A conversation with Filippos Tsimpoglou: The career and achievements of Greece’s National Librarian

Posted: 10-03-2023 Topics: Humans of LIBER

Last month, the library community was saddened by the news of Filippos Tsimpoglou’s death. Having held positions as Director General of the National Library of Greece and the University of Cyprus Library, his professional achievements are widely known and respected. The proceeding tributes made clear what an influential and inspirational colleague and friend he was to so many within our community. As part of our ongoing Humans of LIBER campaign, we visited the National Library of Greece in September 2022 and had the chance to speak to Filippos Tsimpoglou. The material was planned for publication at some point this year. However, after recent events the interview transcript has been adapted into a memorial piece by LIBER’s Vice President, Dr. Giannis Tsakonas, editing the material with the care and respect that this painful news demands.

Dr. Giannis Tsakonas commented the following on working with the material to produce the interview transcript: “This might be the last public interview of Filippos Tsimpoglou, the recently untimely deceased General Director of the National Library of Greece. It is very difficult to speak about the professional named Tsimpoglou and not become personal about the man Filippos. But I would like to highlight three, out of many, features that one could meet in his personality and professional life. His kindness, the first observable characteristic, was not pretentious; for him it was the means to come closer to people. Filippos knew that the lack of resources in the Greek library landscape would be only surpassed by aligning our intelligences; and he was the first to provide for the common goal his own intelligent mind. The torrential generosity of Filippos to almost everything was the final characteristic. Then, he could explore together with you every issue of discussion, syncretism as he said in the LIBER2017 keynote speech, and synthesize.”

“While working on the transcript, we tried carefully to keep the words as close to the character of Filippos Tsimpoglou. People who knew him will certainly recognize the way he spoke. We hope this piece provides a fitting tribute to Filippos; to both his work professionally and his warm approach with all those he met.”

To read the interview – download the edited transcript, with an introduction from Dr. Giannis Tsakonas (PDF).