Lithuanian public libraries: Legislation & Policy priorities

Library Act (2004) is the main legal regulation document for libraries’ activities. It defines the library network and describes main functions of each library type. It also states that each municipality has to establish public library. The network of branches and funding issues for everyday operations are decided by a local municipal council, thus the situation in municipalities may differ.

The Ministry of Culture in accordance with the Library Act and strategic documents provides some funding for public libraries, mainly for new documents’ acquisition and centralized subscription to generic data bases, development of public access computers and internet and library buildings renovation. In 2011 state funding for public libraries slightly increased, though is lower than in 2008.

After regional administrative reform in 2010, Ministry of Culture ofLithuaniaovertook administrative duties for 5 county public libraries. In addition to those Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and Library for the Blind report directly to the Ministry of Culture. 

Recently approved Information Society Development for 2012-2019 program foresees participation of libraries in such areas as digital inclusion of hard to reach social groups; fostering Lithuanian culture and language through application of ICT; providing geographically equal development of ICT infrastructure and stimulation use of services. This program sets national objectives in line with European digital agenda action areas and issues.

At the moment the Ministry of Culture is working on a few main strategic documents that will set long-term framework for cultural sector, including libraries, development and changes.

Ramune Petuchovaite
Senior Specialist, Ministry of Culture
Lithuania

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