Activity of archives is regulated in Lithuania by the Law on Documents and Archives (1995, last edition 2022). The Lithuanian state archives system consists of the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania and 9 state archives. The state archives are divided into two groups: central archives and regional archives. There are 5 central archives: the Lithuanian State Historical Archives, Lithuanian Central State Archives, Lithuanian State Modern Archives, Lithuanian Special Archives, and the Lithuanian Archives of Literature and Art.
The Lithuanian State Historical Archives is the main repository of records for Lithuanian history from the 13th century up to the declaration of the Independence of Lithuania in 1918 (civil registry and vital records up to today). The records of state institutions, religious communities, popular organisations and families that are maintained in these archives also reflect the history of Russia, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and other countries. The Lithuanian Central State Archives preserves records of state, local government, enterprises, religious communities, popular organisations, and other non-state institutions and individuals, dating from 1918 until 1990. The division of Sound and Image is the main repository of audiovisual heritage in Lithuania. It preserves moving pictures since 1919, photo negatives and positives since 1850s, sound recordings since 1950s, and videotapes since 1988 until the present day. The Lithuanian State Modern Archives exercises control over records management in major state institutions (the Parliament, Office of the President of Republic of Lithuania, Chancellery of Government, ministries and departments, etc.) It also accumulates and preserves documents of state institutions, popular organisations and individuals, dating from 1990; provides institutions with consultations on the organisation of records management, administration and preservation of documents. The Lithuanian Special Archives preserves records of the former Lithuanian SSR division of KGB, USSR, dating 1940-1991, records of the Lithuanian SSR Ministry of Interior dating 1944-1990 and records of communist and socialist organisations, dating from the 19th c. until 1991, that witnessed the genocide of the Lithuanian people. The Lithuanian Archives of Literature and Art preserves and accumulates records belonging to state institutions, popular organisations and private persons, reflecting the development of culture and art in Lithuania. Most records are from the 20th century. Several documents in the hands of private persons are dated from the 15th century.
The 4 regional archives preserve documents of regional state, municipal, non-state institutions, and individuals of corresponding region.
Table 10: State Archives Activity Indicators for 2020
|Indicator||Value (in units)|
|Number of state archives||9|
|Number of employees in the archives||410|
|Number of paper documents in archives||10 364 222|
|Number of film documents in archives||9 779|
|Number of photo documents in archives||438 233|
|Number of audio documents in archives||25 744|
|Number of video documents in archives||6427|
|Number of electronic documents in archives||300|
|Number of digitalised documents in archives (units per year)||36 222|
|Number of visits of document readers (per year)||19 521|
According to the data of Statistics Lithuania, the number of written requests in archives remained relatively stable over the last 5 years and did not decline due to the quarantine in 2020.
Table 11: The number of written requests in archives in 2014–2020
|Number of written requests in archives||31 100||29 500||30 100||25 900||31 300||32 500||30 900|
The policy of archives is shaped and implemented by the Ministry of Culture, the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania, the Council of Archives and the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The Law On Documents And Archives (1995) define the functions of the Ministry of Culture as follow: “the Ministry of Culture shall: 1) shape a national policy in the field of management and use of documents and archives; 2) shape a film heritage protection policy and coordinate the creation of a state film chronicle according to target appropriations of the state budget as well as to the description of the procedure for creation of a chronicle set by the Minister of Culture; 3) participate in the shaping and implementation of national policy in the field of management and use of European Union documents and archives; 4) coordinate preparation and implementation of strategic planning documents in the field of management and use of documents and archives; 5) upon the instructions of the Government implement part of the rights and duties of the owner of the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania and of the state archives; 6) fulfil other functions related to state administration of documents and archives as set out by legal acts”.
The Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania is a government agency, which participates in the shaping of national policy in the field of management and use of documents and archives and implements this policy and supports the Chief Archivist of Lithuania in carrying-out state administration of the field of documents and archives. The Council on Archives is an expert institution advising on the issues related to the implementation of the Law On Documents And Archives and assigned to the competence of the Minister of Culture. The council acts on a voluntary basis.
The archives system in Lithuania is funded from the state budget. The Lithuanian Council for Culture finances projects submitted by archives on a competitive basis. In 2021, the Council allocated 63 500 EUR for 7 projects of archives.
The Lithuanian system of libraries is regulated by the Law on Libraries (1995). According to the law, the libraries operating in Lithuania are divided into county public libraries, municipal public libraries, libraries of academic and educational institutions, school libraries, special libraries, and other libraries, established by private enterprises, non-governmental organisations and natural persons. There is also 1 National Library which accumulates and stores the national archival fund of published documents, prepares and publishes the Lithuanian state current and national retrospective bibliography, bibliographic indexes of various fields of science, compiles summary catalogues and databases, performs international standard numbering of documents published in Lithuania (ISBN, ISSN, ISMN), collects libraries statistics etc.
In 2020, the network of public libraries consisted of 2 304 libraries.
Table 12: Number of libraries by type in 2020
|Types of libraries||Number of libraries|
|National library – Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania||1|
|Special library – The Lithuanian Library for Blind People||1|
|County public libraries||5|
|Municipal public libraries||1 221|
|Libraries of museums and cultural institutions||17|
|Libraries of special literature (medical, technical, etc.)||16|
|Libraries of higher education institutions||36|
|Libraries of schools||1007|
The National Library is financed directly from the state budget, i. e. budget appropriations for the library are indicated in the state budget on a separate line and the library manages appropriations. County public libraries are financed from the state budget through the Ministry of Culture and municipal libraries are financed from municipal budgets. Libraries of special literature and higher education institutions get funding from the budget of the library owner (high school, science institute etc). As it is stated in the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy 2030, the network of libraries is the densest network of Lithuanian cultural institutions and the services of libraries are very popular in small towns and villages, where other cultural services are less accessible. However, according to the data of Statistics Lithuania, the number of libraries has been gradually decreasing over the last 5 years.
Table 13: The number of libraries in Lithuania in 2011–2020
|Number of Libraries||2 694||2 633||2 585||2 563||2 549||2 505||2 453||2 402||2 365||2 304|
The services offered by Lithuanian libraries to the general public may be divided into three groups: 1) traditional services of which the main goal is to preserve written heritage and to promote reading, to create conditions for self-education and self-creation of society, and to develop creativity and imagination; 2) electronic library services which encompass the digitisation of cultural heritage, the creation of digital local information databases (organised by involving interested communities), the development of information competencies of residents, and other library services rendered by electronic means; 3) public area (community centre) services that encourage residents to communicate, participate in civil and educational events, initiate projects, and independently form opinions. Despite the variety of services provided, the number of registered users of libraries has been gradually decreasing over the last 10 years.
Table 14: Number of registered users of libraries in Lithuania in 2014–2020 (in thousands)
|Number of registered users of libraries||1 398||1 360||1 312||1 274||1 249||1 213||1 206||1 162||1 133||1 038|
The policy of libraries in Lithuania is shaped and implemented by the Ministry of Culture, the Council of Libraries and the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The Ministry of Culture defines the strategy on the development of libraries founded by the state or municipalities; prepares and finances strategy implementing programmes; carries out administration of the provision of public services by libraries, etc. The Minister of Culture is consulted by the Council of Libraries, which takes part as an expert and consulting institution in resolving matters of library policy formation and implementation. The Council is composed of 11 members – representatives of library practice and science who are delegated by the professional community of libraries and the Minister of Culture.
The Lithuanian Council for Culture finances projects submitted by libraries on a competitive basis. In 2021, the Council allocated 713 975 EUR for 135 projects of libraries. Currently, the policy of libraries is guided by the order of the Minister of Culture on The Strategic Directions of Library Development 2016–2022. The document defines three directions for the development of libraries: 1) to strengthen the cultural and informational competencies developing services, which promote the creativity, social and economic activity of individuals and motivation to participate in the lifelong learning process; 2) strengthen library communities through the use of an improved library infrastructure and the development of new electronic services that promote socio-economic development based on knowledge, entrepreneurship and innovation 3) improve the management of libraries by basing it on efficient implementation of activities, systematic improvement of staff competencies and evaluation of performance.