Can modern students be genuinely interested and enthusiastic about reading books? The Šiauliai
County Povilas Višinskis Public Library confirms that the right incentives can greatly motivate
young people to read books and delve into valuable literature.

On May 31st, the spring-long Reading Tournament for students concluded at the library. During the
tournament, teams of 5th-6th and 7th-8th graders from Šiauliai and Telšiai county schools read
books selected by literature specialists and competed in three rounds by answering questions about
the books they had read.

The idea for the Reading Tournament came from the library’s observation of the highly popular U.S.
reading initiative “Battle of the Books,” which has been successfully running for over 20 years and
is broadcast on television. This format seemed like an excellent way to promote high-quality,
valuable literature from Lithuania and abroad, while also developing students’ critical thinking,
interpretation, public speaking, and teamwork skills. Tomas Pauliuščenka, an information specialist
at ŠAVB, noted that participants had to thoroughly understand the books: “Many say that modern
children, especially teenagers, accustomed to ‘processed’ information sources like the internet,
television, and social media, struggle with reading books, focusing, and understanding longer texts
and their subtexts. Through the tournament, we aimed to show that with the right encouragement,
children can be very enthusiastic about reading and interpreting books.”

According to the participating teams, their accompanying teachers, and librarians, success in the
tournament required not only careful reading but also mutual trust among team members. Each of
the five team members was responsible for reading part of the ten assigned books since it was too
challenging for everyone to read all the books. With all teams in the same age category receiving
the same book list, the competition was intense, demanding confidence in both oneself and one’s
The Reading Tournament consisted of three rounds. In the first round, 20 student teams
participated, each given a list of 10 books a month before the start of the round. To read all the
books in time, participants had to divide the reading among themselves. The book list, curated by
the Lithuanian section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), included
valuable and engaging works by Lithuanian and foreign authors. The questions and tasks for the
tournament were created by literary experts and writers, including well-known children’s authors
Justinas Žilinskas and Ilona Ežerinytė, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania.
From the 12 strongest teams that reached the finals, six were crowned champions (three from each
of the 5-6 and 7-8 grade categories) and were awarded valuable prizes worth 525 Euros (1st place),
315 Euros (2nd place), and 210 Euros (3rd place). The efforts of the 14 other participating teams
were also recognized with consolation prizes worth 100 Euros each.

In the 5-6 grade category, the best teams were

  1. „Moksliukai voveriukai“. Šiaulių rajono savivaldybės Vytauto Vitkausko viešoji biblioteka.
  2. „Rietavo knygų graužikai“. Rietavo savivaldybės Irenėjaus Oginskio biblioteka.
  3. „Pavasario knygiai“. Mažeikių Henriko Nagio viešoji biblioteka.
  4. „Zuboviečiai“. Šiaulių rajono Ginkūnų Sofijos ir Vladimiro Zubovų progimnazijos
  5. „Akmenėliai“. Akmenės rajono savivaldybės viešoji biblioteka.
  6.  „Knygomanai“. Šiaulių miesto savivaldybės viešoji biblioteka.
    In the 7-8 grade category, the best teams were:
  7. „Paskaitykim“. Rietavo savivaldybė Irenėjaus Oginskio biblioteka.
  8. „Sofos lyga“. Mažeikių Henriko Nagio viešoji biblioteka.
  9. „Knygų pelės“. Šeduvos gimnazijos biblioteka.
  10. „Atžalyno“ knyguoliai“. Telšių „Atžalyno“ progimnazijos biblioteka.
  11. „Išminties upeliukas“. Jaunųjų knygos bičiulių klubas „Išminties upeliukas“.
  12. „Knyginėtojai“. Šiaulių miesto savivaldybės viešoji biblioteka.

The Šiauliai County Povilas Višinskis Public Library congratulates the students on their significant
achievements. Project manager Justinas Linksmutis Samuolis emphasized: “Everyone emerged
victorious in this tournament: the participants, the libraries, and the schools. Over three months, 100
students read 60 valuable books. Therefore, we consider the project a success. We express special
thanks to the educational institutions of Šiauliai and Telšiai counties and local public libraries,
which eagerly joined the organization of the Reading Tournament by gathering student teams,
helping them prepare, and sincerely supporting their young participants during the rounds. We see
that in the future, this initiative could expand to the entire country.”
To meet societal expectations, libraries are actively seeking innovative and effective methods to
keep the culture of reading relevant and vibrant in the 21st century, a time when reading is
becoming rarer and books face competition from the fast-consumption technology industry. The
Reading Tournament organized by ŠAVB proved to be an excellent reading promotion tool,
sparking excitement for reading and a deep understanding of books through a game and competition
Reading Tournament Partners: Šiauliai and Telšiai County Public Libraries, the Association of
Lithuanian School Librarians.
Sponsors: Alma Littera, Vagos Prekyba, Terra Publica, VVARFF, Šiauliai Romuva Gymnasium,
Telšių Žinios, Kalvotoji Žemaitija, Etaplius, Šiauliai County Television.
The Reading Tournament is partially funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and the
Šiauliai City Municipality.

Text and photos by Šiauliai County Povilas Višinskis Public Library