Národní knihovna České republiky

( National Library of the Czech Republic )

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 the centre of Prague, where approximately half of its books are kept. The other half of the collection is stored in the district of Hostivař. The National Library is the biggest library in the Czech Republic, housing around 6 million documents. The library currently has around 20,000 registered readers. Although comprising mostly Czech texts, the library also stores older material from Turkey, Iran and India. The library also houses books for Charles University in Prague.

In the 13th century, the Studium generale school was founded in the Dominican monastery in Prague's Old Town. This school, including its library, merged with the university in the 14th century.

In 1556, monks of the Jesuit Order erected a boarding school, named Clementinum, on the remains of the Dominican monastery. From 1622 on, the Jesuits also administrated the Charles University, and all their libraries were accommodated in the Clementinum.

East entrance of the Clementinum

After the suppression of the Jesuits, the university became a state institution in 1773, and in 1777 its library was declared "Imperial-Royal Public and University Library" by Maria Theresa. Even after the splitting of the university into a Czech and a German university in 1882, the library remained as a joint institution.

In 1918, the Public and University Library was taken over by the government of the newly founded Czechoslovakia. In 1924, the Slavonic Library (Slovanská knihovna) was founded, and moved to the Clementinum in 1929; it is still an autonomous part of the National Library. In 1935, the library was renamed "National and University Library" (Národní a univerzitní knihovna). In the same year, a law on the legal deposit copy duty was introduced – a practice dating back to 1781, when Prague printers had to hand in legal deposit copies of their prints to the library.

Although Czech universities and colleges were closed after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, the library remained open under the name of "Municipal and University Library" (Zemská a univerzitní knihovna).

In 1958, all large Prague libraries were merged into the single centralized State Library of the Czechoslovak Republic (Státní knihovna CSR).

In 1990, the hitherto last renaming of the library resulted in its current name: National Library of the Czech Republic. A new storage building, the Central Depository in Hostivař, was inaugurated in 1996.[1]

^ "From Klementinum's History". National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague. 2012. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
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