National Library of the Czech Republic

National Library
of the Czech Republic

Baroque library hall in the National Library of the Czech Republic
Country Czech Republic
Type National library
Established 1777 (1777)
Location Clementinum, Prague
Coordinates 50°5′14.62″N 14°25′2.58″E / 50.0873944°N 14.4173833°E / 50.0873944; 14.4173833Coordinates: 50°5′14.62″N 14°25′2.58″E / 50.0873944°N 14.4173833°E / 50.0873944; 14.4173833

6,919,075 total items[1]

21,204 manuscripts[1]
c. 4,200 incunabula[2]
Other information
Director Petr Kroupa

The National Library of the Czech Republic (Czech: Národní knihovna České republiky) is the central library of the Czech Republic. It is directed by the Ministry of Culture. The library's main building is located in the historical Clementinum building in Prague, where approximately half of its books are kept. The other half of the collection is stored in the district of Hostivař.[3] The National Library is the biggest library in the Czech Republic, in its funds there are around 6 million documents. The library has around 60,000 registered readers. As well as Czech texts, the library also stores older material from Turkey, Iran and India.[4] The library also houses books for Charles University in Prague.[5]

The library won international recognition in 2005 as it received the inaugural Jikji Prize from UNESCO via the Memory of the World Programme for its efforts in digitising old texts.[6][7] The project, which commenced in 1992, involved the digitisation of 1,700 documents in its first 13 years.[4]


The most precious medieval manuscripts preserved in the National Library are the Codex Vyssegradensis and the Passional of Abbes Kunigunde.

Proposed new building

General reading room (former refectory of the Jesuit residence in Clementinum)

In 2006 the Czech parliament approved funding for the construction of a new library building on Letna plain, between Hradčanská metro station and Sparta Prague's football ground, Letná stadium.[8][9] In March 2007, following a request for tender, Czech architect Jan Kaplický was selected by a jury to undertake the project, with a projected completion date of 2011.[10] Later in 2007 the project was delayed following objections regarding its proposed location from government officials including Prague Mayor Pavel Bém and President Václav Klaus.[9][11] Plans for the building had still not been decided in February 2008, with the matter being referred to the Office for the Protection of Competition in order to determine if the tender had been won fairly.[12] Later in 2008, Minister of Culture Václav Jehlička announced the end of the project, following a ruling from the European Commission that the tender process had not been carried out legally.[13]


The library was affected by the 2002 European floods, with some documents moved to upper levels to avoid the excess water.[14] Over 4,000 books were removed from the library in July 2011 following flooding in parts of the main building.[15] There was a fire at the library in December 2012, but nobody was injured in the event.[16]

See also


  1. 1 2 Národní knihovna České republiky: Výroční zpráva 2013. 2014. ISBN 978-80-7050-633-2.
  2. "Incunabula". National Library of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  3. "Need for new library intensifies". The Prague Post. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  4. 1 2 "National Library's rare prints and manuscripts at the click of a mouse". Radio Prague. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  5. Tucker, Aviezer (18–24 February 2009). "Opinion" (PDF). The Prague Post. Prague. p. A4. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  6. "National Library wins UNESCO award for pioneering digitisation work". Radio Prague. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  7. "2005 - The National Library of the Czech Republic". UNESCO. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  8. "National Library to get major new building while Clementinum will undergo extensive renovations". Radio Prague. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  9. 1 2 "Plans to build modern "blob" building on Letna Plain meet resistance from Prague politicians". Radio Prague. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  10. "Changes ahead for the Czech National Library". Radio Prague. 11 March 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  11. "'Octopus' library stirs up Czechs". BBC News. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  12. "Still no final decision on National Library building". Radio Prague. 27 February 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  13. "Head of National Library sacked over 'Blob' dispute". Radio Prague. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  14. "Art saved from European floods". BBC News. 15 August 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  15. "Water accident in National Library". Radio Prague. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  16. "No injuries in Czech National Library fire". Radio Prague. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
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