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Public Libraries

There are over 6,000 public libraries operated by local authorities. They form the basic infrastructure for providing accessible library and information services to all the inhabitants of the Czech Republic. In the last few years, the number of readers and library visitors has been gradually increasing, and there has been a remarkable rise in the number of loans. Libraries are also being gradually equipped with computer technology and connected to the Internet. The automation of library processes and cataloguing is also progressing quickly. In addition to the libraries’ traditional cultural and educational roles, there is also emphasis on information services. Many libraries are creating new types of services to be more accommodating to clients, including those of the business community. New forms of mutual co-operation are arising.

Most libraries have managed to take advantage of possibilities presented through information and communication technologies for developing library services, thereby gaining new clients. The trend of the last few years has been to combine the tasks of traditional libraries with other functions such as public access Internet, municipal information and tourism centres and local community services. Libraries can also serve as a neutral venue for the meetings of various informal groups and community initiatives. It is clear that the only way forward is to systematically and actively support readership and to merge library activities with processes of school and life-long extracurricular education.Very important for the development of public libraries are the regional libraries, which provide and organise support services for small libraries. These services involve 109 public libraries in larger towns that create co-operative systems at the level of the smaller regions. An important tool for evaluating the accessibility and quality of library services is the quality standard set forth by the Ministry of Culture in 2005. The standard sets the parameters of quantitative and qualitative indicators for the following areas of public library activity:

• library opening hours,

• development of library holdings and information sources,

• number of public access Internet stations,

• study carrels and spaces for library users,

• general principles of accessibility to the Public Library and Information Services (PLIS)

The indicator values are set for eight size categories of local authorities. The objective of the standard is to improve the accessibility and quality of library and information services for library users. The standard makes it possible for libraries, their operators, the local authorities, regions and central bodies of state administration to compare and check the accessibility and quality of library services and systematically provide support for library development. The PLIS standard is a motivational tool and its indicators are employed in the provision and use of financial resources from the state budget for supporting the development of PLIS.





Number of libraries

6 057

6 046


Number of branches

1 005




60 669 380

61 044 000

61 236

Number of registered readers

1 533 135

1 525 000

1 507 000

Number of visitors

19 657 619

20 102 579

20 614 779

Number of loans

70 825 448

71 663 000

72 825 000

Number of staff

4 971

4 844

5 059

Resources for stock acquisition 1

8 651 093 €

9 047 621 €

8 626 379 €

Number of study carrels

18 529

21 847

24 520

Number of computers for users

4 237

5 111

5 888

of these with Internet access

3 081

3 798

4 544

Dec 08, 2014
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