9 April 2020

New Library Computers in Aid for Schoolchildren and Teachers During the Quarantine

The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania is seeking ways how to assist Lithuania‘s teachers and schoolchildren during the quarantine. Timely investments into the modernization of libraries during this complicated period allow helping those who are in need for computers.

“The Ministry of Culture and the National Library responded to the appeal of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport to supply schoolchildren involved in the learning process and their teachers with computers. During this complicated period, we are obliged to explore common ways and invoke all available measures in order to facilitate both the continuity of education and cultural awareness”, says the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas.

The Minister of Education, Science and Sport Dr. Algirdas Monkevičius emphasizes that cohesion and cooperation of institutions will allow more prompt supply of means for remote learning.

“These unusual circumstances make it necessary to secure efficient teaching. Every pupil is important – from a pre-school child only just beginning to be involved into the education process to graduates. Under the Ministry’s instruction, public procedures for purchasing have been initiated. In total, we shall supply local authorities with 35 thousand tablets and portable computers intended for children from socially sensitive families. Cohesion of public authorities, social partners, businesses and individuals will allow even more prompt supply of computers for even larger number of children. I am grateful to the Ministry of Culture and the National Library for participating in this process”, says Minister Algirdas Monkevičius.

The National Library is implementing the project “Promoting Citizens to Use the Internet Within the Updated Infrastructure of Public Internet Access”. One of the objectives of this project is to update the network of public internet access points at Lithuania’s municipal and county libraries. During the 2019/20 period, the National Library purchased about 3100 desktop computers (the project is financed from the Operational Programme for EU Structural Funds Investments for 2014–2020). To quote the Library‘s Director-General Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, some 2400 computers have already been supplied to libraries.

“In order to promptly respond to the situation, we are attempting to find ways how to provisionally use these computers at municipalities and the selected schools. We addressed the Central Project Management Agency and it willingly agreed to use the computers obtained under the project for public goals during this period that is complicated for all of us. The computers will be temporarily put at the disposal of municipalities under a custodianship agreement. At the end of the quarantine period, but not later than the end of the project implementation, they will have to be returned to libraries so that the project be successfully accomplished and its goals be achieved”, says Director-General Gudauskas.

Since the project for obtaining computers is financed from the EU funds, insurance must be guaranteed to computers during this temporary “custodianship” in consideration of the changed operating conditions. The National Library will promptly carry out all necessary additional public procurement procedures so that the computers used during the period of this initiative be properly insured. The Ministry of Culture has granted funding for supporting the insurance expenditures.

In near future, agreements will be signed with Lithuanian municipalities and schools will be supplied with about 3100 new desktop computers intended for the educational process.