On the 160th anniversary of Jānis Čakste, the Saeima started a new project entitled The Family Bookshelf. Every visitor of Auči, the family home of J.Čakste, is invited to enrich the museum library with books about the visitor’s own birthplace, region, country or family.
Contemporaries of J. Čakste, the Chairman of the People’s Council, the Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly, and the first President of the Republic of Latvia, tell stories about his family’s extensive library. The remarkable statesman was interested in historical literature, and his library featured books about the Baltic peoples in a variety of languages. Unfortunately, the family library has not survived.
On Friday, 13 September, the project was launched by Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, who, on behalf of the Latvian Parliament, presented to J.Čakste’s grand-granddaughter Kristīne Čakste a limited edition of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, along with a book by to Gunārs Kusiņš, Justice of the Constitutional Court, “An Overview of Parliamentarism in Latvia”. These are the first books to travel to Auči and take their rightful place on the Family Bookshelf.
The occasion at the Saeima was also marked by the launching ceremony of the new edition of J.Čakste’s book The Latvians and their Latvia: the Voice of a Latvian. The book was first published in Stockholm in 1917, and in it J.Čakste wrote, “The Latvian people want to protect their homeland Latvia, to achieve unlimited opportunities and freedom to decisively steer their national, cultural, and economic development in Latvia.”
In addition, an exhibition dedicated to J.Čakste was launched at the Saeima to highlight the public activity and political career of the renowned statesman. The exhibition displays books, historical materials, documents, objects and photographs from the Saeima, the Latvian State Historical Archives, the Latvian War Museum, the museum The House of Jānis Čakste and the Library of the University of Latvia.
The exhibition has been created in a collaboration between the Saeima, the museum The House of Jānis Čakste, Jānis Pleps, lecturer at the University of Latvia, and Guntis Zemītis, Director of the Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia.
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Saeima Press Service