Welcome to the website of the Library of the Jewish Museum in Prague.
Our library has about 130,000 volumes – Hebraica, Judaica, books on the history of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia, museology, art history, encyclopedias and biographies.
Anyone can visit us. If you register you can take books home.
The library includes the Multimedia Centre
Library opening times
|Tuesday||9 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Wednesday||1 p.m. - 5 p.m.|
|Thursday||9 a.m. - 5 p.m.|
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Multimedia Centre provides traditional and electronic reference services that focus on explaining Judaism and the history of the Jews.
The Reference Library is arranged thematically and includes the following:
- encyclopedic publications on general and Jewish topics
- publications on Israel, Jewish history, art, Biblical studies and liturgy
- Bohemian studies and Prague history
- books published by the Jewish Museum in Prague
- directories of museums, libraries and galleries
- Jewish periodicals and journals, including Roš Chodeš, Judaica Bohemiae, Židovská ročenka [Jewish Yearbook]
Access to the world's largest collection of Shoah testimonies
As of March 2012, the Multimedia Centre provides access to the world's largest collection of Shoah testimonies – USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive
Users can search through and view 566 testimonies in Czech and 573 testimonies in Slovak, as well as testimonies in 30 other languages.
If you wish to study these testimonies, it is recommended that you book in advance, as there may be a wait for the relevant files to download.
The connection to the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive was facilitated by the Charles University in Prague.
The Multimedia Centre also offers the following services:
- multimedia – an area for studying audio and video recordings from the museum's library collections
- information – provision of general information about the Jewish Museum in Prague and its exhibitions and cultural events
- reference – basic literature searches, access to the Shoah victims database and the Collections Department database, access to specialised databases
- consultation – referrals to the museum's specialist staff and affiliated organizations
Multimedia Centre opening times
|Monday||10 a.m. - 4 p.m.|
|Tuesday||10 a.m. - 4 p.m.|
|Wednesday||10 a.m. - 4 p.m.|
|Friday||10 a.m. - 1 p.m.|
Collections and research
The library department oversees the collection of rare printed books . Collection-related documents are included in the Book Sub-Collection in the Central Register of Collections at the Czech Ministry of Culture.
History of the library
The collection of the former Library of the Jewish Religious Community in Prague, which dates back to 1857, later became the basis of the present-day Library of the Jewish Museum in Prague. The aim of the community library was to build on Prague's traditional role as a major centre of Jewish culture, science and scholarship. It was developed on the basis of donations and bequests from prominent Jews of Prague, such as Chief Rabbi Salomon Judah Rapoport, the book printer Moses Israel Landau and the Burial Society secretary Koppelmann Lieben.
The Library of the Jewish Religious Community in Prague was operated by specialists who focused on cataloguing and describing the books. Among the most distinguished staff were Nathan Grün (the first librarian), Isidor Pollak and Tobias Jakobovits (the last librarian). In 1938 Jakobovits prepared a catalogue for the library, which at the time contained 15,000 volumes, including four incunabula, rare early printed books and manuscripts. This catalogue, which comprised two sections – Judaica and Hebraica – is to this day a very important bibliographical aid for orientation in this historical collection.
During the Second World War, the library was confiscated by the Nazis and taken away from Prague. After the war, in 1946, the library became a part of the re-established Jewish Museum, which was nationalized in 1950. Some of the book shipments from the Terezín ghetto and other book collections were also included in the library. ( For more info)
In the 1970s and 1980s, the museum's library staff focused mainly on describing its manuscript collections and its early books printed in Prague. The results of this research have been published in the museum's journal Judaica Bohemiae
After regaining independence in 1994, the museum set about tackling the lack of storage space for its holdings. The main task for the library was to create modern repositories of sufficient capacity for the entire holdings and to put together a single catalogue.
The museum relocated its headquarters in 2001. The library has a reading room and a research room at this location. Also based here is the Multimedia Centre, which provides access to audio and video recordings from the museum's library collections and to the museum's other databases. Books published by the museum are also on sale here.
The library currently has about 130,000 volumes. In addition to the Historical Collection, it contains Hebrew books that were printed mostly in Bohemia and Moravia but also in other countries, as well as literature on the history of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia and also an important collection of books on various Judaica topics (general history, art history, Shoah history, philosophy, bibliography, linguistics and fiction).
The library also has an extensive and valuable collections of periodicals, including historical items (newspapers, magazines and yearbooks from the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century) and present-day titles acquired through purchases or exchanges with other institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad.
The library has two depositories with a storage capacity of 1,740 linear metres, which can hold up to about 75,000 volumes. The books are stored on specially designed compact shelves that allow sufficient air circulation. An optimal microclimate is maintained in the depositories by using passive methods and through the installation of internal units in the wall cavities which cool or heat the space according to the temperature requirements. In conjunction with the building’s energy accumulation, this helps to maintain a stable environment with regards temperature and humidity. Solid ‘sandwich’ panels have been installed in window openings to reinforce heat resistance and eliminate daylight and UV rays.
The museum's other two depositories in Prague are used for the storage of periodicals and earlier literature.
The library is secured by the use of safety doors, a central electronic security system, anti-fire facilities and special channels with outer wall flood sensors which, in the event of a flood or excessive water heating/cooling, will direct the water out and simultaneously sound the alarm.
Unlike the Reference Centre, the library is divided into two sections, a reading room and a specially air-conditioned research room. The temperature and humidity of the research room is strictly controlled to provide ideal conditions for the protection of early and rare printed books, as well as archival materials. Most of the library’s publications are available for reference in the reading room.