The Centenary of the National Library of Lithuania

A special event. Photo credit: Agnė Jankauskaitė

In 1919, the young state of Lithuania began creating its main institutions. One of them was the Central State Bookstore founded on December 20, 1919 which later would become the National Library of Lithuania. The most important functions of the Bookstore in Kaunas were to collect mandatory copies of publications published in Lithuania and the books of persons who for one or another reason were no longer their owners and of former tsarist institutions. In the first year, the Bookstore housed approximately 18,000 books. Today the National Library of Lithuania has 6.5 million of books.

In 1963, the Bookstore was moved to the capital Vilnius. In 1988, the Library was named after Martynas Mažvydas, the author of the first Lithuanian book. A year later, it was granted the status of a National Library. Today it is also a public science and a parliamentary library.

After the reconstruction in 2016, the National Library of Lithuania invited its readers to new spaces offering many new services. A number of repositories have been moved to the Internet so that every reader can find what he needs on his computer.

Today the National Library of Lithuania collects and preserves published documents related to Lithuania, maintains bibliographic records, gathers the national archive of published documents, compiles and publishes national bibliographies and other bibliographic indexes, compiles catalogs and databases, assigns international standard numbers, performs the functions of the National Digitization Center and develops the Virtual Electronic Heritage System. The Library also implements national, regional, and international projects, organizes exhibitions, literature evenings and other cultural events, promotes Lithuanian culture and science abroad.

Events dedicated to the centennial were held throughout the year of 2019. On December 20th, the actual day of establishment of the National Library of Lithuania, the Library organized a special event—an evening for Library’s employees. During the event, a number of them were recognized for their outstanding work, contribution, competencies and other merits. A performance by accordionist Tadas Motiečius and the Čiurlionis String Quartet followed the official part of the evening.