the Palamas Festival initiative. It was seen as a nationalistic threat to the establishment.
Across almost seven decades of operation, the Pafos Municipal Library has been enriched by book purchases, as well as donations from notable literary figures across the Greek spectrum, such as nobel prize poet Odysseas Elytis, Andis Pernaris and many others.
As a cultural institution, the library substantially contributed to the spiritual and educational uplifting of the Pafos community, but it sadly fell into decline in later years, gradually withering away to near closure.
Around 2000 and responding to local community needs, the Pafos Municipal Council decided to renovate and upgrade the city’s historic library and actually included this project in the 2017 European Capital of Culture events and works, which made it more visible and significant in a wider context.
January 2015 saw the launching of the library reconstruction, modernisation and reopening project, following an agreement signed between the Pafos Municipality and the Cyprus Union of Librarians and Information Scientists (KEVEP).
The project was practically supported with expertise and experience by the University of Cyprus, the Cyprus University of Technology and the Open University. The main goal here is to promotion and easy accessibility of its rich resources.
Today the Library hosts around 26,000 volumes, including rare editions and historical documents, forming valuable material for the benefit of researchers, scholars and the wider public.
The ‘Christodoulos Galatopoulos’ Library has been transformed into a modern reference centre and as such, it aspires to grow into a hub of cultural and intellectual life for the city and district of Pafos.