LiLaEst-2020

Photo: Sevilė Charsika / National Library of Lithuania

On August 17, a three-day conference of all three Baltic national libraries, “LiLaEst 2020,” took place in Lithuania. The theme of this year’s event was “Possibilities for Reusing Digitized Content.” Specialists from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia had the opportunity to discuss the situation of each national library in the field, share good practices and visions for the future.

The main idea of ​​the meeting, which takes place every two year in one of the countries, is that culture should not be locked up in repositories or archives and must be shared. Therefore, cultural institutions, libraries among them, also care about presenting cultural objects to the public. Advanced digital tools and the Internet have opened up vast opportunities for sharing cultural heritage. Reusing works have become especially popular now, when one can create new meanings by transferring a work to another context or adding unexpected elements to it. Representatives of the national libraries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and experts gave presentations and shared their experiences, plans and problems of opening and reusing data stored at the libraries.

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An On-line Summer Course for Teachers of Lithuanian Schools Abroad

For the third summer in a row, the National Library of Lithuania has been contributing to the teachings of teachers of Lithuanian Saturday schools abroad organized by Vytautas Magnus University. This year, twenty teachers from Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, Belarus, Estonia, USA, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany and Ukraine took part in an on-line course.

The participants of the opening ceremony organized in the National Library of Lithuania. Photo:
Vygaudas Juozaitis / National Library of Lithuania

The event started on July 27 with the World Summer Language and Culture Forum. First lady Diana Nausėdienė, the chairman of the Seimas Committee of Education and Science Prof. Eugenijus Jovaiša, the rector of Vytautas Magnus University Prof. Juozas Augutis, Deputy Director General for the Development of Information Resources and Services of the National Library of Lithuania Sandra Leknickienė and other distinguished guests participated in the Forum.

Part of the lectures for teachers took place at the Library. A few lectures were given by the Library staff. On July 31, the lecture on the contemporary Lithuanian literature was presented by the head of the Lithuanian Studies Unit Prof. Dainius Vaitiekūnas. On the same day, another staff member of the unit, chief researcher Prof. Jolanta Zabarskaitė discussed with teachers how to build personal vocabulary. On August 8, Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė, also from the Lithuanian Studies Unit, gave a talk about the late Soviet era in Lithuania and its representation in rock-n-roll music.

International Conference “Religious Communities in the Age of Migration” in Kaunas

Dr. Ilona Strumickienė

On October 24-25, 2019 the Vytautas Magnus University Research Cluster “Church Relations with State and Society in Lithuania” invited a broad international group of researchers to the conference on the religious communities in the age of migration. The goal of the conference was to explore and discus the religious history and contemporary processes of the Catholic Church, religious communities (such as Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Lutherans and Orthodox), migration, and diasporas.

Researchers from various research fields: religion, theology, history, political science, sociology, cultural science, public communication, and art history representing different countries (Belarus, Finland, Hungary, Holland, US and Lithuania) gathered to the conference.

Two researchers from the Adolfas Damušis Democracy Studies Center of National Library of Lithuania participated in the conference. Dr. Ilona Strumickienė, director of the Center, in her presentation “Returning Migrants and Their Influence on Lithuania’s Social and Religious Life” talked about re-emigration processes and the religious influences and expressions brought back by re-emigrants. In presentation “Listening to ‘the Words of God’ on Lithuanian-American Radio,” Dr. Ina Ėmužienė analyzed various forms of religion in the American radio media and its different expressions and impact on the Lithuanian-American community.

The Story of BATUN Presented at the National Library of Lithuania

The author Sirje Okas Anso (on the left) was present at the event.

On September 12, a book The Story of BATUN—Baltic Appeal to the United Nations (1966-1991), published in 2018 by Estonian-born Sirje Okas Ains was presented at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. BATUN is the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian movement founded in the US in the late 1960s, which main goal was to seek independence for the Baltic States and their membership in the United Nations.

A collection of documents presents the historical narrative of the Baltic States and the successful collaboration between the three nations. The author Sirje Okas Ains offers an interesting narrative based on documents, photos and personal insights. The book also contains a collection of archival documents which include not only documents testifying to various BATUN’s activities, but also organization’s correspondence with ambassadors, materials distributed and produced by the organization, and examples of the BATUN’s newsletter.

Sirje Okas Ains is an artist and a longtime member of BATUN. She grew up in Argentina and graduated from the University of Buenos Aires. In 1968, she moved with her family to the United States, where she studied arts at New York University. In 1969, she became actively involved in BATUN becoming a member of the board. Later she was delegated to the United Nations missions and the UN Human Rights Committee.

Participants of the World Lithuanian Writers Forum Gathered at the National Library of Lithuania

On May 5-7, 2019 the First World Lithuanian Writers Forum took place in Vilnius. It was attended by more than 30 writers, translators and literary critics from fifteen countries. The program of the forum offered a variety of activities—from literary readings to the presentation of the anthology of world Lithuanian authors, Exodica, to a book exhibition of the Lithuanian émigré writers organized by the National Library of Lithuania.

The organizers of the Forum aimed at achieving several goals. The first one was to get to know each other and share different experiences and perceptions of the world. The event also commemorated the Lithuanian Press Restoration, Language and Book Day.


The participants of the Forum took a picture on the steps of the National Library of Lithuania.

On May 6, the participants of the Forum visited the National Library of Lithuania. Jolanta Budriūnienė, the director of the Documentary Heritage Research Department of the National Library of Lithuania, presented the writers to a wide range of library’s activities. She noted that the Library has become a place where more than thousand various cultural events take place every year and the space for the cultural diplomacy. “We cooperate with the embassies of the Republic of Lithuania abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture. We have broadened the scope of joint works and projects in the East and West. The library is a unique place, because it traces the signs of cultural diplomacy. It’s a place where we systematically collect and house the books of Lithuanian authors published abroad. Today these publications are an important part of the Lithuanian documentary heritage,” Budriūnienė said.

The writers who gathered at the National Library of Lithuania presented the director of the Documentary Heritage Research Department with their books and publications published abroad and in Lithuania. Afterwards, the participants of the Forum were given an extensive tour of the Library.

The Book “Nylon Curtain”


Book presentation at the Library.
Photo: National Library of Lithuania

The two-volume monograph Nylon Curtain. Lithuanian Music in the Context of International History of Cold War, by the musicologists, Prof. Rūta Stanevičiūtė, Prof. Danutė Petrauskaitė, and Prof. Vita Gruodytė, was presented at the National Library of Lithuania. The book, published in 2018 by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater, consists of two volumes: a collective monograph, entitled Nylon Curtain. Cold War, International Exchanges and Lithuanian Music and a collection of correspondence, Foreign Correspondence of the Lithuanian Musicians, 1945-1990.

In the collective monograph, the authors using extensive archival documents gathered from the state and private archives, as well as published sources, analyze the channels of the exchange of musical information among the individuals and institutions in Lithuania and foreign countries that took place during the Soviet period. They also looked into the reasons that encouraged promoting personal and transnational relations between the two musical environments divided by the ideological confrontation of the Cold War, and posed questions, such as: which ideological, economic, and cultural constraints and differences limited such exchange and what impact international exchanges had on the national music scene.

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