CHARACTERISTICS - Čaplovič Library

A separate single-storey building for the purposes of the Čaplovič Library was built between 1905 and 1911. in May 1911 the collection began to be moved to the new building, with the main section of the library located on the first floor along with a reading room and librarian's office. On the ground floor was the librarian's apartment, one room serving the Dolný Kubín reading society, and other rooms displaying rare documents, antiques, curiosities and ethnographic items from Orava. Lending of books began on 1 January 1914.


The library building is registered in the list of cultural monuments. Today, study and library deposits are located in the right wing of the building, where the rare book collection was moved after the adaptation of the building for the needs of the P.O. Hviezdoslav Literary Museum, which opened in 1954. Two librarians currently work in this part of the library. They are the successors of their 17 predecessors since 1840.


Founder Vavrinec Čaplovič (5 August 1778 Jasenová - 25 December 1853 Bratislava) had already started collecting books as a 14-year-old boy during his studies in Banská Bystrica , as evidenced by the records of his handwritten catalogue. His collection activities initially focused on his native territory of Orava. From 1810 he became the personal secretary and archivist to the head director of the Orava estate of Count František Zičy (Zichy). After moving to Bratislava in the service of the Zičy family he accessed a rich source: the Western European book market (Vienna, Linz, Budapest , Veszprém, Prague, Leipzig, Halle, Berlin, Ulm, Potsdam, Augsburg, etc.). He purchased books at various booksellers, antiquarians, binders and printers (J. Schweiger, J. Landes, Lippert, S. Mandl, Hochschorner, F. Korn, Rath, Hertzl, Mayer). He also received some from his fans and friends (J. Gyurikovits, Prof. J. Palkovič, M. Hamuljak, Prof. Fabry, M. Holko Jr., J. Čaplovič, P. Kubinyi, M. Bencúr, J. Török, J. Kovachich, Ľ. Štúr).


The culmination of Čaplovič's collecting activity was his praiseworthy act of 1839, when by a deed dated 15 April he donated his private collection to Orava. At the time of the donation this contained 20,000 library items and part of the gift also comprised many museum objects. The deed also contained information on the subsequent management of the library (well-designed spaces, library equipment, librarian's duties). At a municipal ceremony on 24 May 1839 the deed was read and Čaplovič's gift was received with enthusiasm. The library was declared the property of Orava, which committed to maintain and enhance it. The collection was then transported in 14 shipments from Bratislava to Dolný Kubín between 1839 and 1851. After this noble act Vavrinec Čaplovič added to the library for the rest of his life. He kept a record of all his books in a handwritten catalogues - of which, from the original 14, the Čaplovič archive has preserved 13. In sixty years of collecting (from 1 November 1792 to 26 April 1852) he spent a total of 63,455 gulden and 23 kreuzer.


The book collection of the Čaplovič Library was organized and catalogued by various librarians. The library is currently based on the most recent cataloguing, conducted by Dr. Ján Smetana in the interwar period. According to his classification, old print titles are divided into 12 major groups by discipline, and four other groups. In the 1990s the recording of new acquisitions began in the Newly-Created Collection (active acquisition of titles) and Reference Library. For better orientation we indicate the number of library items in each group:

Bibliography, lexicons 2,234
Theology 4,862
Philosophy 2,528
History and geography 12,065
Sociology 1,303
Law 1,601
Philology 2,693
Fiction 3,603
Mathematic 2,289
Natural sciences 11,911
Art 1,665
Reviews and miscellaneous 38,145
R (rare) 594
C (manuscripts) 302
P 817
K 1,465
NF (Newly-Created collection) 3,899
Reference library 1031
Total: 93,007 library items (as of 31st December 2015)


In the rare collection of the Čaplovič Library are Slovak, European and international works. In the collection are 25 incunabula (i.e. publications printed before 1500). The Slovak Ministry of Culture - Cultural Heritage Section, based on a proposal by the Slovak National Library in Martin, on 4 May 2007 declared a historical book collection comprising 25 incunabula. Books from the 16th century comprise 1,408 bibliographical units, according to the catalogue of 16th century publications.


Outline results of the technical processing of certain parts of the collection:

Between 1992 and 1994, 1,293 works of art from the library's collection were professionally processed. After three years of effort this very valuable and original collection from the 17th - 19th centuries was made available to the professional and general public; it includes, for example, proposed theatrical scenery, portraits, reproductions of paintings and sculptures, architecture, botanical illustrations, and drawings with a wide range of authors and themes.
Another interesting part of the library's wider collection are old maps from the 17th - 20th centuries. Among these are some that first showed the territory of Orava, but also other parts of Slovakia and the former Kingdom of Hungary, as well as maps of other countries in Europe and worldwide. Between 1994 and 1997, 1,607 maps were processed. Of these, 144 had a Slovak character - being maps of the territory of Slovakia and its parts (maps of counties, river basins, municipalities and the like). In 2000 - 2007 the work continued for specialized areas - namely, the collection of old atlases from the 16th - 20th centuries. One hundred and sixty-four bundles of different editions of atlases which had been located in various parts of the collection were identified, with famous authors and publishers such as Ptolemy, Ortelius, Homann, Mercator, Blaeu and others, containing a total of 7,644 maps of various lands from all the continents of the earth.


The manuscript collection was given proper attention in 1996 - 2000. The entire manuscript collection dates from the 14th to 19th centuries. Six ancient manuscripts had already been catalogued (Sopko, Medieval Latin codices in Slovak Libraries, 1981, p. 153-158). In the Čaplovič Library there are 284 complete and 18 incomplete manuscripts. Latin is the main language, often in combination with other languages, for example Slovak, Hungarian, German and Greek. In terms of other languages we also find Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Italian, Spanish, French, English and others. Manuscripts are focused on notes, correspondence and excerpts from various journals and books, but there are also original works of literature. The Slovak Ministry of Culture - Cultural Heritage Section, based on a proposal by the Slovak National Library in Martin, on 1 December 2008 declared a historical library collection of 302 manuscripts.


Since 2001 the Čaplovič archive has been working on a transcription of bibliographical data, diaries and the Latin translation of some parts of diary manuscript catalogues of founder Vavrinec Čaplovič. Of the original 14 catalogues, 13 were preserved. It was possible to carry out research into Germanic works in the collection, research publications in the territory of Slovakia in the 18th and 19th centuries, continue research into titles of an ethnological character from the 16th to 19th centuries, and conduct new research into the territory and languages of Poland and Bohemia. Each year the library prepares thematic exhibitions for schools and the general public, as well as lectures and presentations on various interesting personalities represented in the library's vast collection. The regular part of the library also provides library and information services for researchers as well as other activities related to the protection, fulfilment, storage and processing of the collection.

The historical collection of the Čaplovič Library is relevant to the present day. All are invited to uncover its diverse richness and timeless message. We are pleased to invite you to the Čaplovič Library.