Heybeliada locals want historic building to become library again
Locals on Heybeliada, the second largest of the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul, want a historic building used as the Education Ministry’s administrative offices to return to its former function as a community library.
“Who needs a library on Heybeliada?” said a local initiative in a satiric statement on Oct. 24, after the ministry mounted signs of the Education Directorate and the Public Education Center on the walls of the mansion.
The mansion served as a primary school before the 1960s and later as a library for four decades.
“Librarians in Turkey, locals on the island and children were enthusiastic that the restored library has finally opened, but not as a library,” read the statement by the Heybeliada Public Librarary Reservation Association.
“Heybeliada will have a library eventually,” it read, noting that authorities had promised to make the building a library again.
Islanders cleaned up the idle building in 2013 in a bid to rescue it from demolition.
Then, state authorities undertook the restoration which took more than five years.
The group said they have signatures from 10,000 people on a petition to reopen the library at the mansion, and two lawmakers have submitted parliamentary questions on the issue.
The association has held literature meetings in front of the building to commemorate authors whose roads crossed with the island.