On the 10th of May the American Space was opened at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania – the symbolic ribbon was cut by the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Robert S. Gilchrist together with the Vice-Minister of Culture Vygintas Gasparavičius and the Library’s Director General Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas.
The American Space was established by agreement between the National Library and the US Embassy in Lithuania. The purpose of this space is to introduce visitors to US literature, culture, economy and history, and to promote cultural cooperation between the two countries.
The American Space will offer the opportunity to read and borrow fiction and other genres by US authors in English, browse the eLibraryUSA databases, and use a computer and wireless internet. Some English-language content, such as films and periodicals, will be available in other reading rooms of the National Library. The plan is to build up the largest collection of books in English by American authors in Lithuania. The American Space can also be used as a space for individual work or study and for leisure time.
The National Library will organise free events and education related to the American Space. Throughout the month of May, film screenings and education for different age groups will be organised to celebrate the opening of the Space (film screening series American Film Classics).
There are currently nearly 630 American Spaces around the world, supported by the US government through institutional partnerships, operating under different models: American Centres, Reading Rooms and Bilateral Centres. These spaces promote US democracy and civil society to foreign audiences, and engage and support open international dialogue. In Lithuania, there are currently three American Spaces – in Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Visaginas.