National Library of the Czech Republic


August 13, 2022

National Library of the Czech Republic (part Národní knihovna České republiky) - the national library of the Czech Republic based in Prague. The library is located in the Clementinum building. One of the oldest libraries in the Czech Republic with over 6.5 million volumes.


The beginnings of the library collection date back to the 14th century, when, after the establishment of the university in Prague, in 1366 Czech King Charles I gave the school medieval codes. From 1622, the university was run by the Jesuits, who moved the university with its library collections to the Clementinum building built in 1556. At the end of the 18th century, the University's collections received the title of Royal-Imperial Public and University Library (part of the Imperial-Royal Veřejná a univerzitní knihovna) by Empress Maria Theresa. The library had the right to a compulsory copy from 1782. Initially only from the area of ​​Prague, in 1807 it was extended to prints from all over Bohemia, and in 1935 from the area of ​​Czechoslovakia. In 1918, the library's collections were placed under state supervision of the newly established Czechoslovakia. In 1924, a Slavic library was established, which from 1929 is also located in the Clementium building. In 1935, the library was renamed the National and University Library, and the obligation for publishers to always provide one copy of the published work to the library's collection was introduced. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Third Reich, the library was renamed the City and University Library (part Zemská a univerzitní knihovna). In 1958, the library was merged with the collections of other Prague libraries into the National Library of Czechoslovakia. In 1990, the library received its present name. In 2005, the National Library of the Czech Republic received the Jikji Prize for institutions and individuals that best implement the goals of the UNESCO Memory of the World project.


The library has a collection of medieval codices donated by the Czech King Charles I to the University of Prague in 1366. The manuscript collections include Visegrad code from the end of the 11th century, martyrdom of Kunegunda - abbess of the monastery of St. George at the Prague Castle (1312), Velislai biblia picta from the first half of the 14th century. The library collects documents related to Comenius (Comeniana) and Mozart (Mozartiana) as well as private library collections of Bernard Bolzan and Franciszek Šalda. The library also has the largest collections of materials for Slavic studies in history, philosophy, linguistics, literature, ethnology, political relations, sociology and art in Central and Eastern Europe.

Slavic Library

In 1924, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the Russian Library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1927, after the collection was expanded to include publications in other languages, the name was changed to the Slavic Library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Philological and historical collections were collected. However, medical and technical prints were not collected. In 1929 it was moved to Clementinum - the seat of the National Library. However, until 1938 the library was still subordinate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the war, collections of Soviet literature were purchased, often in areas unrelated to the current profile of the collection. After 1956, the previous policy of collecting the collections was reverted. In 1958, the library became one of the departments of the National Library.


External Links

Národní knihovna České republiky, Národní knihovna České republiky [accessed on December 1, 2013] (part • English).