Thursday, 15 October 2015

Getting Book Smart In Raseiniai, Lithuania

We got a chance to visit one of Lithuania's tiny towns, Raseiniai. How small? About 13,000 people live there. If you're atlas peeping, it's west of Kaunas, in a cultural area known as Samogitia. Raseiniai is a charming place, little town square, central church, the usual trappings of a small Lithuanian village.

Its most famous site is a statue in the central square.

He represents the Samogitian every-man, stepping forward after taming the bear beside him. The guy can handle anything, even in woven leather shoes.

The defeated bear. "Mercy!" The sculpture base features nice friezes that depict various triumphs over Tsarist oppression.

In the town, historic architecture is also present, from an Art Deco post office to communist-era International Style office buildings and apartments.

We didn't just visit for the scenery, some real diplomacy was distributed. Sarah was invited to open a Little Free Library, organized by a local chapter of the Lithuanian Liberal Youth organization.

The "take a book, leave a book" in something that resembles a birdhouse for books concept was started in Wisconsin in 2009. Little Free Libraries now number more than 30,000 worldwide, including several in Lithuania. The Raseiniu Liberalus Jaunimas thought it would be cool if someone from the U.S. Embassy helped inaugurate theirs. Sarah was happy to oblige and take along a couple of books.

Diplomat, talking up books.

The little library, open for bookness. The American gift.


  1. ahh! A little library! Super cool, I'm glad you got to be part of that :)

  2. Awesome Sarah! I am inspired!! A couple of parents at Sam's school want to create one for the neighborhood:-)

  3. We have several Little Libraries here in Kaunas. One is outside my office at VDU and there's even one in a local Coffee Inn!