The total number of manuscripts in the library is much larger from that which is referred to in the old catalogue of A. Sigala, due to the addition of the Sakellariou Collections and many other codes which were recently identified. The majority of manuscripts are post-Byzantine and later, mainly in the 18th and 19th century (texts which are related to the history of Kozani, written by Kozanite scholars or referring to the area, text anecdotes, or lesser known works which were preserved in a few manuscripts). Nearly all of the manuscripts are paper, with the exception of independent codices 1-4 and some papers or fragments used in bindings, which are parchment. The decoration of some codices with thumbnails or just with simple decorative elements is remarkable- such as titles and first letters- as well as the existence of high quality historical notes, in manuscripts and printed material (usually by the writer, or the scribe), of importance with relevant information about the history of the city or the area. Due to the prior relations of the library with the school of Kozani, many of the manuscripts and printed works contain useful programs for teaching. There are few useful church printed works. The recent attempts by the library to digitize and at the same time describe all of the material material is the beginning of an attempt to have access to all of the important information for every volume (bibliographical information, historical notes, description of the binding, etc.).
The majority of holdings by the library, donated by wealthy Kozanites, belong to the period of the 18th and 19th century, known as the period of Modern Greek Enlightenment. It was a period of spiritual rebirth and the awakening of Hellenism in which science was widely spread, and also the beginning the spread of freedom, history, respect for human rights, and religious tolerance. These ideas, that is, the movement of the European Enlightenment, directed and guided the Greeks of that era. There is also an important number of books from the 15th to 17th century with the oldest being a Latin text from 1494, and publications of Aristotle, Pindar, the “Efimeris” of the brothers Markidon Pouliou (the first Greek newspaper that survived), the map of Rigas, publications of the famous Venetian printer Aldus Manutius (Aldines) etc. Even some of the printed works have a relationship with Kozani, either because it contains works of Kozanites, or because the publication was paid for by Kozanites, or because their age and rarity in general is important, and makes the collection unique and contributes the maximum historical source of the time period which runs and reflects parallel to the interests of the residents of the city.
The simple writings are mainly archival documents which give us many important pieces of information about the history of everyday life in Kozani and the wider region mainly in the period during the Ottoman rule. They are mainly ecclesiastical records, minutes of the elders, judicial, administrative, and educational documents written in Greek, and some in Ottoman, and are from the 17th up until even the 20th century. Many of the document codes and simple writings are from the Holy Metropolis of Servia and Kozani, which are separated according to church leaders, but there are also documents on file about the town of Kozani (e.g. the old cadastre of 1925
). The newer and modern archive
covers mainly the period from 1914 to 1950 and is separated simply in two portions: the town and the prefecture. The first section is mainly about the history of the city, while the second is about the entirety of Western Macedonia, since the seat of the general administration was Kozani. Later Florina and Kastoria became autonomous administrations, although the countryside Grevena decided to stay in Kozani. Perhaps the more shocking images are seen by monitoring the changes through the archive (universal or spatial etc.) and is particularly visible from periods of crisis such as, for example, the annexation of land by Greece in 1912 which concluded with the departure of numerous (Greek speaking or Turkish speaking) Muslims of the region. A body of newspapers from the same era (1914-1950) which was issued to the city of Kozani, supplements, specifies, and explains content of the majority of the documents that are referred to. At the same time there is a small number of photographs (buildings, events, faces) which also helps the completion of the picture.
The KMLK also hosts and a small treasure of icons, holy heirlooms, woodcuts, engravings, architecture, and inscriptions, which date mainly to the post-byzantine period. These objects are sections of the old collection of the Late Christian and Post-Byzantine monuments which are kept in the local history museum of the Municipal Library, and come from the entire region of the Prefecture of Kozani. The systematic collecting and saving of antiquities from the municipality began in 1934 when the Municipality granted a hall to the Archeological Bureau at the newly built city hall for the formation of the Local History Museum “through the discovery of antiquities in the region of the Principality, and to avoid the loss of these antiquities to various other museums”
. Over time this collection was enriched and included findings from the prehistoric up until the modern periods, and folklore. Then, a large number of ceramics and currencies from the Classical up to the Byzantine periods, mainly for architectural reasons, were delivered to the Antiquities Curators of the Ministry of Culture, to be responsible for their preservation and their display
. In the modern collections a number of marble inscriptions (12) come from church buildings (Church of the Virgin Mary), but mainly come from from the sides of demolished houses of Kozani (e.g. Kontorousi, Koventariou) and fountains (e.g. Kontorousi, Metropolitan House) and date to the 18th and 19th centuries. These inscriptions give us valuable information, not only about the buildings which they come from, but also about the social context in general and offer a picture of the era. Extremely rare is the kind of prayer-icon stand from the 18th century, in the form of a case, that was suspended from the church of Saint Nikanor. Bearing the wooden frame, with floral decorations and an arched crown with the technique of carving in the air, which depicts angels who crown an eagle above the written form of the Father, are two supports which look like peacocks at the corners. Inside it contains sea-shells painted with a miniature scene of the Transfiguration on the concave side.
The KMLK possess a small, although remarkable, collection of maps, simple writings, and atlases, among which the top position is held by the twelve page Map of Riga Velestinlis (1796-1797) already proclaimed a national monument of modern cultural heritage, and a four page world map of Anthimos Gazis (1800). For the organization and display of this collection, the Municipality of Kozani, the Koventarios Municipal Library, and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
, collaborated for the establishment of a Municipal Map Library at the recently restored Lassani Mansion, a building from the 18th century. The Municipal Map Library of Kozani aspires to become an innovative institution not only for the city, but also for the country with international prestige, supplementing the significant nationwide library, reinforcing the cultural profile of the city, and becoming a new educational attraction around the culture of maps and their educational power. With the appointment, promotion, and utilization of important, but up until now unknown collection of historical maps and atlases, mainly from the Hellenic period of the 18th century, sent to the birthplace of Kozanites who lived mainly in Central Europe, the Map Library offers Kozani a new subject and together with the library they will become a powerful dipole in the field of knowledge and culture. The Map Library is organized with a base of contemporary beliefs and practices for such institutions, giving emphasis to new digital technologies and international cooperation so that it can become an innovative, open, and attractive organization, and a center of cultural, educational, and scientific tourism. In this way, Kozani becomes the first city in Greece which acquires a municipal institution of this type, and pioneered the cultivation and development of the historical deficit of out country’s culture of cartography and maps.
The donation of a library constitutes an indisputable fact, pure and fair benefaction. The life and ethos of the same benefactor, the late Metropolitan of Servia and Kozani Dionysus, stood by the study of books, and transferred from his own writings to the people of Kozani. The same person believed that a book is not valuable as a physical object, but rather the value is what the reader draws by reading it . Therefore, he bequeathed his collections, the content and size of which all the Kozanites in his flock recognized in 1995, and with the proclamation of Kozani as the city of books, continued in the tradition of enriching the local library with important donations by eminent men.
The largest section of the collections of the KMLK is the contemporary pieces, that is documents which have been issued after the liberation of the city in 1912. These collections, post-1912, are organized according to the international library standards, covering and representing the whole range of knowledge, and are continuously enriched to satisfy the needs of the user. And since the modern times are consistent with technology, the library, in addition to printed material, includes cds, dvds, and a significant digital collection. For the electronic processing and recording of the material of the KMLK, it uses the program ABEKT 5.6 made by the National Documentation Center of the National Research Foundation.