The First Lady of Lithuania, Diana Nausėdienė, and the First Lady of Poland, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, visited the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania on the 27th of June. The guests were briefed on how Lithuanian libraries are adapted for people with different needs and were introduced to the National Library’s good practice in addressing the issues of accessibility especially in terms of infrastructure and information. The Polish First Lady, A. Kornhauser-Duda, was presented with the early reading promotion project “Book Start”, under the patronage of Mrs. D. Nausėdienė. The Director General of the National Library, Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, showed the guests the new service space for the blind and partially sighted, talked about the non-traditional services of the National Library, the activities of the TV studio, and the achievements of the media and creative workshops “PATS SAU”.
It was stressed during the meeting that Lithuanian libraries have successfully implemented several important projects in recent years, which have helped them to adapt these facilities for people with different needs. The issue of adapting the network of the country’s public libraries for people with autism spectrum disorders was discussed. The centralisation in the libraries of special information literacy training for a senior audience was welcomed, as it has been found that a lack of information literacy skills results in older people being excluded from some activities. It was noted that the Lithuanian public libraries stand out from other national public institutions in the number and scale of such solutions, and that some of these projects have been initiated and implemented by the National Library. One of them is the special package of services and modern equipment for the blind and partially sighted, which is currently provided to public libraries in all Lithuanian counties.
A. Kornhauser-Duda and D. Nausėdienė visited the book exhibition at the Children and Youths’ Literature Department of the National Library and participated in an event from the project “Book Start”. The main goal of this project to promote early reading is to raise the first generation of children in Lithuania whose reading experience starts from their earliest days, to promote reading in the family, and to help young parents to understand the importance of early reading as well as to provide them with the necessary tools and knowledge. During the exclusive presentation, the First Ladies of Poland and Lithuania interacted with the little library visitors, read the book “Kapt kapt kapt”, which was specially created for the project, to them in Lithuanian and Polish, and rewarded the children with gift bags from the “Book Start” programme.
The First Ladies said that the goal of raising a generation of children who read from their earliest days is very important, while at the same time they encouraged helping the children to choose books that are relevant and interesting to them, so that reading becomes not only a duty but also a pleasure. Mrs. A. Kornhauser-Duda noted that such services provided by the workshop “Pats sau”, as well as other non-traditional services of the National Library of Lithuania, can help to attract even more people to libraries.
The purpose of the visit of the First Lady of Poland to Lithuania is to attend the international conference “Accessibility of Information for People with Disabilities”, taking place on the 28th of June in the Column Hall of the Presidential Palace. The conference is aimed at Lithuanian and Polish public sector professionals in the social, education, health, culture, employment, law, and other areas, responsible for the services, public administration, development, and provision of information to people with disabilities, as well as for representatives of the private sector offering products and services to people with disabilities. The conference is under the patronage of the First Lady of Lithuania, Diana Nausėdienė, and the First Lady of Poland, Agata Kornhauser-Duda.