Book Culture

The first collections, upon which the department was founded, were items from publishers' estates,…

The Central Library Department contains primarily of Bohemian print production, from the 19th century through the present. The Manuscripts and Old Prints Department has custody of the most valuable items in the Library – manuscripts and old prints. The Journals Department has the second largest periodical collection in the country, which expands constantly by receiving copies of all the current periodical production in the Czech Republic. It is located in the 'Little Castle', the one-time summer palace of the regent of the Royal hunting preserve in Prague 7. The Department of Chateau Libraries specializes in castle libraries of the Czech Republic, temporarily relocated to the palace in Zbraslav, until the historical museum building in the center of Prague is renovated. The Book Culture Department cares for materials dealing with book culture, like shop-keeper's songs, bibliophilic materials, illustrations, graphics, posters, sacred paintings, exlibris and printing blocks. The Library Service Department has charge of the library's services for the public, i.e. the Study Rooms, loan protocol (registry), information services, reprographics and digital materials. The International Exchange of Publications Department runs international literature exchange, purchases and gifts. Finally, the Museum of Book is the permanent exhibit in the Kinský palace in Žďár nad Sázavou.

The history of the museum's Library starts at the same time as that of the museum as a whole, that is, 1818. The initial library collections were gifts from museum founders and patrons. This formed the basis for the museum's library. At the helm initially was an unusually gifted expert of the day – Josef Dobrovský. The first official librarian, taking the position in 1822 was Václav Hanka, one of Dobrovský's students. Hanka's successors, starting after 1861, were other significant personalities of the time – Antonín Jaroslav Vrťátko(1861–1892), Dr. Čeněk Zíbrt (1903–1928) and others.

According to the National Museum's statutes from 1994, the Museum Library is a publicly accessible research library. It is one of five divisions of the National Museum, along with the Natural Science Museum, the Historical Museum, the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and Indian Cultures and the Czech Museum of Music. Since 1956, the library has published the Ledger of the National Museum in Prague, series C – literary history; it collaborates with many institutions all over the world. In contrast with other libraries, the museum's library also functions as a museum division. It puts together exhibits both at home and abroad. It organizes lectures and lecture series, particularly in cooperation with Matice Česká, an association of the Museum Fellowship. It collaborates with the print media, radio and television. Library workers also function as educators in universities and in technical schools dealing with their specialty.

Since 2000, the library has participated in the project Memoriae Mundi Series Bohemica (national subprogram within the program UNESCO Memory of the World), whose goal is digitalization of historical library resources. Subsequently it also contributed to the Manuscriptorium and ENRICH programs.

In 2001 the Library began digitizing its collections. The Central Library Department uses the program KpWin and catalogs the material according to the AACR2 and MARC21 standards, adding the cataloged material to the Union Catalog of the Czech Republic. An online catalog was made available to the public in 2003, and is gradually being enhanced by the capability to order documents online.

In 2003 and 2004 the general author catalog was scanned, both Czech and foreign, and since 2005, work has been progressing on transcribing it into a database.

Manuscripts and old prints have been scanned and are stored on a separate library server, made available to the public via the digital library Manuscriptorium). Currently, there are 266 scanned manuscripts and old prints available from the library's collections.

Since 2005, the Manuscript and Old Print Department has been working on converting the card catalog of foreign old prints to digital format. This catalog has been developed over the last 200 years. The catalog of Czech old prints is already available online via the digital retrospective bibliography Knihopis.

Available at the time of this writing are scanned copies of the card catalog.

A fully searchable version of OPAC (online catalog) will become available in 2012.

Reformatting historical periodicals has been the task of the Journals Department, since 2004. It has integrated itself with the statewide program Kramerius and has digitized the newspaper Politik (1862–1906). Currently the department is working on scanning numerous other series of publications from its archives.

The Book Culture Department uses the database JanusArchiv for treatment of its exlibris, illustrations, graphics, printing blocks, material memorabilia and posters. The database currently has 25,000 cataloged records. Ongoing work consists of scanning or photographing collections items. Online viewing of the images is possible via the portals and

The digitalization of shopkeeper's prints has been underway since 2008, as part of the grant project "Open research space for shopkeeper's prints". Together with the company AiP, the department has digitized around 4,000 collections items. Bibliographic metadata are stored in XML format, according to the international standards in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). The open source editor Ignis was created to administer these records.