Libraries as sources of information 

Libraries as institutions began to spread en masse in 1919. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk predicted that they would serve as a network for education and the development of the newly forming Czech nation. In other words, if you associate libraries with taking out detective stories for your parents to take with them on vacation, you should know that their significance was and still is much greater.  

So what can you do in the library? 

  • In the library, there is free access to the internet – regardless of whether your notebook has frozen or you need to quickly look something up, you can make use of the fact that all libraries should offer free access to the internet.  
  • Take out books - today the majority of libraries have a library catalogue. Trying looking into one and you might be surprised. Not only by the fact that many libraries have the best sources in storage and the system will allow you to order them, but also by the diverse ways these sources can be searched for.  
  • Get some advice - are you writing a seminar paper or preparing an essay and you’re not sure how to find suitable sources? Are you searching but can’t find something? Ask a librarian! Librarians are experts in searching for information and will usually point you in the right direction. They’re just as good at helping you select a travel guide for your holiday as they are in selecting books on the Paleolithic Age or string theory. 
  • Have a source found for you  are you out in the countryside on holiday and have the feeling that you’ve got nothing to read? Do you need something special that’s on the other side of the country? Surprisingly, you don’t have to go all the way to Louny or   you can use what’s called the interlibrary loan service. The library will find and deliver the necessary text to you. The service is free for registered readers, but the library might require you to pay for shipping.  
  • Educate yourself – libraries offer a relatively large amount of educational and cultural events that you can make use of. At the same time, they almost always have study rooms, and studying for something like your final or leaving exams is better there than at home or in a cafe.  
  • Much more - individual libraries offer a relatively large number of other possible services, such as research, rental of space (which is usually very affordable), or the possibility to copy things.  


The Jiří Mahen Library organizes events for young fans of manga and comics. In the Ask a Library app, you can ask about anything, for example how human hibernation works. In addition to “classic” book services, the Municipal Library in Prague also offers a virtual reality set.  Source: Instagramový profil TEEN v Knihovně Jiřího Mahena, aplikace Ptejte se knihovny, instagramový post Městské knihovny v Praze. Screenshots Author: KISK

In-house loans are also worth mentioning - these are loans that you can’t take home, but you can use them inside the library. It’s not a problem to bring them into the study room and work or study with them there. Then you can have the librarian take them back. We can find a lot of information online, but at the same time it’s true that many people learn more easily from books, they remember more, and they perhaps make studying more pleasant in general.  

Do you know the portal (or The British Library or Library of Congress)? It’s a unified place where you can easily find out where your desired book or magazine is. You can also use it to access e-books that you can download or thematic collections of documents that you can continue to work with. For example, you can access Akce K. From here you can access foreign resources which, for example, the libraries have paid for and offer to their readers as well.   


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