In recent years, an increasing number of foreigners has been interested in the Lithuanian language and Lithuania. People want to learn the language for different reasons. If in the past a lot of foreigners wanted to study the Lithuanian language because it was the mother tongue of their significant other, today a large number of students search for their Lithuanian roots and identity.
On January, Vytautas Magnus University Academy of Education, in cooperation with the National Library of Lithuania, organized a virtual forum, “Teaching the Language in the 21st Century: Current Experiences and Future Trends,” in which researchers talked about multilingualism, language learning, the survival of a native language in the 21st century, Lithuanian education in the world, and the importance of creativity and innovations teaching the language.
This year, the researchers of the National Library of Lithuania have been giving lectures to students of the Lithuanian Saturday schools abroad on the topics of Lithuanian cultural history, language and literature.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.