In 1937 the State Public Library was founded in Joniškis. It was an important event in the history and culture of Joniškis town. Valentina Ivanovaite became the first librarian. The Library was established in the building No. 15A A. Smetonos street (current Livonijos street). At the beginning the Library‘s collection was formed of 600 books placed in two rooms.
In 1940 Public Library was moved into the other premises near the centre of town. During the Second World War the Library was closed for a long time. A lot of books have been lost. And just a few new books have been newly received. After the War the situation of Library was really complicated: there were no premises, furniture, skilled employees. But on the other hand the foundation of libraries and reading rooms began in the villages and rural areas.
In 1951 the Public Library became The District Library and methodical centre to all libraries in the district. In 1956 the first librarian holding the higher education in the field – Janina Irena Bernotaite-Rudokiene has arrived and started to supervise our Library. The new head started to look for new premises, furniture and improve service for readers.
Until 1960 the Library was moving in to the other premises for 6 times.
In 1976 all the libraries in the district were connected in to centralized system. Joniškis District Library became the District Central Library with 40 branches in the villages and 1 in Žagare town.
In July 1st 1996 the name of the Library changed. Since that date it is named as Joniškis District Public library. The premises of the Library have been expanded and renovated. In 1996 the new reading room was set up. In 1998 Department of Children’s Literature was moved in to the new premises.
In 2001 the Public Library received Matas Slančiauskas Award for the ethnological activities. The library’s specialists are involved in regional and national projects and programmes, organizing various literary, ethnological events and exhibitions.
Starting from 2001 new technologies in the Library started to be installed. Furthermore since 2001 Joniškis Public Library participates in LIBIS (Lithuanian Integrated Library Information System). The computer catalogue was made. The records and descriptions of articles of regional periodical publications are presented to the LIBIS Unified catalogue.
In 2004 the Public library was named by Jonas Avyžius, name of one of the most famous Lithuanian writers, who was born near Joniškis. The Library takes care about writer’s remembrance onward. Library has the Jonas Avyžius memorial exhibition.
The nowadays Public Library consists of 5 departments and 18 branches. The branch of Žagare town and 16 branches in the villages are computerized.