Shared knowledge is a catalog of books smuggled into Vilnius University during the Iron curtain period. This collection was formed from 1968 to 2018 by Lithuanian-American who wanted to help these left under Soviet sovereignty and sent needed contemporary academic and nonacademic Western literature to his homeland. Sometimes you would be surprised with the choice—it could be Anarchism Today sent in the 1978 during Brezhnev’s cabinet, or a book on history of Xerox machine.
His notes in the books that started as a simple dedications to the library, gradually became his life story and personal diary scattered across countless pages. There are around 3000 books in the collection of Vilnius University and more than 1000 are spread across other public libraries in Lithuania. It was only in Perestroika period when the collection was removed from the prohibited books depository and was open to the public. This generous man kept the tradition alive and sent every year a box of 10 or 20 books and almost each with a personal note to the reader up until his recent death in February 2018. Books selected for this catalog are grouped according to a key word linked to Procuta’s life and knowledge map. The keyword comes from the name of the writer or a person from the book (B- Berenson, M- Milosz), a word taken from the title (R- Partisan Reader ) or a topic of a book ( M-Middle East). Between the pages there are text excerpts that relate to the network of people and places gathered in Procuta’s collection of books. These excerpts show the record of events that took place in different time but having a common memory. This book is a documentation of a year long work in the Vilnius University book depository which led to a special friendship that stretched across the ocean and time.