School Libraries in the 19th Century: Control, Support and Control Again

Pages 139–145
DOI 10.2478/amnpsc-2018-0019
Keywords school libraries – 19th century – Czech lands – elementary schools – censorship
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation KONÍŘOVÁ, Marta. School Libraries in the 19th Century: Control, Support and Control Again. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2018, 63(3-4), 139–145. DOI: ISSN 2570-6861 (Print), 2570-687X (Online). Also available from:
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2018/63/3-4

The development of school libraries established at schools providing elementary education in the 19th century is closely related to the development of this type of schools after 1774, when the General School Rules were published. For the first time, they referred to education as a political issue and declared the interest of the state in the education of all the population. In the 1820s, a decree of the court study committee ordered district school supervisors to inspect books in school libraries and gave them the right to decide whether a particular book fits into the school library. In 1869, a new school act cancelled the supervision of the Church over schools and transferred it to the state. First, the state supported school libraries by listing them among the teaching aids that should be available for every school. In addition, a decree of the Ministry of Cult and Education encouraged the establishment of school libraries where they were still missing. Subsequently (1875), however, the ministry ordered teachers to check new books acquired by school libraries, to inspect also all the other books already deposited in the libraries and to discard all of those that were unsuitable. Ten years later (1885), new inspection of all school libraries was ordered.

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