Iva can't imagine her life without a library. She visits the Education and Research Library of the Pilsen Region several times a week - either the magnificent main building or the extensive department of foreign libraries.
When I was 15 years old, I moved back with my family from Alsace to my hometown of Pilsen. I had my library card issued to me at age 18. These days I visit the library several times a week. I spend so much time here because I find the peace and quiet I need to work or read.
In the past I mainly borrowed translations from English into Czech, such as books by Daniel Defoe and Agatha Christie. Then I became more interested in authors from French- and German-speaking countries. My favourite authors are Bernard Minier, Philippe Chappuis and Erich Kästner.
Study hall in the main building. A quiet spot for reading and lesson planning. | Photo (detail): Marie Svatoňová ©Studien- und Wissenschaftsbibliothek der Region Pilsen
Right at the beginning of my studies I discovered that the library offers me a variety of useful materials. This discovery was also made by fellow students from other disciplines and faculties. You could and can order many scripts for individual subjects, with information on Czech and foreign-language literature.
If I'm looking for a book on a specific topic, I use the online catalogue for research. Some books are stored in the repository and must be ordered separately. I find many books in the freely accessible shelves in the main building and in the department of foreign libraries with the English, German, Austrian and Romance departments. With these books I then work directly in the library or I borrow them and take them home with me.
The Austrian/German Library collects fiction, non-fiction and specialised literature from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. | Photo (detail): Marie Svatoňová ©Studien- und Wissenschaftsbibliothek der Region Pilsen
In the main building I like to sit in the study hall. In the corridors of the main building there are places with WLAN that I use, and I prepare my lessons for the high school and the university. Here I can talk to people who also use the library. When I feel like having coffee, I go to the library café. It has the charming name "Knihomol", which means “bookworm”.
You can go to many different events both in the library‘s main building and in the department of foreign libraries: exhibitions, roundtables with native speakers, author readings, lectures, film screenings, evenings with prominent people who talk about their work, seminars. I particularly often attend seminars for German language teachers. And I regularly go to the exhibitions in the main building.
View from the Europa House balcony onto the beautiful inner courtyard. | Photo (detail): Marie Svatoňová ©Studien- und Wissenschaftsbibliothek der Region Pilsen
There are several reasons why I have always been and always will remain faithful to this library: I appreciate the range of services and the many books at my disposal. I also find it very important that librarians are always willing to offer their help and advice.
Iva M., born 1993 in Pilsen, moved with her family to Alsace when she was five years old. She later returned to study French, German and Psychology at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. She now teaches German at high school and works at the Pedagogical Faculty in Pilsen. Her main focus is the didactics of German and French.
The main building of the Study and Research Library of the Pilsen Region is located near the Pilsen Market Square. Originally there was a Dominican nunnery in the building. In 1931 a city reading room and a library were built in it. In the 1950s, the building that had been fallen into disrepair during the Second World War, was renovated and converted into a library. The foundation was formed by the books of the Municipal Historical Museum and numerous monastery libraries. Today, the entire collection comprises almost two million media. The library has more than 11,000 registered readers.
The Department of Foreign Libraries is located in a historic building on the Pilsen Market Square, the 16th-century Scribonio House. Today it is called the Europa House. The department includes the English, Austrian, German and Romance libraries as well as the gallery of the Europa House as a venue for events.