For bookworms seeking a bit of peace and quiet, libraries are a great hideout. Luckily, Bratislava is full of them, ranging from big libraries up to the tiny ones, all bursting with books to borrow and read. Spend an afternoon in one of the libraries in Bratislava, curled up with a book, whether you take one out or not.
Our tip: If you are learning Slovak language, try reading a book in Slovak. For example, children books from library can be the first step for reading in the Slovak language and an on budget solution, too.
Below, we include useful information about how a foreigner can register in a library in Bratislava.
THE BRATISLAVA CITY LIBRARY (MESTSKÁ KNIŽNICA V BRATISLAVE)
The City Library exists since 1900 and survived 4 big movings, 8 name changes and 13 directors. In 1945, it established the very first separate section for children and young adults in Slovakia and in 1991, it opened the first section for the ones with visual impairment, with the presence of Lady Diana, princess of Wales! This amazing library that on top of the regular library services, organizes many interesting events especially for kids. If your kids attend elementary school and speak Slovak, we definitely recommend to join some of them. An ID card or a passport (if you do not have permanent residency in Slovakia) work fine to get registered for a foreigner.
(source: Mestská knižnica v Bratislave FB)
The library operates within the following branches:
Laurinská 5: Section of Fiction and Foreign Language Literature
Kapucínska 1-3: Children and Young Adults Section
Klariská 16: Expert Literature Section, Section for the Visually Impaired (with access to the sound documents) and Fine Arts and Music Section. It contains a cultural centre/gallery called Galeria Artoteka on its second floor that organizes exhibitions of Slovak painters, graphic designers and illustrators. It also holds various events like book readings, discussions, concerts or book presentations.
Summer Atheneum U červeneho raka, Michalská 26: This branch is seasonal and opens yearly approximately in the middle of May and lasts until end August. It is known for being packed with various events. On top of these, it offers free newspaper and magazines reading room for all.
THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY (UNIVERZITNÁ KNIŽNICA V BRATISLAVE)
The University Library in Bratislava (ULB) is the oldest and largest research library in the Slovak Republic. It was established in 1919 as a library for the newly founded Comenius University. In parallel to its academic purpose it has also served as the national library until 1954. At present, the Library contains approximately 2 520 000 publications that include:
- Slovak Literature – a relatively complete collection of new books and periodicals based on legal deposit.
- Foreign Literature – a collection of foreign literature is composed of humanities, natural science and documents of universal character in Slavic and other European languages.
(source: Univerzitná knižnica FB)
Even if its name might baffle you, you do not need to be student to use its services. The only thing needed is to register in order to get a valid User Identification Card entitles to enter the Library premises.
On top of the regular services where you can take the books with you, there are several study rooms: Music Cabinet, Cabinet of Manuscripts, Study of Electronic Documents, Study of Micro Documents, Study of Audiovisual Documents or General Study Room.
OLD TOWN LIBRARY (STAROMESTSKÁ KNIŽNICA)
An Old Town library with six branches boasts a fully-stocked library of treasures for both adults and children. The only thing you need in order to be able to use its services is to register which costs mere 4 EUR. For foreigners, an ID card or a passport (if you do not have permanent residency in Slovakia) work fine to get registered! You can peruse the books on the spot or borrow them to take with you. The services also include a book delivery to the senior citizens registered in Old Town.
Branches: Central Library Blumentálska 10: Children and Young Adults Section and Adults Section
Old Town Library Panenská 1: Adults Section, Expert Literature Section, Fine Arts Study and General Study
Branch Záhrebská 8: Children and Young Adults Section, Adults Section and bibliobox (with option to return books outside of the opening hours)
Branch Západný rad 5: Children and Young Adults Section, Adults Section and Literature in a Foreign Language
Branch Karadžičova 1: Children and Young Adults Section and Adults Section
Summer Atheneum in Medická Garden: This is a seasonal branch that opens in June and lasts until end August each year.
This library belongs under the municipality Ružinov. In order to be able to use its services, you need to have temporary or permanent residency in Slovakia and specifically in this municipality. When registering, you need to show your ID card or a passport.
(source: Knižnica Ružinov FB)
Branches: Miletičova 47: Fiction, Expert Literature, Newspaper & Magazines, Children and Young Adults Literature, a study room, CDs catalogue
Tomášikova 25: Fiction, Expert Literature, Newspaper & Magazines, Children and Young Adults Literature
Bachova 7: Fiction, Expert Literature, Newspaper & Magazines, Children and young adults
Na úvrati 52, Trnávka: Books for Adults, Children and Young Adults, Newspaper & Magazines
Information Centre for Seniors, Zimná 1: Fiction and Expert Literature for Adults and Seniors, Newspaper & Magazines
NOVÉ MESTO LIBRARY
This library belongs under municipality Nové mesto. We love how it is reconstructed – our favourite being the children section! In order to become its registered member, you have to have a legal residency in Slovakia to be documented by an identification card.
Branches: Central Library, Pionierska 12: Fiction Section and Athenaeum for Adults, Book & Information and Free Time Activity Center for Children and Young Adults, Expert Literature Section, Athenaeum for Expert Literature, Musical Cabinet and Literature in a Foreign Language Section.
Stromová 18: Adults Section, Section for Children and Young Adults
Kutuzovova 15/a: Adults Section, Section for Children and Young Adults
Nobelova 30: Adults Section, Section for Children and Young Adults
Jeséniova 51: Adults Section, Section for Children and Young Adults
PETRŽALKA LOCAL LIBRARY
Municipality Petržalka also has its own library with ten branches. A foreigner can register here with a valid passport and a residency permit valid for at least 6 months or with a permanent residency or with another document legalizing their long term residence in Slovakia. The library also includes e-books (available through online system for registered users) and necessary equipment for rental.
Branches: Dudova 2: located in the building of an elementary school, with specialization on literature for children and young adults. It also serves as a club for kids with various free time activities.
Furdekova 1: Specialized on literature for kids and young adults.
Haanova 37: Specialized on adult readers.
Lietavská 16: Specialized on adult readers.
Prokofievova 5: A family branch focused on children, young adults and adults.
Rovniankova 3: located in the Cultural Centre Zrkadlový háj at the first floor. An extra service is a bibliobox (for returning books outside of the opening hours).
Turnianska 10: A family branch located on the first floor of an elementary school with specialization on children literature and fiction and expert literature for adults.
Vavilovova 24: Specialized on literature for kids, young adults and adults. An extra service is a bibliobox (for returning books outside of the opening hours).
Vavilovova 26: Specialized on expert and foreign language literature (English, German, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish and Latin language).
Vyšehradská 27: Located in a family house on the ground floor and specialized on literature for kids and adults.
DÚBRAVKA LOCAL LIBRARY
This library has four departments – for adults, Expert Literature Section, Children and Young Adults Section and an Atheneum. Registration costs 4 EUR for adults, 1 EUR for children younger than 15 years and 1.50 EUR for seniors.
ADDRESS: Sekurisova 1923/12
LAMAČ LOCAL LIBRARY
This smaller library is opened only three times each week. Foreigners can get registered here once they present a confirmation of their residency in Bratislava. Registration costs 2 EUR.
ADDRESS: Heyrovského 2046/2
LOCAL LIBRARY KARLOVA VES
This library focuses on fiction literature but also has rich collection of sociological and philosophical books. There are regular events organized by the library including activities for children, exhibitions or workshops.
(source: Karloveská knižnica FB)
VAJNORY LOCAL LIBRARY
ADDRESS: Šaldova 9527/2
BIBIANA LIBRARY (INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF ARTS FOR CHILDREN)
Bibiana is a special library that gathers children’s literature by Slovak and international authors and also specialized literature on art and literature for children and youth. It contains mostly books that entered prestigious competitions, such as BIB books, meaning books for children and youth whose illustrations were displayed at the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava since 1967; or books entered in the IBBY Honor List (International Board on Books for Young People).
Book collections are unique and so valuable that visitors cannot take them home. They can be reviewed only in the premises of the study room. Library is open for children and BIBIANA visitors only on Sundays.
ADDRESS: Panská 41
ÚĽUV LIBRARY BRATISLAVA
ULUV Library has a specific focus on folk production, crafts and folk and applied art. Foreigners with temporary or permanent residence can get a registration here. The services focus in general on studying the books in the premises of the study room and cannot be taken home.
ADDRESS: Obchodná 64
THE CABINET OF SLOWNESS
A library, a school of slow reading and a readers’ club located in the cultural center Nova Cvernovka. There is over 3000 books that were collected during a period of 20 years by Viktor Suchý who decided to share it with public. You can read the books on the spot only.
ADDRESS: Račianska 78
THE KORNEL AND NAĎA FÖLDVÁRI LIBRARY
This is a bit unusual tip as this library is more of a permanent exhibition than a regular library. The Kornel and Naďa Földvári Library is a project of Slovak National Gallery dedicated to Slovak writer, satirist, art and literary critic, book collector and translator, Kornel Földvári. This permanent exhibition in the Esterhazy Palace preserves Földvári’s large collection of books. The library serves as another social space of the gallery – hosting discussions, lectures and other chamber events.
(source: SNG FB site)
ADDRESS: Esterházy Palace, 1st floor, Námestie Ľ. Štúra 4
SLOVAK CHEMICAL LIBRARY
This scientific library specializes in chemistry, food industry and other related fields. It belongs under Slovak University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology. An EU foreigner can get registered with a valid ID card and a non-EU foreigner with a valid passport and a residency permit.
ADDRESS: Radlinského 9
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE LIBRARY
This is an academic library specialized in professional journal and book literature related to the study programs of the faculty (architecture, urbanism, design and related study fields). External users (non-students) can study materials only on the spot.
ADDRESS: Námestie slobody 19, ground floor, door 52
VIRTUAL SLOVAK TECHNICAL LIBRARY
CENTRAL LIBRARY OF SLOVAK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (SAV)
This library provides information support to science and research with more than half a million books, 150 000 ebooks on EBSCO platform and 1000 journal titles in the reading room. A member can be anyone, you do not need to work for the Academy of Science. As a foreigner, you need a passport and a residency permit for the registration.
ADDRESS: Klemensova 19
SLOVAK MEDICAL LIBRARY
Slovak Medical Library is a public scientific library specified in health sciences and healthcare. It provides library and information services for professionals and public. A foreigner can register with a confirmation about temporary or permanent residency and an ID card.
ADDRESS: Lazaretská 26
SLOVAK PEDAGOGIC LIBRARY
This library is directly managed by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport. It is a specialized scientific library with a national scope focusing on education, pedagogy, training, and related fields. Foreigners can be registered here only if having permanent residency. If you do not have permanent residency in Slovakia, you have to pay advance deposit in the amount of the borrowed document value (in case you intend to take the document home and not study it in the study room).
SLOVAK ECONOMIC LIBRARY EUBA
Slovak Economic Library is the academic library for the University of Economics in Bratislava. The Library also fulfils the function of the scientific library focused on economic and related sciences, the only one in the Slovak Republic, and it offers services to the external users as well. It provides library and information services to over 30 000 registered users every year. Library is located on 2nd – 4th floor of the old building of the University of Economics in Bratislava.You can become its member with your valid ID card (or passport in the case of students or academics from abroad) and pay the registration fee.
LIBRARY OF THE SLOVAK NATIONAL MUSEUM
This library is a central library of the network of museums of the Slovak Republic. It belongs to the network of specialized libraries in the Slovak library system. It offers its services to the public but if you are not an employee of the Slovak National Museum, you cannot take the books home but only study them on the spot.
ADDRESS: Vajanského nábrežie 2
Author: Zuzana Mytna