Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania

Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos nacionalinė Martyno Mažvydo biblioteka) is a national cultural institution which collects, organizes and preserves Lithuania's written cultural heritage content, develops the collection of Lithuanian and foreign documents relevant to research, educational and cultural needs of Lithuania, and provides library information services to the public.

Martynas Mažvydas National Library goals are accumulation and preservation of the Lithuanian documentary cultural heritage for the future generations and ensuring its access, active participation in the knowledge society creation process, development of its activities and services using modern information technologies with the purpose to assist the learning and development processes of Lithuanian people, providing methodological support for Lithuanian libraries, carrying out research in library science, bibliography, information science and bibliology, evolving library science theory and practice and strengthening the dynamics of integration into the global library science processes.

The library was founded in Kaunas in 1919. In 1963, the Library moved to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. In 1988 the Library was named after Martynas Mažvydas, the author of the first Lithuanian book (published in 1547), and in 1989 the Library was officially designated as Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.[1] It is the main Lithuanian research library open to the public, and also performs the functions of a parliamentary library.

Functions and responsibilities

  • Accumulation and preservation of Lithuanian publications issued in Lithuania and abroad, carrying out the bibliographical control of documents, development of the National Archival Fund of Published Documents;
  • Accumulation and storage of other documents, both printed and in other forms, which are valuable for the national culture;
  • Providing services for Lithuanian and foreign citizens, institutions and organizations;
  • Compilation and publishing of the national bibliography, the bibliographical indexes, compilation of union catalogues and databases;
  • Provision of statistics on documents published in Lithuania and assignment of international standard numbers to them (ISSN, ISBN, ISMN);
  • Performing the functions of the National Digitization Centre and creation of the Virtual Electronic Heritage System (VEPS);
  • Creation and development of the Lithuanian Integrated Library Information System (LIBIS);
  • Preservation, restoration and microfilming of library holdings and valuable collections;
  • Research in library science, bibliography and bibliology, organization of scientific conferences, issuance of research and methodological publications and the professional magazine Tarp knygų (In the World of Books);
  • Organization of exhibitions, literary evenings and other cultural events, promotion of Lithuanian culture and science abroad.

Holdings overview

The collection of Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania incorporates a wide range of printed and other documents, encompassing 6.65 million volumes and 1.77 million titles in 2012.[2]

Customer Service2012 Year
Registered Users12 595
Visitors122 804
Virtual Users972 177
Issued Documents1 166 035
Users Workplaces253

The entire collection falls into three categories: the Lithuanian National Archival Fund of Published Documents, the main collection and specialized collections (rare books, manuscripts, art, music, Lituanica documents, etc.).


As a national library, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania cooperates closely with national and international library institutions and organizations. Since 1992 the Library has been participating in the activities of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Foundation Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL), Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), Bibliotheca Baltica Working Group of the libraries of the Baltic Sea Area, International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), International Association of Music Libraries (IAML), International Association of Law Libraries (IALL), etc. Within this context, the National Library is an active partner in a variety of international projects. In 2007 the National Library joined The European Library (TEL) and participates actively in the creation of the European digital library Europeana.


The National Library’s involvement in national and international networks provides for the realization of significant projects which determine positive changes in Lithuanian libraries.

  • In 2008–2012 the National Library together with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation implemented the project “Libraries for Innovation”, which enhanced the availability to patrons of information technologies for access to information resources and communication, especially focusing on people in remote parts of the country, as well as those in social risk categories.[3]
  • While implementing the Strategy on Digitization of the Lithuanian Cultural Heritage, Digital Content Preservation and Access, the National Library continues the creation of digital cultural heritage content and establishment of electronic services. 2010–2012 is the period of the realization of the project “Development of the Virtual Electronic Heritage System”. The website of the project:
  • The National Library is carrying out a programme for creating the Lithuanian Integrated Library Information System (LIBIS), and in 2009–2012 it initiated the investment project “Development of Interactive Electronic Services for Ordering and Receiving Publications at Public Libraries”. The major goal of the project is a development of electronic services in Lithuanian public libraries. The website of the project:
  • The Children’s Literature Centre of the National Library is further implementing the Reading Promotion Programme adopted by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania with the purpose to encourage reading among people from diverse age and social groups, advance their reading skills, and also raise the prestige of reading. The website of the programme:


  1. "History". Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  2. "About the National Library of Lithuania". Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. Archived from the original on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  3. "Projectas Bibliotekos pažangai  English summary". (project website). Retrieved 2018-11-04.

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