In March 2022, a new location emerged on the cultural map of Kaunas – KTU opened a new multifulctional Campus Library, which will be available to the public. A contemporary study place is located in the Kaunas University of Technology campus, next to the main building of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
All over the world, libraries become social hubs that are increasingly important for fostering the creativity of society. The full capacity of 2.4 square meters of the new KTU Campus Library is dedicated to this purpose – aiming to provide contemporary, multifunctional study, learning and communication space not only to the academic community but also to the citizens of Kaunas. Rather symbolically, the KTU Campus Library was opened in 2022, in the Year of Lithuanian Universities.
The Lithuanian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jurgita Šiugždinienė, who participated in the opening ceremony, is convinced that libraries are essential to the community.
“In our society, libraries have a significant mission – as centres of science and knowledge, they provide access to reliable, objective sources of information,” said Šiugždinienė, stressing that the need for such information is imminent today.
She believes that the new KTU Campus Library will provide the academic community – students, lecturers and researchers – with new opportunities to research, analyse various phenomena. This will help develop critical thinking, which is extremely important for an open and educated modern contemporary person.
The new attraction of KTU student campus
While opening the new KTU Campus Library, thanking all those who contributed to this multifunctional centre project, KTU Rector Eugenijus Valatka described the library as a meeting place for the events and exhibitions that are important for the entire academic community and Kaunas city.
“Young people come to the university with various new ideas. The changing study methods and concepts inevitably change the purpose of a library – it becomes a meeting place,” said the Rector in his speech.
The KTU Campus Library offers visitors four spaces dedicated to different purposes – individual, silent learning, amphitheatre, rooms dedicated for group work. These facilities will be equipped with a kitchen, rooms for staff, and a space sitting more than 70 individual students. The amphitheatre is intended to be used for both events and student presentations. Between the events, the room will be suitable for student gatherings and leisure.
“By adapting to the internal layout of the building and preserving the legacy of the external cultural heritage, the requirements for the library premises have been met, at the same time fulfilling the need for versatility,” emphasised Gražvydas Visockas, Head of the Infrastructure Development Department at KTU.
The new KTU Campus Library, which premises previously housed the unused technical facilities, has 11 group work areas, which, depending on the size of the group, can be transformed into larger or smaller spaces, thus optimising the use of premises and adapting to the needs of students and staff. In the renovated area, visitors will have access to a newly built car park and outdoor leisure areas.
Visockas states that the new KTU Campus Library, similarly to the majority of the KTU buildings, is also adapted for people with disabilities.
Although the construction of the KTU Campus Library lasted for a year, the preparations started at the end of 2018. Many professionals contributed to the project.
“The project is unique by the number of architects who worked on it,” said Visockas.
The author of the project idea was Martynas Marozas Architecture and Planning Studio. The construction works were performed by the Virmalda construction company, and the team of Eksploit engineering and architecture company won the public tender for the preparation of the technical design. Finally, using innovative interior solutions, architect Agnė Kriaučiūnaitė of KAI design and architecture studio and her team created an attractive, inspiring learning and leisure space.
The new KTU library is an open global platform
According to Gintarė Tautkevičienė, the Director of the KTU library, the need for a new library in the university campus has been discussed for some time. Not only the library staff and the entire academic community but also the residents of the city are constantly looking for new spaces available for all the community.
“Over the past few decades, libraries and their role in society have changed – they are becoming open, communicating, and providing the support and resources the visitors need. A library is not just a book or an electronic resource, it is also a modern and convenient reading room. Ultimately, the library is its visitors who visit it to gain knowledge or share it with others,” says Tautkevičienė.
She emphasises that the task of the library staff is to help visitors get the resources they need and to create an environment that facilitates, promotes and enables learning and knowledge exchange processes.
While deciding the vision for the future of the new reading room, global trends have been considered. According to Tautkevičienė, the academic library is perceived as an open platform, where the ongoing changes must be based on constant communication and cooperation with the communities that the library serves.
Opening hours will depend on visitors
According to Visockas, KTU has been considering opening up a study place that would be suitable for work 24/7 as the students like to choose study time that is convenient for them.
KTU Library Director G. Tautkevičienė states that “the library is open and flexible, listening to visitors and their needs”.
Depending on the needs of the visitors, the working hours of the KTU Campus Library will be determined over time: during the summer months the library will work shorter, and during the more intensive study period, especially at the end of the semester or when the final projects are completed, the library will be open 24/7.
Tautkevičienė emphasises that everyone who visits the KTU Campus Library can use the resources and the reading room, search for information, seek help from employees, consult, participate in training or leisure events taking place in the library. Individuals will be able to do this by presenting a student or employee ID card or any other document that identifies them.
Open not only to the academic community
The new KTU Campus Library will be accessible not only to the academic community but also to all Lithuanian residents or foreign guests.
According to Tautkevičienė, KTU Campus Library accepts and serves all visitors who want to use information resources, reading rooms, individual and group workplaces, computers or spend their free time in comfortably equipped spaces with a book or interacting with others.
“We are looking forward to welcoming secondary and high school students, for whom we have prepared distance learning courses and several classes on how to search for and use information resources, to quote sources properly and ethically in written works. Employees of business enterprises whose activities are related to the need for the latest information, standards and research results are also welcome in the KTU Campus Library,” says Tautkevičienė.
The new KTU Campus Library is located at Studentų Str. 48, next to the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture.