Where to Hear Dvořák (and More) — Free

Opus Osm

Literally hundreds of thousands of music materials are at your fingertips here.

How many CDs, DVDs, MP3s, and music books are in your library? This place has 220,000, and you can use them all.

“We lend books about music, of course,” says Jitka Roškotová, “but you can also borrow librettos, magazines, 157,000 music scores, cassettes, CDs, and DVDs.”

Ms Roškotová is the Municipal Library of Prague’s foreign relations officer. She continues, “You can also access our MP3 and Blu-Ray collection on site in the Music Department at the Central branch (Mariánské Námesti).”

Smaller print, Cd, and cassette collections are also available in the Music Department at the Bohnice branch, and in smaller holdings at the Opatov, Školská, Korunní, Břevnov, Holešovice, and Smíchov branches, she tells Opus Osm. All music genres — classical, rock, pop, folk, jazz, and more – are covered. In 2011, almost 5 million items were shared with users across all branches, averaging 2,000 books and other documents flying out the doors per operating hour, according to library statistics.

Central Library’s Czech, English, and German Magazines on Music or Dance
Bassline; Bohuslav Martinů Newsletter; Cantus; Czech Music; Czech Music Quarterly; Dalibor; DanceTime; Dechovka; Der Auftakt; Down Beat; Early Music; Filter – hudba & spol.; Folk a country; Folklor.
Also, Harmonie; His Voice; Hudební revue; Hudební rozhledy; Hudební věda; Hudební výchova; Jazztimes; Kytara; Listy hudební matice; Melody Maker; Music; Music Life; Music Store; Muzikus; Naše muzika; Neue Zeitschrift für Musik; New Musical Express.
Also, Opera; Opera News; Opus Musicum; Österreichische Musikzeitschrift; Report Music & Style; Rytmus; Státní opera Praha; Svět klasické kytary; Taneční zóna; Tempo; The Musical Times; and Varhaník.

If you want to watch complete recordings of world operas and ballets, all you need is a library card to use the Central branch’s Blu-Ray player with HD picture and sound, LCD screen, and headphones. And in the same branch, or in Bohnice, you can even play their digital piano: if no one else has reserved it, just drop in, sit down, and play.

In addition, the Central library and some branches offer occasional lectures, presentations, concerts, films, and other events related to music, opera, and ballet. In 2011, for example, more than 4,500 events were held at the Central branch alone, according to the library.

The Municipal Library of Prague also offers free access to online databases such as the Naxos classical music site and Oxford Music Online, with a library card. In case you don’t have time to search yourself, you can ask the Music Department experts for a thematic search according to your specifications.

All 42 branches of the library also offer free internet access at no charge.

120 Years of Service

Opus Osm

MLP Central branch

This year the Municipal Library of Prague’s Music Department is celebrating its 120th anniversary, ranking it among some of the oldest music libraries, according to Ms Roškotová.

Special celebratory events and interesting new projects are planned throughout the coming year.

How to Get a Library Card
Czech and EU residents: Fill out the application form, show your official identification, pay a fee of 20 kč for the library card, and 60 kč per year. Others: Fill out the application form, show your long-term residency card (or have a guarantor, a legal resident who will identify you; or pay a refundable deposit of 1,000 kč), and pay the similar 80 kč fee.

The Municipal Library of Prague is also an Education Partner with Opus Osm.

That means its function is related to Czech classical music, opera, or ballet; its purpose is primarily educational; and it provides most services or programs to the public free of charge. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Mary Matz

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