Thousands of books are being moved from the Clementinum, which houses the National Library, after an accident left parts of the building flooded. The library has not said whether the cause is related to the heavy precipitation of recent days. More than 4,000 historical and foreign volumes had to be evacuated and the reference centre closed on Thursday as water ran into offices and gallery spaces. The water was quickly pumped away however the shelves are soaked. The affected areas will be opened again on August 8.
In related news, the former interior minister Martin Pecina, unsatisfied with the results of the Social Democrat congress, has said he will give up his seat in the Chamber of Deputies. The MP told internet news website iDnes that he respected the result but would not keep his seat as he disagrees with the party's policy towards the coalition cabinet. He also made clear he had been given little room to operate within the top party leadership, either as a shadow cabinet minister or deputy leader. Mr Pecina had supported Michal Hašek for party chairman. The politician – who rose to prominence as the former head of the Czech National Library – said that while he would give up his post, he would not give up his membership in the Social Democratic Party.
The project of renowned Czech architect Jan Kaplický for a new and futuristic national library building in Prague has been rejected by the new head of the library. Director Tomáš Böhm said that money for such a building, nicknamed the blob, was simply not available. He added that the library’s biggest priority at the moment was to tackle the shortage of storage space for its collection. A new library building might be thought about in five to 10 years with a new competition likely launched for the design, he said.
The documentary “Eye above Prague”, by the Czech filmmaker Olga Špátová, won an award for the best documentary at the 26th Warsaw International Film Festival on Saturday. The documentary depicts the last two years in the life of the Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický, who passed away in January 2009, and whose project of a new National Library building for Prague was scrapped. The festival jury said the film captured the emotional state of a man who outran his times.
Prague City Hall has unexpectedly expressed interest in renewing talks on a new National Library building according to a controversial design by the late Czech-born, London-based architect Jan Kaplický. Mr Kaplický's avant-garde design, nicknamed the Blob, divided public opinion and plans to build it on Letná Plain were scuppered by city councillors last year. According to the daily Mladá fronta Dnes, city hall officials have now approached Kaplický’s widow with a new proposal, suggesting the Blob could be built on Letná at the site of a former giant statue of Stalin, which was pulled down in the early 1960s. Mrs. Kaplický is reportedly willing to cooperate. The paper attributes Prague City Halls’ u-turn in the matter to the upcoming local elections.
A new documentary about thwarted plans to build a futuristic National Library building in Prague premieres in the city on Wednesday night. Entitled Oko nad Prahou (The Eye above Prague), the film records the victory of Jan Kaplický in the Czech Republic’s first international architecture tender with an ultra-modern design nicknamed the “Blob”, and the subsequent shelving of the plan following opposition from President Václav Klaus and others. The Czech-born Mr Kaplický, who was 71, died in January last year on the day his wife gave birth to their first child.
The National Library is currently holding a special exhibit of the work of the first printing press in Bohemia. The seven original works made by anonymous printers in Plzeň in the late 15th century have been out of the public eye for 34 years. Foremost among them is the Trojan Chronicle, which for more than a hundred years has been at the centre of debate over when Czechs first began printing.
This year marks the 60 year anniversary of the famous children’s books publisher Albatros, which had a monopoly on the market before the end of communism in 1989 and remains to this day the publisher of the most popular titles in children’s literature. As part of the anniversary, an exhibition in the Prague National Library gives children a chance to experience the adventurous world of their favorite cartoon characters firsthand.
In the same interview with TV Prima, Jiří Paroubek said that if his Social Democrats won early elections, to be held this October, then they would consider building late architect Jan Kaplický’s controversial National Library building. The structure, nicknamed ‘the blob’, won an international competition two years ago, but construction of the building was then blocked by Prague City Hall after President Vaclav Klaus voiced his objections to the design. On Sunday, Mr Paroubek said that the Social Democrats would consider building the library near Prague’s Ruzyně Airport, though he conceded that this location was not ideal for the structure. The leader of the Social Democrats added that the construction of the library would be subject to a legal review and several alterations in design. After architect Jan Kaplický died this January, thousands signed a petition to have his National Library building built.
The world of Czech culture is in mourning following the death of the renowned architect Jan Kaplický, who passed away on the evening of Wednesday 14th January. The loss is not just a major one for the Czech Republic, but a deep personal one for his family – Mr Kaplický aged 71 died from sudden heart failure, on what his family described as one of the greatest days in his life – he was just three hours into celebrating the birth of his daughter Johanka - his wife still in hospital. The sudden loss has thrown the full spectrum of Kaplický’s life,