The Library of the Academy of Sciences is one of the largest libraries in Prague. It is located near the National Theatre (see Map)
and may be reached by trams 6, 9, 17, 18 and 22 from the National Theatre stop, and Metro lines A (Mustek station) and B (Narodni trida station).
The Library of the ASCR is the successor to the Central Library of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (CSAS), which was established with the foundation of the CSAS on 17 November 1952. The original holdings of the Basic Library of the Academy were came from the libraries of the Royal Bohemian Scientific Society, the Bohemian Academy of Sciences and the Masaryk Academy of Work. Thanks to these fonds, the Academy Library was from its inception the largest library in Prague for general scientific holdings and the third oldest Czech scientific library.
The oldest collection is that of the Royal Bohemian Scientific Society, in 1784 chartered by Emperor Joseph II as the first such institution in the Monarchy. Despite early difficulties, when members of the Society also relied on the University Library and the Libraries of the Prague Observatory and Strahov Monastery, the Societys holdings reached thirteen thousand volumes in 1836, growing to 93,000 by 1939. At the time of the transfer, this library comprised a hundred thousand volumes.
A second important collection was that of the Czech Academy of Arts and Sciences, which began in 1891. Within two years it was exchanging publications with 55 institutions, but its chief problem was always a lack of storage space. At the time of the formation of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, this library held over 75,000 volumes.
The Library of the Masaryk Academy of Work was established in 1920 and included chiefly technical, scientific and economic literature. In 1952 it had about thirty thousand volumes, mostly acquired through gifts.
The Central Library of the CSAS began operations on 1 January 1953 on the premises of the former Czech Academy of Arts and Sciences in Narodni trida. Its first Director Dr. Frantisek Horak substantially increased the Librarys holdings, chiefly its historical collection, and expanded the exchange of publications abroad. From 1963 to 1995 the Library received copies of all books published in the country.
In 1961 a Section for Scientific Information was set up to regulate the expansion of the Central Library and those of the various Institutes of the Academy. In 1967 the Section was merged with the Central Library, and its Director from that year until 1992 was Jiri Zahradil. During these years acquisitions were significantly increased, along with international exchange of publications, and a cycle of courses and seminars was established for Library employees.
At the end of 1992, in connection with the establishment of the Czech Republic, the Library became known as the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and Dr. Ivana Kadlecova was named its Director.
Within the organization of the ASCR, the Library is classified as an institution of the Seventh Section, that of the Social and Economic Sciences.