National Library of the Czech Republic

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National Library of the Czech Republic
Clementinum library.jpg

Baroque hall in the Clementinum

founding 1777
Duration 7,275,680
Library type National Library
place Prague
operator Czech Republic
management Martin Kocanda
Eastern entrance
The general reading room

The National Library of the Czech Republic ( Czech Národní knihovna České republiky , NK ČR) in Prague is the central and leading library of the Czech Republic . It is subject to the Ministry of Culture. As the largest and one of the oldest Czech libraries, it has a collection of over seven million documents with an annual increase of around 88,000 titles. The library is housed in the Clementinum in Prague's Old Town and in the central warehouse in the Hostivař district.


In addition to some branch libraries of Prague University , the Studium generale school was established in the Dominican monastery in Prague's old town in the 13th century , and in the 14th century it merged with the university. In 1556 monks of the Jesuit order built a boarding school called Clementinum on the remains of the monastery. In 1622 Charles University came under the administration of the Jesuits and all libraries were housed in the Clementinum.

After the abolition of the Jesuit order , the university was declared a state institution in 1773 and its library was declared a “public kk university library ” by Maria Theresa in February 1777 , which was also manifested in the name of the library in 1887 ( ck Veřejná a univerzitní knihovna ). Even after the university was divided into a Czech and a German university in 1882, the library was retained as a joint facility for both universities.

After 1918 the library came under state control of the new Czechoslovakia . In 1924 the Slovanská knihovna (Slavic Library) was founded, which was also housed in the Clementinum in 1929 and is an autonomous part of the National Library to this day.

In 1935 the library was renamed Národní a univerzitní knihovna (National and University Library), at the same time the law on legal deposit was passed. After the Czech universities were closed after the occupation by the Wehrmacht in 1939 , the library under the name Zemská a univerzitní knihovna (State and University Library) remained in operation until 1941. In 1958, several libraries in Prague were merged into one large Státní knihovna ČSR (State Library of the ČSR). In 1990 it was finally given the current name Národní knihovna (National Library).

The library's holdings are recorded in the electronic catalog and can be viewed.

Problems with lack of space

After 1989 the library began to address the critical shortage of storage space. In 1996 the central depot in the Prague district of Hostivař was completed and put into operation. However, since its capacities are not unlimited, the construction of a new building was considered. On May 16, 2006, an international architectural competition was announced for the design of such a new national library building in the open space of Letná Park. The results of the competition were announced on March 3, 2007, from which the architect Jan Kaplický from the Future Systems architecture office emerged as the clear winner. According to this draft, the National Library was originally due to be completed in 2012. However, due to disputes about the fairness of the architectural competition, the planned building plot and the financing of the library, there were delays in implementation. In July 2008, the Czech Minister of Culture Václav Jehlička declared that the library would not be built.

The new library should have space for ten million books, and the books of the National Library that appeared after 1801 should be relocated there. Currently, the concept of the National Library is being further developed as part of the reconstruction of the clementinum and the capacity of the central depot in Hostivař, where another building has been added. The complete reconstruction of the clementinum will take place during operation and will enter the 3rd stage in 2019. However, the construction of the new building is still being examined.


  • Joseph Adolf Hanslick: History and Description of the Prague University Library. Rohliček, Prague 1851 (reprint. Scientia-Verlag, Aalen 1988, ISBN 3-511-00929-4 . Digitized version of the first edition from 1851 )
  • Národní Knihovna České Republiky: The National Library of the Czech Republic, Klementinum. National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague 1996.
  • Bernhard Fabian (Ed.): Handbook of German historical book collections in Europe. An overview of collections in selected libraries. Volume 1, 1: Vlasta Faltysová, Pavel Pohlei: Czech Republic. Prague. Part 1. Olms-Weidmann, Hildesheim et al. 1999, ISBN 3-487-10353-2 .
  • Waldemar Deluga: One-sheet prints from the 15th century in the National Library in Prague (= Národní Knihovna ČR. Miscellaneorum monographicorum. Vol. 2). Národní Knihovna České Republiky, Prague 2000, ISBN 80-7050-327-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Annual Report 2017
  2. Studovna Hostivař , Czech, accessed on May 15, 2019
  3. Z historie knihovny (From the history of the library), online at / ...
  4. Access to the catalog via (English version)
  5. Česká televize, Czech, accessed on May 31, 2019
  6. Czech, accessed on May 31, 2019
  7. daily newspaper Deník, Czech, accessed on May 31, 2019

Coordinates: 50 ° 5 ′ 12 ″  N , 14 ° 24 ′ 57 ″  E