Foreign Exile Collection at Libri Prohibiti
The Libri Prohibiti’s collection of foreign exile monographs and periodicals contains Slovak, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian exile literature.
Senovážné nám. 2, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
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Name of collection
Foreign Exile Monographs and Periodicals
Provenance and cultural activities
Libri Prohibiti – the library of “prohibited books” – was opened in 1990. The foundation of Libri Prohibiti was created by Jiří Gruntorád, pre-1989 publisher and collector of samizdat literature and signatory to Charter 77, whom was twice imprisoned because of his samizdat activities. Gruntorád wanted to collect in one place exile and samizdat literature, to make them accessible to the public in order to help clarify recent Czechoslovak history. According to him, the library should serve as a “message about past times,” and show how the communist regime in Czechoslovakia functioned. He was convinced that such a library should be private and independent. That is why he decided not to give his collection to the state institutions. In the beginning, the collection consisted of about 2000 books, collections of magazines and other documents. Since 1990, the library has been gradually expanded through purchases, exchanges, permanent loans and gifts. Nowadays, the library’s entire collection consists of about 40 500 library units and more than 3 400 periodicals in the areas of literature, literary science, history, political science, philosophy, theology, sociology, culture and politics, the field of human rights, international relations and others.
The Collection of Foreign Exile Monographs and Periodicals, containing about 1500 library units and more than 100 issues of periodicals (Slovak, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian) is an important part of the Libri Prohibiti library. Although the majority of this collection are Slovak books and magazines (over 970 library units of monographs and 60 magazines titles), compared with the Czech Exile collection are these numbers rather lower. Many of the Slovak exile books are related to Catholicism. However, this collection also contains texts by famous Slovak dissidents and banned authors such as Miroslav Kusý, Milan Šimečka and Dominik Tatarka. Apart from Slovak literature, this collection comprises Russian and Ukrainian exile monographs (about 590 volumes) and magazines (approximately 30 titles), and also several dozen titles of Polish exile periodicals and about a hundred Polish monographs. This collection was extended mainly after the establishment of the Libri Prohibiti library in 1990.
Libri Prohibiti not only makes books and magazines accessible to the public, but it also organises various activities such as exhibitions (focusing on exile and samizdat visual artists, photographers and other topics) or literary evenings (dedicated mostly to samizdat and exile authors). The library also hosts an annual award ceremony by the PANT Civic Society which gives the Jaromír Šavrda Prize for Testimonial about Totality.
Libri Prohibiti has also participated in the creation of many publications, films (mainly documentaries) and exhibitions; it cooperates with radio stations, theaters, and several websites.
Description of content
The Libri Prohibiti’s collection of Foreign exile monographs and periodicals includes over 970 library units of Slovak exile monographs and 60 periodical titles; 590 volumes of monographs of the Russian and Ukrainian exile from 1920 to 1990, along with 30 magazine titles. It also contains several dozen titles of Polish exile periodicals and about a hundred Polish monographs.
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
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- completely open to the public
Formanová, Lucie, Jiří Gruntorád, and Michal Přibáň. 1999. Exilová periodika: Katalog periodik českého a slovenského exilu a krajanských tisků vydávaných po roce 1945. Praha: Ježek : Libri prohibiti.
Šeflová, Ludmila. 1993. Knihy českých a slovenských autorů vydané v zahraničí v letech 1948-1978 (EXIL). Bibliografie = Books by Czech and Slovak Authors Published out of Czechoslovakia, in Exile, 1948-1978. Bibliography = Bücher Tschechischer und Slowakischer Autoren Herausgegeben im Ausland 1948-1978 (Exil). Bibliographie. Praha: Doplněk.
Author(s) of this page
- Kůželová, Michaela
Gruntorád, Jiří. 2002. “Libri prohibiti – poučné ohlédnutí za neradostnou minulostí.“ Dějiny a současnost 24, No. 5: 41–43.
Český rozhlas. 2014. “Libri prohibiti.” Last modified October 8. http://www.rozhlas.cz/vltava/dokument/_zprava/libri-prohibiti--1058103.
Libri Prohibiti. 2017. “Annual Report 2016.” Accessed May 15. http://www.libpro.cz/docs/2823-lp-vyrocni-zprava-2016-en-web-v02_1499883831.pdf.
Gruntorád, Jiří. 2014. “Vznik knihovny Libri prohibiti.” Last modified December 5. http://www.moderni-dejiny.cz/clanek/jiri-gruntorad-vznik-knihovny-libri-prohibiti/.
Libri Prohibiti. 2017. Accessed February 24. http://www.libpro.cz/.
Gruntorád, Jiří , interview by Kůželová, Michaela, February 01, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection