MZK - Moravská zemská knihovna. A modern library with a section dedicated to foreign language books. A peaceful place to read and study, with a nice café, too.
- Kounicova 65a
Founded in 1808, MZK is the second largest library in the Czech Republic – with over 4 million books. Primarily aiming to support research, it covers a wide range of areas such as humanities, natural sciences, technology, medicine etc., all accessible through an online catalogue.
Registered members can use a reading room with an impressive stock of newspapers and magazines (Czech and foreign) and access a number of licensed databases.
The 2nd floor houses foreign libraries: English, German, Austrian. They also have an American Corner with lectures and free movie nights.
You can borrow books, dictionaries, teaching/study materials, magazines, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and more. It’s possible to pre-register online and finish the registration in person. And while you’re at it, pop in the café on the ground floor!
Jiří Mahen Library
A modern library with a section of English books (and other language, as well). A peaceful place to read and study right in the very centre of the city.
- Kobližná 4
Brno’s public library, founded by writer and journalist Jiří Mahen in 1921, boasts 33 branches throughout the city and offers not only books but lots of other items and opportunities, available also to those who do not understand Czech.
You can take out books in various languages or an electronic reader. Browse through their online catalog here.
You can try to delve into the Czech mentality by checking out a local movie with English subtitles. If you don’t know where to start, Lee Adams, an expat from Brno, wrote tens of reviews for the classics and not so classic Czech films – browse through his list here.
The Music Dpt. offers a huge selection of CDs and other study material. You can become a volunteer there via the Europe Direct centre or just come and enjoy the library space or local café with your book or use the wi-fi.
Parents with babies will appreciate the Family Point while children or teenagers the cosy nooks with toys and games in the Children’s Department. There’s also a Senior point.
There are many events happening every month, although not all of them are English-friendly. The calendar is at your disposal here.
Any foreigner can become a member. If you are a European citizen and you don’t have your temporary residence card, you can still register but you’ll pay a deposit. Step to the registration counter and show your ID and proof of residence. It’s possible you end up talking with a non-English-speaking clerk, so prepare the Czech sentence “chci se zaregistrovat (jako čtenář)” in advance. The fee for one year is 200 CZK. You can use the same membership card in any of their 33 branches throughout Brno. Find the one that’s closest to you.
Masaryk University libraries
Even though the rules for non-academic users vary from library to library, usually the materials can only be used inside the library. Also, there’s usually no access to the internet and licensed databases for the public.
Brno is home to three language institutes – Österreich Institute, British Council and Alliance française. There you can also find foreign language books, teaching / study and AV materials. Again, registration is needed before you can borrow anything.
Österreich Institute and British Council only have a limited selection of materials offered on the spot but actively cooperate with the Austrian and British sections of the Moravian Library. But in Médiathèque – the library of Alliance Française – they offer an interesting selection of books, magazines, CDs and DVDs in French language.