National Library of Latvia Exchange Visit to the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania

The aims and objectives of the project

The primary objective of the knowledge and skills exchange visit was to enhance the special collections management processes at the Art and Music Center of the National Library of Latvia (NLL) and foster collaboration with the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania in Vilnius. The aim was to gain insights into the workflows of the Music and Visual Arts Unit, including their ongoing research and digitization projects.

Dates of the visit

We were warmly welcomed at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania by Živilė Časaitė, Head of the Music and Visual Arts Unit. Živilė Časaitė presented the unit’s priorities, focusing on music, audiovisual, and visual arts collections, and highlighted the eCulture digitization project and enhanced visitor services since the library’s reopening in 2016.

We explored the eCulture digitized collections, learning about specific features and future plans. The visit included a tour of the Music and Visual Arts Reading Room, where we discussed the current visitor profile, publications, and available technical equipment, such as vinyl and cassette players, a synthesizer, graphic design and notation software subscriptions, a cinema hall, and a recording and music studio.

Additionally, we toured the storage areas for music, audiovisual, and art collections, guided by an arts collection specialist who detailed the management of print materials like posters, ex libris, photography prints, postcards, and ephemera. We also visited the collection archives, engaging in a productive discussion about the different organizational approaches between our institutions.

The visit concluded with a comprehensive library tour, emphasizing visitor services, workshop spaces, the Children’s Library, and the Humanities Reading Room. This exchange provided valuable insights into managing special collections and offerings for readers, industry professionals, and diverse community groups.

The outcomes of the project

This visit gave a deeper insight into workflows of the Lithuanian National Library in the field of music, audiovisual and art collection management. The exchange visit identified the varied institutional approaches for collection dissemination and outlined a number of important services for readers, providing a benchmark for assessing and improving our own practices and services.

Quotes from participants

“Mutual exchange of experience and knowledge between the national libraries of the Baltic States is vital. It helps to understand the importance of the library, the role it plays in particular society, and how to improve our work regarding our culture heritage. The visit to the Lithuanian National Library was very encouraging in this respect. The services provided by the institution to the readers, its openness to the public is really inspiring, and encourages us to think about new service directions also in Latvia. Exchanges of experience in the context of the work with art, music and audiovisual material collections were especially valuable. I am sure we have established good contacts for future cooperation!”  (Katrīna Teivāne, Head of Art and Music Reading Room, National Library of Latvia)

“The journey to Vilnius, visiting the National Library of Lithuania was such a great experience that allowed (first of all) to get some professional exchange of conceptions, views and ideas with Lithuanian colleagues, and get some new impulses for further work with special collections. It was extremely interesting also to get introduced to Lithuanian national art and enjoy the unique architectural and historical heritage of the capital of Lithuania.”  (Dmitrijs Zinovjevs, Art Collection Expert, National Library of Latvia)

“The visit was a great opportunity to broaden my understanding of different art collection management approaches in the context of a national library. It was useful to learn about the library’s visitor-centred approach and the wide range of services provided to readers. Very inspiring!” (Sandra Ķempele, Art Collection Expert, National Library of Latvia)