This library was founded in 1919 and is the main public research library in Lithuania. The library’s collection comprises 7 million items and 2 million titles, which are held in several sections and departments.
The National Printing Archive (Nacionalis publikuotų dokumentų archyvinio fondo skyrius) comprises books, maps, art publications and serials published in Lithuania since the 16th century.
The Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts (Retų knygų ir rankraščių skyrius) holds more than 70 000 documents. The Old and Rare European Printed Collection consists of more than 30 000 items, including 15th-18th century books, periodicals, official papers, cartographic material, music publications, etc., many of which derive from the libraries of Lithuanian historical, secular and church institutions, and private individuals. Autographs, historical acts, photographs, and other documents (spanning the 15th century to the present) make up 200 separate collections.
The Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts holds an important Collection of Parchments containing 149 sets of manuscript material. Available online, the collection includes historical documents of Lithuania, Italy, France, and the Papal privileges, images of which may be accompanied by transcriptions, translations, and short descriptions. These are generally given in Lithuanian and English, but also occasionally in French, Italian, Polish or Russian. The chronological range of this collection spans the 14th to the 19th centuries.
The Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (Lietuvos Mokslų akademijos biblioteka)
This library was established in 1941 together with the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. The oldest manuscripts in the collection date from the end of the 12th century, while the oldest books date from the 16th century.
The Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences is home to the Parchments’ Digital Images Archive. Sponsored by UNESCO in 2003, the digital archive contains 123 images of parchment documents (manuscripts) dating from 1178 to 1500. Short descriptions of the items are given in Lithuanian and English.
Vilnius University Library (Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka)
The University Library holds more than 5 millions items.
The Rare Book Department (Retų spaudinių skyrius) consists of around 180 000 items which span the 15th to the 21st centuries. The Department holds the largest collection of old books in Lithuania, including the country’s largest collection of incunabula and post-incunabula. The Department is also home to the world’s biggest collection of old Lithuanian books, including, for example, the first Lithuanian book, books dating from the 16th to the 18th century, and old atlases and maps (dating from 15th century).
The Manuscript Department (Rankraščių skyrius) holds more than 265 000 archival documents that range in date from the beginning of the 13th century to the present.
The Digital Library ePaveldas
This library holds documents that date from the 15th century. Almost the entire collection, which consists of documents from the period of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, derives from the archives of the Lithuanian Synod of Evangelical Reformers (15th-18th centuries). The library also holds documents and books from the 16th century.