Conference Proceeding: Reconnecting the Past and Present at the Vilna/Vilnius Jewish Library

The Vilnius Jewish Public Library, the first Jewish library in Lithuania since World War II, opened in 2011 thanks to the initiative of Mr. Wyman Brent. His goal was to establish a cultural institution for Jews and Gentiles that would foster compassion, respect, and responsibility for all members of the community. By 2014, the Vilnius Jewish Public Library made significant improvements, especially in the areas of collection development, the management of public relations, and the unification of the local community. However, the library website and its social networks provided very little information about the history of Jewish libraries in Vilna. This paper will explore how to create a bridge between the past and the present for the Jewish Public Library through an exhibition of digitized primary source materials that tells the story of the community built around the Strashun and Ghetto libraries in Vilna. Allowing the primary sources to tell the story of the Vilna Jewish Library’s past makes the Vilnius Jewish Public Library community more versatile, diverse, and not limited by geographic borders.