National Library of the Czech Republic


November 28, 2021

The National Library of the Czech Republic (abbreviated as the National Library of the Czech Republic, NK ČR) is the largest library in the Czech Republic and at the same time one of the oldest Czech public libraries. It is a contributory organization of the Ministry of Culture and the central library of the library system in the Czech Republic. It is located in the historic building of the former Jesuit dormitory Klementinum in Prague's Old Town. It includes the Slavonic Library, which, however, enjoys an autonomous position in professional library matters. The National Library of the Czech Republic is a library with a universal library fund focused on the needs of university-type universities and research institutes in the field of social and natural sciences, culture and art. In particular, it collects Bohemian literature, which it keeps permanently in the conservation fund; has the right to a mandatory copy (2 copies) of all publications published in the Czech Republic. Its historical fund is also valuable on a European scale.


Carolingian and Clementine Libraries (until 1777)

The library has undergone a complex development in history. Because it was connected both with the Klementinum building and with the University of Prague (or universities), its origins date back to 1777, when the public university library was founded. Its predecessors were: Old Carolingian Library: soon after the founding of Charles University, probably in 1366, a library was established at Charles College, the basis of which was a gift from Charles IV. ; other colleges also had their own libraries, until 1622 Old Clementine Library: the library was founded by the Jesuits soon after their arrival in Clementine in 1556; served their Latin school here, later the Clementine College, which gained the status of university in 1616; at the time of the estate uprising of 1618–1620, when the Jesuits were expelled, the library was managed by the masters of Charles University The new Clementine Library: in 1622 Charles University came under the administration of the Jesuits and the dormitory libraries were moved to the Clementine; the library remained here as a university even after the abolition of the Jesuit order in 1773 The new Karolinum Library: in 1638, the Faculty of Law and Medicine were separated from the Jesuit College and the Karolinum was returned to them; they built their own library (public since 1726), which remained independent even after the reunification of the faculties at Charles-Ferdinand University in 1654; after the abolition of the Jesuit order, it was decided to transfer it to the Clementine

Public and University Library (1777–1918)

After the abolition of the Jesuit order, the university library, mainly thanks to Count František Josef Kinský, was declared a public university library by a decree of Maria Theresa of February 6, 1777. At the same time, it merged with libraries from the abolished Jesuit colleges and with the three libraries of the Counts of Kinský. In 1782, he demanded a compulsory copy from the Prague printers for the library, which was extended to the entire territory of Bohemia from 1807 by a decree of the governorate. In the years 1782–1787, the library acquired a large amount of literature from the monasteries, which was abolished in 1781 by Joseph II. The funds were further expanded thanks to donations and purchases of private collections, and exchanges of duplicate volumes with other libraries were also significant. Ungar also established the basic concept of the division of library collections and thus the functioning of the entire institution. Under his leadership, the creation of a ticket catalog began. In the years 1848–1861, the director was Pavel Josef Šafařík. In 1887, the name of the library was changed to the Public and University Library. After the division of Charles-Ferdinand University in 1882 on

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