President of the Republic of Lithuania

Modern libraries for public advancement

2010-04-20

Tuesday, April 20, Vilnius - President Dalia Grybauskaitė received Deborah J. Jacobs, Director of Global Libraries for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janet Sawaya, Program Officer for the foundation's Global Libraries initiative, to discuss the Libraries for Progress project carried out in Lithuania, its results and perspectives.

The President thanked the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for giving effective assistance to Lithuania in the implementation of the Libraries for Progress project which provides for the installation of free Internet access in public libraries, improves the information competency of librarians, and offers guidance and training to local residents. This year, the number of people using free Internet access in libraries has increased threefold.

The President pointed out that Libraries for Progress is a project that best demonstrates how the government, municipalities and private funds can be brought together for a common goal.

"This project has made it possible to define a modern library not only as a cultural center open to all, but also as the driving force of public progress. The development of free Internet access in Lithuanian libraries is a major step towards uniting people, turning public libraries into comfortable and attractive community centers, making every-day life more interesting and easier, and opening the door to the world of shared information and on-line communication," the President said.

Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that after the Libraries for Progress project is completed, EU funds should be used for sustaining and upgrading the material basis created, continued computer training, and the development of such training content.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed a trilateral agreement on 15 November 2007 to implement the Libraries for Progress project. This project has the objective of improving public library capacities to make information technologies available to the people of Lithuania, thus improving public access to information and communication.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2010.04.20 11:20

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