5 Most Beautiful Libraries in Prague

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put your education aside. Without sounding like one of your old teachers in elementary school, reading a book every now and then can do you a world of good.

Luckily for you, there are no shortages of public libraries in Prague. With beautiful atmospheres, extensive collections of books, and located in trendy parts of town, visiting a library while visiting the Czech capital is a wholesome and educational activity. 

With one of the most beautiful libraries in the whole of Europe, and potentially the entire world, Prague is a great city for wandering through the charming streets between libraries, sitting inside a cute cafe with a good book, and reading up on some Czech history. 

Czech National Library


 

Clementinum Library – By By BrunoDelzant – Flickr: [1], CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33629611

One of the most beautiful libraries in all of Prague – and potentially, in all of Europe – is the Czech National Library. Located in the Clementinum, the library is in a maze of historical buildings that also houses famous architectural structures like the Astronomical Tower and Meridian Hall.

This baroque-style building is reminiscent of the old architecture of the magical city of Prague. First opened in 1722 as part of the Jesuit University in the city, this library was – and remains – the center of culture, education, and symbolism in the Czech culture.

In modern day society, this library contains a plethora of books, ranging from ancient scriptures to rare books. If you are an avid reader, you’ll be pleased to know that there are 22,000 books on the shelves – although it would take quite a bribe to convince the owners to let you flip a few pages.

If you decide to visit the Clementinum during your next trip to Prague in post-pandemic times, you will understand in the first few seconds the allure, magic, and extraordinary atmosphere of this library. With rare books, ornate decorations, high balconies, swirling hand rails, and spiral staircases, the Czech National Library is a ‘national’ treasure.

Located in the Stare Mesto, the most-touristic area of Prague, this library is open from 10-4:30pm in January and February, 10-6pm from March to October, and 10-5:30pm in November and December. With an entrance fee of 220 CZK, or 8.30 euros, this reasonably-priced library is a great destination for a rainy day. 

Goethe-Institut in Prague

Goethe Institut Prague – By By Patrick-Emil Zörner (Paddy), CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=333345

The Goethe-Institut, also known as GI, is a non-profit cultural association that promotes studying the German language and international cultural exchange around the world. Spreading knowledge about Germany by providing knowledge about culture, society, politics, and artistic information, the GI has a library in Prague.

The Prague Goethe-Institut library offers a huge selection of books, various media in German and Czech languages, and articles about German history and current-day relations. 

Located at the Masarykovo nabrezi, the Goethe-Institut offers German language courses, art exhibitions, film screenings, and educational seminars. Open from Monday to Saturday, head here to read up on some German-language fiction, books about German culture and society, and listen to some German music CDs. 

Municipal Library of Prague

Stare Mesto Praha – By By Michal Kmínek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21440228

The Municipal Public Library of Prague is one of the largest libraries in the entire Czech Republic. Containing a print of the Prague Bible from 1488, this library is open to the public, contains ancient scripts, and has over 2 million items in the library. 

The City Library is user-friendly, open to all, and has a lot to offer to all readers, with extensive lists of titles to borrow. With book genres ranging from poetry, to fiction, to non-fiction, and historical texts, the library has something to offer everyone, from a casual reader to a studying scholar.

With an impressive interior featuring two floors of Czech and foreign-language books, a ‘towering’ book tower, and a cute, cozy library cafe with a hot cuppa, you can sit and enjoy a nice story while sipping on a fairly-priced latte.

Undergoing a complete reconstruction and redesign in the 1990s, the building is a visual spectacle, and well worth a visit for your next trip to Prague. If you are fortunate enough to work or study in the Czech capital city, you can purchase a yearly memebership for just 80 CZK (3 euros – for 12 months – talk about a bargain). 

Institut Francais de Prague

Institut Francais de Prague – By Par Jklamo — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64526784

The French Institute is located near Wenceslas Square on Stepanska Street, posing as a cultural resource for every resident of Prague who is interested in the French language, planning on visiting France, or wants to educate themselves on French culture.

Containing a full library, media center, and over 7,000 documents of French fiction, reference, comic, and non-fiction books, registered members can check-out and read any of the magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, or publications from this extensive institution. 

After you brush up on your French knowledge, head over to Galerie 35 – don’t worry, it’s a short walk since it is in the same building. This gallery features French and Czech photography, letting you sip on a glass of Rose or cappuccino at Cafe 35. Bringing the Parisian-vibe to Prague, this eatery provides French delicacies like croissants, pan-de-chocolates, and highly-caffeinated espressos.

Prague Multicultural Center Library 

Pasáž_Lucerna – By ŠJů (cs:ŠJů) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14761556

The Prague Multicultural Center is open to anyone and everyone living in the Czech capital city, providing hard-to-find knowledge about intercultural living, communication, minorities, and the struggles of refugees across the world. This civil association hopes to educate the masses about ethnic groups located in Czechia.

Located in the Lucerna Palace, this library/multicultural center couldn’t be in a more beautiful location. Right by the Franz Kafka sculpture and the Franciscan Gardens, this library is a great spot to check out a book and sit outside, admiring the charming neighborhood. 

Next time you’re unsure of your next activity in the ever-busy city of Prague, head inside on a cold and rainy day to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of coffee!