Klaipėda County Public leva Simonaitytė Library (KCPISL) was founded in 1950. Through 68 years of library lifetime, not only the name of the library has changed, but also, the line of activity was expanded in regard to the changes of conditions. Moreover, over the 68 years, the historical and social contexts have changed too. Since its establishment, the library is the centre of coordination and methodological management of the activity of public libraries of Klaipėda area. Today, the library provides methodological, informational and organisational support to 11 centralised library systems acting in Klaipėda and Tauragė counties (201 libraries): 11 public libraries in the centres of municipalities, 23 city subsidiaries, 167 rural subsidiaries.
Each year, the library has about 14-16 thousand registered users and 28 percent of them are from other cities and regions around the district. The library is daily visited by more than 1000 readers, who borrow at an average of 1,771 documents. Also, every year library of I. Simonaitytė organises over 400 various events, openings of 200 exhibitions and more than 100 educational activities. The library has five reading rooms, open book funds for adults and children, rooms for relaxation, aesthetic space designed especially for various visual and oral events, and two cozy yards. The library has events and conference rooms and Gerlach’s Attic, where there is a permanent exhibition of the Sea Heritage. It should also be noted that the library premises of the former wheel house is rented to a cafe and bookstore. In 2017, the Educational space was opened for everyone who seeks to improve, develop, co-operate and learn. It has a modern computerised training classroom with 16 places, sound record studio and an entrepreneurial space. Here people have an opportunity to participate in free workshops of paper production and computer literacy trainings. The KCPISL also has the International Center of Translators and Writers in Nida, which is the only institution of that purpose in Lithuania. This center provides favorable conditions for writers and translators from Lithuania and abroad to live and create.
The library has always aimed being the keeper of national culture, satisfying the informational needs of the district, guaranteeing the right to information, freedom of expression, trying to make the possibilityforeveryoneto use the information resources of the library. Therefore I. Simonaitytė library has collected not only an extensive fund of publications, but also valuable ethnographic, manuscript documents. The library forms and keeps relevant document funds, important to the culture of the district, and aims all this to be available to as wide group of society as possible.
In 2011 the library signed the contract for the transfer of the AdM archive to Klaipėda. For the first time, the wealth of old Klaipėda residents cultural collections that were accumulated over the past six decades while they lived in Germany was introduced to the community of port city Klaipėda and was given to the homeland. This archive is comprised of more than two thousand rare books about old Klaipėda, 150 original paintings and copies, the works of famous painters, also, glass negatives with the panorama of Memel, old Prussian maps, the Bible, translated by Liudvikas Rėza and published in 1816 with his own preface and original paintings by G. Boese, M. Pechstein, H. Kallmeyer. New products of the library are created during the implementation of the projects. One of the products of KCPISL, which encourages getting in touch with the cultural heritage of Klaipėda, is the interactive Guide of the heritage of the district formed in 2014 as a mean dissemination of Klaipėda digitalised cultural heritage. The guide provides all information in four languages: Lithuanian, English, Russian and German. It announces not only concentrated information, but also photographs, video material, recollections and routes which can be used for travelling. In 2016, mobile application "Klaipėda Heritage Guide" was created (it can be downloaded from Google play). The application is intended for the user who wants to see the objects of cultural heritage while travelling in a convenient way. The content of the guide of the land's heritage is created and filled by KCPISL and 11 partners of this project. This guide is supplemented with e-product as well - educational game "Greenfoot" ("Žaliapėdis") for 3-10-year-old children. While playing this game, children perform funny, useful tasks and learn about Klaipėda city in an innovative way.
In 2016 the first literary table game in Lithuania "Knygosūkis" was created to encourage reading by youth. Even though, the game is dedicated to the youth, it could be played by all those who are interested in literature as well. A Lot of professional Lithuanian writers and artists such as Andrius Mamontovas, Aistė Smilgevičiūtė, Sigutė Ach, Nijolė Narmontaitė, Justinas Žilinskas, Vytautas Juozapaitis, Juozas Šikšnelis, etc. attributed to the creation of the game. While playing the literary table game "Knygosūkis", the youth gain literary knowledge, widen their horizon and after playing are more able to use critical thinking in selection of materials to read. During the project the exhibition about the authors of "Knygosūkis” was organised. Also, the meetings with one of the game authors and some presentations of "Knygosūkis" as well as game afternoons in various regional libraries and schools were arranged. With the educational game "Knygosūkis" library has visited more than 30 cities and towns.
The project "Education cycle: (in)visible becomes touchable" was implemented in 2018. The target audience of this project is 14-16-year-old students and visually impaired people. During the educational activities, students improve their creativity skills, expand their knowledge of technology and gain new competences in the areas of 3D modelling, scanning and programming. Later, the gained theoretical knowledge is applied practically by scanning the old photographs of Klaipėda where most famous cultural objects are shown, which are programmed and produced with 3D technologies. Produced 3D models are used in the project’s educational, cognitive excursions which are visited by the students and visually impaired people.
"Travelling library" is the project which encourages reading in untraditional areas. In spring and summer, outside reading-rooms are established in various places that people like to spend their leisure time, festivals and various events. In these outside reading-rooms you can find books, table games and participate in various contests. This project is very flexible and mobile. Therefore, it can be quickly settled in any place and provide services for the residents of Klaipėda district. "Travelling library" was active during the Karklė music festival. Also, in Smiltynė old ferry port boat, Melnragė beach, public garden of the Danė River, on the hill of John, Dienovidis public garden and Vilnius book fair. "Literary buffet" is one more project implemented by KCPISL. This educational event not only encourages reading and present classical literary works but also allows looking at the process of reading and to see the person, who reads from a different perspective. Famous Lithuanian people created the list of their read and recommended books by rendering it through the prism of food and they presented this list to the public. It's interesting that these recommendations were the guidance of what type of literature need to be read with what kind of food. Literary menu was created by the philosopher Leonidas Donskis, poets, essayists Rolandas Rastauskas and Kęstutis Navakas, as well as the singer, TV show presenter, Marijonas Mikutavičius. Literary menu was also created by two families of music creators: Aistė Smilgevičiūtė and Rokas Radzevičius as well as Jurga Šeduikytė and Vidas Bareikis.
Opening of the bench of the writer I. Simonaitytė in the areas of KCPISL.
The library, which is having the name of famous Lithuanian writer leva Simonaitytė, is often organizing various events, initiatives intended for commemorating this writer of Klaipėda district. Every year, in January, those authors, who make the district of Klaipėda famous with their literary works, are awarded with leva Simonaitytė literary prize. All 2017 was declared as years of leva Simonaitytė. That is why the library implemented the project "Literary berry" in which the laureates of her prize was introducing their creative work to the youth of Klaipėda district. During the year of leva Simonaitytė, creative workshops "Ėvikė readers’ theatre" were organised in which participants had an opportunity to read and interpret the writer's work, get in touch with the culture and history of Lithuania Minor (Mažoji Lietuva) as well as to develop communication, acting, and stage language skills. In the same year, the library took the initiative and created the internet site of leva Simonaitytė, where all the necessary information about this writer of Klaipėda district are held. In 2018, the bench was solemnly opened in the yard of the library with the meaningful words of the author "I shall never put the last full stop" and her autograph printed on the metal plate.
The library aims at becoming a modern institution in the context of the world thus it has been arranging international conferences for many years in which the reports are read by the representatives of various countries. In 2016, during the mentioning of the library year, the international conference was held in I. Simonaitytė library called "Dispersed libraries - dispersed heritage: many ways to get to know". The objective of the conference was to pay attention to the documentary heritage which is the part of world memory, manifest about historical, political, cultural, social processes, have influence on the development of the society during the establishment and destruction of the states, development of science, personal destinies. In 2018, the international conference “Library for the development of smart society" was held. The reports in this conference were read by Latvian, Slovenian, Polish and Latvian participants who shared the good experience of their libraries, innovations and exchanged academic information.
Klaipėda County Public leva Simonaitytė Library is modern and up-to-date, flexibly adapting to constantly changing world. Therefore everyone coming to the library can feel here comfortably and can find suitable activity.