Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Public Library, together with partners from Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Slovenia, is implementing the Erasmus + project “Cultural Heritage for the Future: Discover, Share and Learn“. The aim of the project is to encourage more people to discover and engage with the national and foreign cultural heritage, to tell and share stories, in which different forms of cultural heritage and lifelong learning activities are being combined.
According to the project partners, each library has a unique experience of working with cultural heritage and can present it through both, traditional and innovative forms of communication: creating virtual exhibitions, organizing sightseeing tours, creating databases and websites for anyone who is interested in their local history. By sharing practices and experiences of working with cultural heritage, the participating libraries seek to actualize the importance of cultural heritage and to engage communities and adult learners with their national or geographical histories.
This project is funded by the Erasmus + Program of the European Commission, which is administered by the Education Exchanges Support Foundation in Lithuania.
Official website: https://www.mkk.si/eng/
Kranj City Library is one of ten Slovenian central regional libraries. It is responsible for the development of library services in Gorenjska region with 82.000 inhabitants. 25% of them are the Library members but the borrowed books reach more than twice as many readers. Kranj City Library, built as an immense cultural center in 2011, is not just a book rental, but much more. It is a splendid place of social interaction, learning activities and many interesting events. At least 1.500 people visit the library daily. The library’s mission is to be a driving force of literacy, education, culture and social progress.
Cultural heritage in Slovenia
Slovenians take culture as nation’s basic element, as a pride and heart of the national identity. Culture has a special place in Slovenian history, as it helped Slovenia to shape their national identity and to form an independent state. As declared by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia “cultural heritage is a testimony to our existence and an opportunity for the further development of our national community. We conserve cultural heritage in an integrated manner and promote it as a resource for economic, social and local development”. Policy and the Registry of Slovenian Cultural Heritage is managed on the national level by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia. This is the institute that performs professional and administrative tasks in the field of conservation of immovable and associated movable and living cultural heritage. Slovenians are also involved in international relations on cultural heritage. In this sense in 1991 Slovenia was among the founding countries – initiators of the European Heritage Days event.
The Slovenian cultural heritage range is colorful and diversified. Even though Slovenia doesn’t have so many monumental buildings, they are rich in interesting ethnographic and ethnological heritage. Rural architecture, original small settlements and houses, kozolci (hayracks), religious heritage and picturesque town centers are the most visible features of preserved past. Movable cultural heritage is promoted by about sixty museums and by numerous museum collections. The biggest museums are the national general museums in Ljubljana: the National Museum of Slovenia and the Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, specialized museums (ethnographic, technical, natural science museum) and regional museums all over Slovenia. In the region of Gorenjska, the central institution of this kind is Gorenjski muzej.
Ministry of culture: https://www.gov.si/drzavni-organi/ministrstva/ministrstvo-za-kulturo/
Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia: https://www.zvkds.si/sl/o-nas
Regional portal Kamra: https://www.kamra.si/en/
Kamra collects digitized local cultural content from libraries and other local cultural institutions. Digital content is thus available through one single place and is created by the most competent organizations in their respective fields. Kamra provides them with free infrastructure and also trains new partners, so they can present digitized content of mostly local significance and publish it on the internet. The content stored on Kamra is presented in the form of stories with supporting narrations, corresponding digitized objects and meta data. Kamra allows users to discover stories that are significant, interesting and in local community’s interest. These may include introductions of local authors and other noteworthy people; documents and photographs of significant local association; postcards from different time periods; local works of art, biographies of the authors and exhibitions; famous buildings, the stories of people who lived there. Users can now access the content that was previously hidden in libraries’ storage rooms, archives and museums, associations’ archives or even in the drawers of schools’ staff rooms. Web portal Kamra is managed by the Public Library Celje, which works in close contact with regional libraries where the regional editorial boards are based, and also The Slovenian Public Libraries Association. The content on Kamra is also available through the European digital library Europeana: http://europeana.eu.
Official website: https://www.mkk.si/eng/
Vaggeryd municipality is located on a countryside, with a population of 14 000 people. As one might notice, by the population number, the municipality is of the smaller sort. The largest town in the region is Vaggeryd with 5300 residents. The municipality is known for the industries and a well-used motto of Vaggeryd, which is “where the wheels are spinning”.
Vaggeryd public library has 4 employees and a library manager, as well as project and fill-in employees. The municipality has 4 libraries, which are open 76 hours per week. Vaggeryd public library is located in the local high school. In this public library a Makerspace is located as well. The Makerspace organisation has a great influence on the visitors and is a part of the library organisation.
Cultural Heritage in Sweden
In the Swedish library plans or in the law, there are no mentions of the library as an organisation which gather cultural heritage, or as an organisation which works with cultural heritage in general. Despite this fact, the libraries in Sweden try to be a part of cultural heritage in the country, because they want to see a growth of cultural heritage in Sweden. They want to see all generations come together for learning their individual past as citizens, as well as the past of the community. Therefore the library organisation cooperate with organisations in the community which desire to gather, preserve and spread cultural heritage to Swedish citizens.
Vaggeryd public library has participated in a local cultural heritage project. The project is called Trollstigar och häxvrål, which roughly translated means Troll paths and witches roar. This project was about collecting Swedish folklore and later presenting the information which was found.
Another project which explores cultural heritage is Virtuellt världsarv. In a local museum in Gothenburg a room has been made to present virtual storytelling through virtual reality. Through virtual reality one may visit different locations from the past. In this made up environment one may move around freely, may also move objects of different sorts. The goal of the project is to widen the accessibility of the world’s cultural heritage, and to explore parts of the history of the world which one may not be acquainted with.
The best-known website in Sweden, which gathers and presents cultural heritage online, is Swedish national heritage board (Riksantikvarieämbetet). This organisation is led by the government and is responsible for directing and advising in order to guarantee that all the governmental requirements are fulfilled. This website wishes to ensure that cultural heritage is preserved in the community. In the website one may use the search function to find what one is interested in, including content of a requested term, pictures of a chosen theme, as well as documents: https://www.raa.se/
Some of the content of Swedish national heritage board has been moved to a website called Minnen; Nordiska museet. Vaggeryds cultural heritage association use this website instead of running their own. That is due to the fact that organizing a website is demanding on many different levels, such as staff and economy. Through Minnen one gets the access to history from all over Sweden. Minnen is the Swedish word for memory. The website has a lot of similar content and use as Swedish national heritage board. Minnen is a website which is adaptable for beginners and allows individuals to present their history and memories for official use: https://minnen.se
Official website: https://www.herningbib.dk/
Herning Libraries is the name of a public library system consisting of 6 libraries and 14 local archives in the municipality of Herning. Herning Libraries serve both, as a local and as a regional libraries in the central region of Jutland, Denmark. As a local library system, Herning Libraries serve a population of approximately 90.000 inhabitants. Libraries’ vision is to be a vivid culture and community center and strive towards taking an active and relevant as a part of the development of the local society.
Herning Public Library offers traditional library services such as access to library funds, databases etc. but also new library services such as events, learning sessions, book and music clubs. Library places a strong emphasis on digital services: e-books, online inspiration, streaming of events on social media. The library has a strength in working with learning activities and events, especially reaching out to schools.
Cultural heritage in Denmark
In Denmark there are many large and small archives and museums. The largest archive is the Danish National Archive Rigsarkivet, and, in addition to that, there are numerous virtual local archives and virtual town archives from all the country’s major towns and cities. This also applies to museums.
Here is a selection of the most used websites in Denmark:
www.sa.dk: Online archives. Digitized censuses, land register information, church books and much more.
www.arkiv.dk: Registrations from a large part of Denmark’s local archives.
www.kb.dk: Denmark from the air. Collections of aerial photos of cities and properties in Denmark. The Royal Library.
www.skolehistorie.au.dk: Trøst-Hansen’s Parish Cards. A photographic presentation of parishes throughout the country featuring the local churches, pastors, clergy, teachers, and schools.
www.slaegtogdata.dk: Danish Genealogists’ website.
www.aarhusarkivet.dk: Sejrs Sedler is a large names’ archive based on the Århus Stiftstidende in 200 years.
www.afdøde.dk: Obituaries from Denmark.
www.findengrav.dk: A free online genealogy reference book where you can find your ancestors’ tombstones.
www.dk-gravsten.dk: Denmark’s cemeteries, where all the tombstones have been photographed and names are searchable online.
www.krabsen.dk: A database containing 59880 Danish names of places and their association with parish, municipality and county.
www.kbharkiv.dk: Here you can search for persons in the Police Register sheets and the Copenhagen funeral records, as well as other sources from the Copenhagen City Archives.
www.historiskatlas.dk: Explore historical maps and your local cultural heritage.
www.gst.dk: The Land Register/Cadastral Archives. The Danish cadastre is the basis for all land registration in Denmark. Consisting of a country-wide cadastral map, an official register and a cadastral archive, this resource plays a central role in the public management and administration of land ownership.
Official website: https://raamatukogu.hiiumaa.ee/
Public Library of Kärdla is the main library in Kärdla city. It serves as local library and also as central library of Hiiumaa municipality. It has the largest depository of the municipality, serves all residents of the municipality and its quests, also coordinates the work in all the libraries of the municipality.
The vision of the library is to be local community center, where visitors could have a free access to all sorts of knowledge. To achieve this, library cooperates on local, regional and international level. It organizes events and trainings on current important topics, introduces and encourages lifelong learning, provides access to the Internet and computers, teaches digital literacy, encourages reading promotion etc.
The library has experience in working with collecting and digitizing materials connected to the local history and culture of the community and has a web-based database of books and articles connected with Hiiumaa municipality and its residents.
Cultural Heritage in Estonia
Estonia is rich in cultural heritage from different eras. Cultural heritage is a sign of the history of a state and its people as well as a part of their identity. History is not only recorded in historical writings, but also in the cultural environment, buildings, objects and landscapes.
Ministry of Culture: https://www.kul.ee/en/activities/heritage-conservation
UNESCO _ Estonia https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ee/
In Estonia there are several organizations involved in collecting and preserving cultural heritage. These include:
Muinsuskaitseamet – The Heritage Board is engaged in the preservation of cultural heritage. They have published two books https://www.muinsuskaitseamet.ee/en/estonian-cultural-heritage-book
Eesti Instituut – Estonian Institute https://estinst.ee/en/estonian-culture/estonian-cultural-heritage/
Eesti Kunsti Akadeemia – Estonian Academy of Arts that teaches students for cultural heritage conservation https://www.artun.ee/en/curricula/cultural-heritage-conservation/
In the The European Year 2018 of Cultural Heritage in Estonia there were many interesting events that can be found here:
Most important Cultural Heritage Estonia events are listed by UNESCO:
Estonian Song Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYA1dbxg1vo
Estonian Dance Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFHaM9W0P3Q
Visit Estonia https://www.visitestonia.com/en/
Visit Tallinn https://www.visittallinn.ee/eng/visitor/discover/articles-guides/old-town
Hiiumaa is the second largest island of Estonia. Cultural heritage in Hiiumaa is listed here:
Foundation Hiiumaa Museums http://muuseum.hiiumaa.ee/WP/english/
Visit Hiiumaa http://www.hiiumaa.ee/index.php?keel=2&redir=1
Official website: https://amb.lt/lt
Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Public Library is the center of methodology, bibliography and regional studies for 5 public libraries of Alytus Municipality and 8 public libraries of Vilnius Municipality. The library provides informational and cultural services for the inhabitants of Vilnius and Vilnius region. The library was founded in 1950’s and is very popular amongst the people of Vilnius and the temporary residents of the city. Every year around 200,000 visitors come to the library.
The library prepares the programs for the development of culture in the region of Vilnius, provides methodical support to the libraries of Vilnius and Alytus municipalities. The most important mission of the library’s work in regional studies is to provide comprehensive information about the regions – its locations and the people related to them. For this goal, gathering of various forms of resources related to the region, their preservation, searching for published materials, their description and dissemination, is of utmost importance to the library. The Library provides information about regional studies, gathers a versatile foundation of documents related to it and to the regions of Vilnius and Alytus in Lithuanian and in the languages of local minorities. Also it organizes exhibitions on regional studies, publishes regional study-related publications; bibliographies; organizes cultural events, quizzes and contests on the topics of regional studies ad even prepares educational programs based on regional studies.
The staff of regional libraries, under the supervision of the Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Public Library, prepare full-text regional study databases following a unified methodology.
In 1955, upon the 100th anniversary of the death of a well-known Lithuanian and Polish poet of the romantic epoch Adomas Mickevičius, his name was given to the library. Since then the library’s activities are interconnected with the personality of this poet, the remembrance of his creations and life – its commemoration and dissemination. In the collection of Mickevičius there are over 1000 publications in Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, French and German. The bigger part of the publications are the poet’s creative works. The foundation also gathers literature about A. Mickecičius: memoirs, biographies, critical literature on his works. The Library also gathers a collection of art pieces related to A. Mickevičius.
Cultural Heritage in Lithuania
Cultural heritage of Lithuania is a set of cultural values collected over the generations, important to us from an ethnic, esthetical and scientific points of view. The main mission of the Lithuanian Republic is to preserve the nations’ cultural heritage and to transfer it to future generations as a guarantee of the survival of the nation, an integral part of the landscape and a tool for the formation of Lithuanian image. Thus, conditions would be set for the society to get acquainted and start using their cultural heritage. Properly protected and fostered cultural heritage contributes to the betterment of the country, the expansion of its cultural and educational tourism.
The national policies of cultural heritage protection are formed by Seimas, the Government, the ministry of Culture and the municipalities.
The biggest part of immovable heritage protected by the Lithuanian government is comprised of archeological, urban and architectural objects. A unique and exceptional phenomena in Lithuania and the European cultural sphere – the cultural heritage of wooden manors and ethnographic villages of the country.
Another exceptional Lithuanian quality was national and religious tolerance – next to Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Unit religious communities the Tartar and Karait national communities formed and up until the Second World War very numerous Jewish communities prospered. The numerity of the afford mentioned religious minorities is marked by the amount of sacred objects of cultural heritage – their houses of prayer: Orthodox churches, incredible and rare wooden Jewish synagogues, Tartar mosques, churches of evangelist Lutherans and the reformed, the Karait kenesa in Trakai.
In 1991, October 7th, upon Lithuania’s entry into the United Nation’s organization for education, science and culture (UNESCO), these objects of Lithuanian cultural and natural heritage were added to the list of exceptionally and universally valuable: the historical city center of Vilnius (the biggest Old Town in Central and East Europe); The Curonian Spit; archeological site of Kernavė, acknowledge to be an exceptional cultural landscape, echoing the early middle ages; the geodesic arc of Struvė – a testament to international advances of science.
The UNESCO representative list of humanities cultural heritage was enriched by three Lithuanian values: a spiritual phenomenon – the art of Cross making and the symbolism of Lithuanian crosses; the Dance and Song festival tradition in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and what is considered a European musical phenomenon – the polyphonic songs of Lithuania “Sutartinės”.
The written cultural heritage of Lithuania in the libraries
The public libraries of Lithuania gather, safeguard and disseminate the written cultural heritage of the country. It is made up of the printed literature and its manuscripts, audio, video, digital documents about the region (a location, village, city, district), that represent the region’s history, nature, material culture, heritage, industry, economy, the lives and works of famous inhabitants. Also, the library provides the users with information on regional research documents that it does not have in its archives.
For the dissemination of regional research information, databases and online regional encyclopedias are being created and improved by using modern informational technologies. Their main subject is the accessibility of digital documents and documents held in traditional medias remotely. In addition to that, online vaults of digital regional research information are created in the libraries that can be used by the members of the community, who care about the fostering of their identity, the protection and dissemination of the heritage of their region and from all around the world. They can upload stories, memories, visual materials (texts, videos, audio recordings).
Lithuanian Ministry of Culture: https://lrkm.lrv.lt/lt/.
Department of Cultural Heritage Under the Ministry of Culture: http://www.kpd.lt/.
Center of Cultural Heritage: http://www.kpc.lt/.
Registry of Cultural Heritage: https://kvr.kpd.lt/#/. This database is a legally binding list of movable and immovable cultural heritage objects. According to the data of 2019, over 25000 single and group immovable cultural heritage objects and their parts, in addition to over 7000 movable cultural heritage objects were added to the Registry.
E-heritage: https://www.epaveldas.lt/home. E-heritage – a library of digital bank of cultural heritage from archives and museums, which holds valuable historical books, newspapers, art pieces, manuscripts, church metrics, audio recordings and pieces from the collection of Lithuanian literary classics.
Databases of regional research:
Gates of Vilnija: http://www.vilnijosvartai.lt/.
The website Gates of Vilnija is dedicated to the dissemination of the regional research information put out by the libraries of Vilnius district online. Its purpose is to reveal to the society and to distant readers (i.e. Lithuanians abroad, students, anyone else interested in Vilnius region) concentrated, highly valuable, systemized, selected information, supported by bibliographical lists on the district of Vilnius, its dramatic stories, rich material and spiritual culture, distinctive traditions.
The database is comprised of three parts: Locations, Personalities, Works of regional research.
In the section of Locations information and reviews on literature and resources concerning the district of Vilnius and the territories belonging to it are provided.
The section of Personalities talks about the famous local people, rewarded with various nominations. Also, about famous locals whose memory is immortalized in locations around the district of Vilnius. Lastly, people in whose name memorial museums are established, monuments or memorial plaques are set up, are also described in this section.
The last section of Works of regional research provides the lists of works written by regional researchers of Vilnius district alongside other more valuable writings (in the forms of manuscripts or published in small numbers) in digital form.
Region of Dainava: http://www.dainavoskrastas.lt/.
The website Region of Dainava is dedicated to the dissemination of the regional research information put online by the libraries of Alytus district.
In the section of Locations information and reviews on literature and resources concerning the district of Alytus and territories belonging to it are provided. The section of Personalities talks about the famous local people, rewarded with various nominations. Also, about famous locals whose memory is immortalized in locations around the district of Alytus. Lastly, people in whose name memorial museums are established, monuments or memorial plaques are set up, are also described in this section.
The map of cultural heritage of Elektrėnai municipality: https://paveldas.elektrenai.mvb.lt/.
The map of cultural heritage of Elektrėnai municipality and an educational game were created to teach and promote the cultural heritage of Elektrėnai region. The map provides information about the objects of cultural heritage in the municipality of Elektrėnai. By using it one can learn about the archeological, architectural, historical, memorial, mythological, sacred and urban heritage and greenery.
The result of the partnership between the partner libraries is 3 intellectual products: the website bendruomeniukrastotyra.lt (coordinator Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Library, Lithuania), a study and the guidelines on the topic of working with cultural heritage in public libraries. Different partner libraries were responsible for the development of different intellectual products, but all libraries that are participating in the project, have contributed to the creation of the project’s results.
One of the intellectual products of the project is the joint study “Libraries for Communities”, which was developed by the project partners (coordinator Vaggeryd Public Library, Sweden). The study aims to reveal why cultural heritage is important in adult education and how it can help to mobilize a local community. The topics discussed in the study include: the role of cultural heritage in a community’s life, libraries’ collaboration with other organizations and ways of communicating about local history. The second part of the study is rich with practical examples of work in the field of cultural heritage and adult education (developing games, virtual reality products, databases, etc.). The study is complimented by the experiences of the project partner libraries. It includes presentations, initiatives, events and services for different target groups within a community. Download the study here: “Libraries for Communities”.
Another intellectual product of the project is the joint guidelines “8 Steps to Unfold Followship and Community Engagement in Cultural Heritage” (coordinator Herning Library, Denmark). The methodology of the guidelines is primarily intended for professionals working in the field of cultural heritage and adult education, but it can also serve anyone who works with community involvement. The 8-step program will help you to discover, share and learn, along with your library’s community, the basic principles of professional development and activity planning, when working with cultural heritage, volunteers and adult audiences. Download the guidelines here: “8 Steps to Unfold Followship and Onboarding for Community Engagement in Cultural Heritage“.
This website is a tool for engaging adults in lifelong learning activities via sharing their cultural heritage. On this website you will be able to find information about how libraries from Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia and Estonia use cultural heritage in the field of adult education.
Moreover, this website consists of useful examples (see the Stories) and guidelines (see Project Results and Outputs above) of sharing information about cultural heritage and involving communities in different lifelong learning activities, which can serve as methodology for developing new learning and training programs in public libraries.
The site was created as part of the international project „Cultural Heritage for the Future: Discover, Share and Learn“, following the practice of the project partner libraries: the log of the local history online by Herning Library in Denmark on herninghistorie.dk and the digital collection of cultural heritage by Kranj Public Library in Slovenia on kamra.si.