Damušis Democracy Studies Centre
of the National Library of
implementing a new project which main focus is Lithuanian re-emigration. Entitled
“30 Stories for 30 Years: The Experiences of Returning Immigrants and Their
Contribution to the Strengthening of Lithuanian Statehood” the project draws
attention to those who have returned from emigration, emphasizing the motives
of both emigration and re-emigration, peoples’ experiences, successes, and
failures. The story of American Lithuanians, Adolfas and Jadvyga Damušis,
who returned to Lithuania in 1997, also played a role in choosing this
particular topic for the new project.
To preserve the
memory of emigrants and their experiences, the implementers of the project plan
to conduct a series of interviews with Lithuanians who returned to Lithuania and
who contributed to different spheres of life in Lithuania.
A year ago, the former cultural attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in the United Kingdom, Rita Valiukonytė, handed over to the National Library of Lithuania the cultural documents of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Lithuania in London. The archive covers the period from 1991 to 2016. Most of the documents were accumulated during the time served by two cultural attachés, Daiva Parulskienė (2008-2012) and Rita Valiukonytė (2012-2016).
The archive shows
the development of cultural relations between the Republic of Lithuania and the
UK and the efforts of the diplomatic mission to introduce the British people
with the works of prominent Lithuanian artists and the achievements of
Lithuanian scholars. It includes programs of various art events, presentations
by artists, correspondence regarding the events, press releases, reviews and
articles on Lithuanian artists, prominent Lithuanians living and working in the
UK, and recent developments in Lithuanian art and history. A separate part of
the archive is presentations of Lithuanian Jewish history and culture.
comprehensive and rich archive has become part of the Rare Books and
Manuscripts Unit of the National Library of Lithuania collection and is awaiting
its researchers and readers.
In January, the Academy of Education of Vytautas
Magnus University (VMU) organized the Lithuanian Language and Culture winter
course. Students from more than fifteen countries came to Vilnius to learn the
language and get acquainted with Lithuanian culture and history.
On January 14, students visited the National Library
of Lithuania. They listened to the lecture on Lithuanian diaspora and its most
prominent representatives in science, politics, economy, culture, and art given
by Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė, chief researcher
of the Lithuanian Documentary Heritage Department of the National Library of
Lithuania. Afterwards, the students were given a tour of the library, followed
by a discussion about the image of Lithuania created by foreigners studying
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.
newspaper “Mūsų pastogė” informs that last December the Australian Lithuanian
Community, Inc. Board of Directors decided to invigorate the Australian
Lithuanian Community Archive so that it is the preferred option for people to
donate their archive material.
As a result the
Board appointed a management committee, currently chaired by the interim chair Tony Cibiras. The committee is also
looking for “archive ambassadors” in all communities and the organizations to
help promote the Archive.
longer term plan is to collect, collate and digitize the history of Lithuanians
in Australia and make it available online. One of the options being discussed
is to partner with the National Library of Lithuania to gain access to the
portal www.epaveldas.lt. Another is to join with the Lithuanian Archives
Project in Chicago www.lithuanianarchivesproject.org and use their portal.
On November 1, the
Australian Lithuanian Archives shared another piece of news. The Archives has
been successful in obtaining a grant from the National Library of Australia.
This highly competitive grant gives the Archives funding for a Significant