Utena town is an administrative centre of Utena district and county. There are 47611 inhabitants in the district and 32476 in the town. Utena is a centre of region’s industry where food products, drinks and textile manufacture are dominant.
Inhabitants can use all the services in the libraries – there is a public library that has 2 branches in town and 20 in village. All the libraries are provided with computers and supports public access to the internet.
Utena library fulfils cultural, information and educational functions. The modernization of the services has been started in 1994 while participating in the projects sponsored by Open Society Fund Lithuania and Open Society Institute. The library was one of the first libraries in Lithuania that introduced a centre of public internet access and started computer literacy courses for citizens. In the year 2002 library was acknowledged as a model library for Eastern and Middle Europe countries for it‘s active work in a purpose to become a modern society‘s information centre.
The new building of the library was opened in 2008. The idea was to destroy existing stereotypes of a conservative library and to build an open, light and transparent library, to create the sense of freedom. The total area of the library is 3120 m2. People may move freely through all premises, library’s collections are open, it is a place designed for leisure, studies and cultural/educational events. The number of visitors is growing. They are attracted by comfortable atmosphere, modern technologies and free services. It is not required to have a library card when entering a library, it is necessary only when taking books home. Library‘s visitors can read, use the internet, databases, wireless network and a collection of video and audio recordings. There is a training lab where computer literacy and internet courses are being organized for general public.
The important sphere of activities is the creation of the internet content. Library has 5 web pages that have 151,307 virtual visitors per year. The library was first among Lithuanian libraries that implemented innovative internet projects: Utena land portal (www.utena-on.lt), digital encyclopedia of Utena land (www.utena-on.lt/Utenos_enciklopedija/), social network website for the local artists (www.kurybineaukstaitija.lt).