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Libraries that provide services to the public as set by the Act 257/2001 Coll. may be categorized as follows:

Libraries administered by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic

National Library of the Czech Republic

It is a library with a universal library collection augmented by special collections. The National Library is also a keeper of archival and early printed books and manuscripts.
It also serves as a centre of Czech libraries system, where it provides coordinating, professional, informative, educational, analytic, research, standardisation, and methodical and advisory functions.

K.E. Macan Library and Printing Press for Visually Disabled

It is a library and a printing facility for visually disabled with universal collection. It guarantees services to this specific community.

Moravian Regional Library in Brno

It is library with a universal library collection, augmented by special collections. It serves as an archive for rare materials. It functions as a regional library for Southern Morava region.

Regional libraries (established by an appropriate regional authority)
Among regional libraries are former state science libraries. Their significance varies according to extensiveness and content of their collections. On the whole though, their collections are general.
A regional library’s responsibility is to assure regional library services (further education of library workers in the region, resource sharing, organisation, financing, regional interlibrary loan, supervision of VISK projects, coordination and cooperation, etc.) These libraries may also fulfil function of a local library providing services to the general public.

The list of regional libraries may be found in the section Where is my library / Addresses

Basic libraries

Basic libraries are libraries with general or specialized collections and are a part of the Czech libraries system providing cultural, educational and information services.

Specialised libraries
These libraries develop their collections in relatively complete entirety of their given profile. They may be administered by state organisations or by other institutions (i.e. universities). They cooperate with libraries with similar profile in implementing new technologies in the area of library and information services.

More statistical information may be found in Information for Libraries portal

Classification by the accessibility of services to the general public

Public libraries – (local, municipal, regional, national) are libraries with a general collection occasionally having collections on specifics of a place or a region. Their collections are built to satisfy users of all ages. Regional libraries, such as Moravska zemska knihovna in Brno, National Library of the Czech Republic and Vedecka knihovna in Olomouc develop their collections by having right to legal deposit copies (regional and country-wide). They provide access to general electronic resources and when appropriate also to resources specific to a given place or a region. Public libraries provide their services to all residents including children. A library card is usually needed just for lending. Conditions are specified in the given library rules. Public libraries also organise various cultural or educational events open to all interested users.

Special libraries – are libraries focusing on individual aspects of human endeavour, such as applied sciences, medicine, law, education, agriculture and food sciences, museology, etc., and libraries of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. They usually provide their services to users interested in a particular subject. Certain limits may be applied due to electronic resources licence agreements. Detailed conditions are specified in the particular library rules.

Special libraries (non-public) – are libraries serving to manufacturing and business organisations, research institutes, hospitals, law firms, etc. Their printed and electronic resources and services are their organisation needs specific. They may provide services to the public according to their library rules. We suggest getting in touch with a person-in-charge to find out what services and resources are available.

University and higher education libraries – are libraries supporting programmes of particular educational institutions. Library system of a given higher education institution or a university usually consists of a number of faculty libraries and a central library that guarantees accessibility and development of services offered throughout the system. Students, teachers and support staff have unrestricted access to the system. Generally, these libraries offer their services to the members of general public according to their rules.

School libraries – are libraries serving to pupils, students and teachers of public, high and vocational schools. Their goal is to secure support of educational process. They may be split into teachers’ and students’ section. They do not serve general public.

Castle libraries – are libraries located in castles, palaces and like structures (state or privately owned), or libraries managed by the National Museum in Prague. Services are usually available upon an agreement with the person-in-charge for scholarly research.