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 the Lithuanian history from the 13th century up to the declaration of the Independence of Lithuania in 1918 (civil registry and vital records up until to our days). 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 Archivespreserves records of state, local government, enterprises, religious communities, popular organisations, 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; provide 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 fonds of private persons are dated from 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 2018
|Indicator||Value (in units)|
|Number of state archives||9|
|Number of employees in archives||425|
|Number of paper documents in archives||1 0274 469|
|Number of film documents in archives||9 549|
|Number of photo documents in archives||417 229|
|Number of audio documents in archives||25 157|
|Number of video documents in archives||5 928|
|Number of electronic documents in archives||146|
|Number of digitalised documents in archives (units per year)||47 071|
|Number of visits of document readers (per year)||31 301|
According to the data of the Lithuanian Department of Statistic, the number of written requests in archives remained relatively stable over the last 5 years.
Table 11: The number of written requests in archives in 2014–2018
|Number of requests in archives||31 100||29 500||30 100||25 900||31 300|
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 of 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 Lithuanian Council for Culture finances projects submitted by archives on the competitive basis. In 2018, the Council allocated 133 900 EUR for 18 projects of archives.
The libraries operating in Lithuania are divided into State libraries, the founders of which are State institutions, municipalities and other organisations, and non-governmental libraries established by non-governmental enterprises, non-governmental organisations and natural persons.
In 2018, the network of Lithuanian libraries covered 2 402 libraries.
Table 12: Number of libraries by type in 2018
|Types of libraries||Number of libraries|
|National library – Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania||1|
|Special library – The Lithuanian Library for the Blind||1|
|County public libraries||5|
|Municipal public libraries||1 236|
|Libraries of science institutions||4|
|Libraries of museums and other cultural institutions||17|
|Libraries of special literature (medical, technical, etc.)||25|
|Libraries of higher education institutions||40|
|Libraries of schools||1073|
According to the data of the Lithuanian Department of Statistic, the number of libraries has been gradually decreasing over the last 5 years.
Table 13: The number of libraries in Lithuania in 2014–2018
|Number of libraries||2 563||2 549||2 505||2 453||2 402|
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 preserver written heritage and to promote reading, to create conditions for self-education and self-creation of the 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 (organisation by involving the interested communities), the development of information competencies of residents, and other library services rendered by electronic means; 3) public area (community centre) services which 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 5 years.
Table 14: Number of registered users of libraries in Lithuania in 2014–2018
|Number of registered users of libraries (in thousands)||1 274||1 249||1 213||1 206||1 162|
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, the rights and obligations of the owner whereof are implemented by the Ministry of Culture; draws up and coordinates documents governing library activities, as well as approves them in accordance with the procedure established by legislation; commissions and finances scientific research; coordinates the activities of libraries founded by the state or municipalities, as well as their involvement in cross-border programmes; finances acquisition of documents of county and municipal public 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 the competitive basis. In 2018, the Council allocated 615 420 EUR for 121 projects of libraries.
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. The strategy provides that, with their experience and competences, libraries can become coordinators of public media and information literacy education, active participants in teaching / learning, capable of combining its different forms, integrating media and information literacy education in formal and non-formal learning.
Furthermore, it is stated in the Strategy that archives and libraries have valuable experience of data collection and processing and can engage in strategic activities of the management of information resources. They can unite the activities of the business enterprises and science institutions, develop and provide advanced information analysis and research services. The main priority of the work of archives, according to the strategy, is to increase access to the National Archives’ documents stored in the State Archives and to stimulate public interest in them.
In addition to that, the Strategy notes that archivists and librarians, as well as the vast majority of cultural workers in Lithuania, are subject to the highest standards of professional excellence, but average wage of Lithuanian cultural workers is the third lowest in the EU (after Romania and Bulgaria). Comparing the wages of the cultural workers with wages in other areas of public sector services, lower wages are paid only for care (non-medical services) specialists and postal couriers, i.e. in those sectors where the required qualification is minimal. Thus, one of the key challenges of the implementation of the strategy is to ensure the sustainability of human resources in public cultural sector.