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Městská knihovna v Českém Krumlově
Horní 155
381 01 Č. Krumlov

History - more information

The establishment of the first Czech library in town dates back to 1879 when the Czech table society named "Křen" (cz. Horseradish) was founded in the pub called "U zlatého soudku". Its members were enthusiastic Czech patriots who popularized and spread the Czech language. They organized lectures, dances and communal hiking trips. Singing patriotic songs and poetry were always an unavoidable part of such events. They also supported intensively the newly-evolving Czech literature. Besides subscribing regularly to the Czech magazines (Budivoj, Světozor) they also started purchasing Czech books. Books and magazines were usually bought out of membership fees or gifts from some of the members. The very first "library" was situated in a chest with metal fittings placed in the pub which was taken care of by the inn-keeper.

Original purpose of the Reader's Discussion Club founded in May 15, 1881, was to replace the closed-down Křen Society; attraction for the membership increased tremendously, however, and the scope of activity had to be organized differently. The new society which also had new rules approved by the Austrian-Hungarian Empirical governor stated 79 founding and out-of-town members. Article §15 listed the duties of the librarian who, according to the board resolution, had to order magazines and sheet music, cared for order in the library and reading room, organized books and magazines inventory and was accountable for the whole place.

Reader's Discussion Club rented the first floor space in the pub „U černého orla" owned by Mr. Šalamoun for an annual fee of 120 gold tollars. The members met once or twice a week and took minutes of every meeting. Their activity was very eclectic - lectures, balls, dances, hiking etc. Revenues obtained from such events were used for new books and magazines purchase for their club library. Some books were obtained as gifts. In 1883 the library possessed 1290 volumes and registered 120 readers.

One branch of the National Pošumavská Association was founded in Český Krumlov in 1885, so the inhabitants obtained another opportunity to get to some Czech books. Similar local branches were founded also around Český Krumlov - Chmelná, Křemže, Opalice, Zlatá Koruna, and Věžovatá Pláně.

In 1889, a "Municipal House" was founded in Česky Krumlov. The Czech Discussion Club and other supporting associations moved to reconstructed barracks which later became Hotel Růže (Horní no. 154) that were originally determined just for the Czech Savings Bank office. The library was located in a small room in the first floor, and Mr. Hynek Jirásek was elected librarian.

From 1895 a teacher Mr. Vránek was assigned to be the librarian. He managed to finish the final list of books available even in printed version and to create a catalogue. Books were divided according to their contents, and some intentions to build a separate children's department appeared. 3000 to 5000 volumes were borrowed annually by 200 registered readers.

In October 1, 1911, the first reading room was opened in the building's basement. Mr. Tomáš Tichý worked there as a librarian together with his assistant Mr. Král. Daily opening hours were provided from 6 till 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. The readers had 87 magazines available.

The War in 1914 unfavorably affected the reading room's activities. The librarian had to enlist, some magazines ceased publication, and consequently, the reading room had to be closed due to supply difficulties. However, its activity never stopped completely. Volunteers were going to military field hospitals to read for the soldiers. Even though the library was in operation, the reading room activity was re-established after the war again. In 1915 Mr. František Mrázek became librarian with the support of the most loyal readers. The library had 112 readers that managed to lend 3118 books.

A big turning point arrived for the Czech Discussion Club activity after the first World War. Library Code from 1919 (Code on common public libraries no. 430/19 of Code of Laws) guaranteed the possiblity of governmental support, and the municipal council decided to declare the club library as public. In August 1921 the library with 3352 volumes moved from Růže to the castle into a so-called „Kapucínska chodba" (Capuchin's Corridor). It was declared a "Local Public Library". A library council was assigned its administration and a teacher Mrs. O. Uhlířová became the librarian. They reviewed the book collection, managed a new acquisition list, finished the card collection catalog, and eventually the reading room opened again as well.

Teacher Jan Karták, who passed the state librarian exam, was charged with managing the library in 1926, and so the public library obtained a real expert for the first time ever since its existence, except for a war break until 1951. During the period of the 1st republic, the library extended its impact to the public, and the number of volumes, readers and books lent increased. The library also moved to a better space in the Minorite Monastery.

It is important to mention the existence of a German public library. The rate of German speaking residents in Český Krumlov was significant until the Second World War. Rivalry of both libraries, especially in matters of financial requirements, equipment and purchasing opportunities, were evidenced in archive records. The end of WWII marked the end of the German public library. Its equipment was given to the Czech library in 1945.

After the annexation of the Sudeten lands into Germany in 1938, the whole Czech public library remained in Český Krumlov. J. Karták who was in charge of public school administration in Borovany tried to move the library to Česke Budějovice, as the library had been determined to be pulped. The original price, set at 40,000 CZK was eventually decreased to 8000 CZK including the total inventory. Money was given from the Savings Bank in Budejovice, some friends from National Association, Pošumavska Association and from the librarian council of the Public Town Library of Dr. Zátka in Česke Budějovice. Everything was ready by the end of February 1939 - money, customs declaration, officers company and a car. 5000 volumes and the most necessary equipment were transferred from Česky Krumlov. The most valuable books were included into the collection of the Česke Budejovice library and lent to the readers during the whole of wartime.

After 1945, J.Karták managed to return the remains of the collection (approximately 3000 volumes - it was not exactly determined since the collection review was missing) back to Česky Krumlov. The library was situated in a rear section of a high school in Švermova street (currently Linecká street). However, there was not enough financial means for the purchase of new books neither for the library operation itself. In 1946, the library possessed 4362 volumes and registered 454 readers that had borrowed 12 071 books.

In the course of the following years, librarians tried to make the collection as accessible to the public as possible. They launched a new free book selection which meant that the readers could look for the books they wanted by themselves.

During the fifties, the local library took over the district library activity that included mainly in lending books to the neighborhood villages and in providing methodical assistance. In 1952, the district library moved to a reconstructed place in old Nosberg's house in Panská street no. 19. After J.Karták's retiral, Mrs. S. Stejskalová and then Mrs. Marie Vlasáková became librarians. Another joined in to help them in the library. In 1954, a former moving library employee Věra Čepeláková (Pazderková) became a librarian there. In that time the library consisted of three sections - an adults lending section, a children's section and a reading room. In 1959 the National Assembly approved a code no. 53/59 of Collection of Codes on united library system. The system involved public local, district and regional libraries. Since then, the district library in Český Krumlov has legally provided all the district libraries with methodical help. Besides its district library function it works as a methodical, bibliographical, informational and inter-librarian service center for all the libraries involved in the system.

Territory reorganization from 1960 changed the district borders. The Kaplice District vanished, and the library in Krumlov remained the only one within the district.

A system of centers began to be installed during the seventies. Professional libraries were assigned methodological circles as bases for library service centers. Libraries in Vyšší Brod, Černá v Pošumaví, Velešín, Benešov nad Černou, Křemže, Loučovice, Horní Planá, Brloh and Chvalšiny were professionalized. The state library in Dolní Dvořište became professional as a last one in 1987.

The increasing activity of libraries required more space. The house in Panská street became insufficient, the children's department moved several times to different places. In 1981 the library was given new space in the castle, in the former mint. The children's department, reading room, library administration and methodical department moved there immediately. There were no significant changes during the eighties. The main activity involved culture and educational plans, creation of a centralization system and central planning.

The 1990's ultimately brought a significant change to the library's activity. In 1991 the library moved to Horní street, the former prelate's residence. At the same time, automation of all library services was launched. Whole collection was computerized using a LANius system. Lending protocol in children's section was fully automated in 1995. A computerized exchange files register for single district libraries was put into operation during the following year. In 1997, the disctrict council gave the library administration. Professional librarians have been employed by appropriate local or municipal councils. The Town Library in Český Krumlov has been authorized to provide all the district libraries with regionally-based services and care. The Czech Ministry of Culture granted the library with an Internet connection this year.