Jelsa’s Regional Library
Jelsa’s Regional Library and Reading Room contains books, journals and comics, as well as a multimedia collection including audio, audiovisual and other types of electronic equipment. Library users also have access to computers with internet connection and games for the youngest. There are some books in languages other than Croatian.
Services offered at Jelsa’s Library
- Book loans to library users
- Inter-library loans
- Guidance to enable library users to find books and information materials for themselves
- Help in directing library users in their choice of books or materials
- Help for using the library equipment
- Use of computers and internet
- Reservations for using the equipment
- Providing access to the Heritage and Reference collections
- Photocopying and scanning documents
There is a modest fee for use of the library facilities.
The Library’s Mission
The mission of Jelsa’s Regional Library and Reading Room is to provide a place where all of Jelsa’s residents and guests can enjoy reading, learning and gaining knowledge, with the aim of improving their literacy and cultural awareness alongside their spiritual and democratic potential. There are facilities for getting to know and use the benefits of new technology. It is a place for spending free time in creative, high quality activities. In keeping with modern democratic principles, the library’s use has no restrictions on the basis of age, sex, social status, nationality, faith, race or any other characteristics.
The Basic Vision
The Library’s vision is based on the national and international legal and strategic documents governing the library profession. A library should be a place for lifelong learning, accessible to all; the cultural centre for the local community; somewhere which guarantees access to local, regional and global sources of knowledge and information; a place which nurtures the local cultural and historical identity, customs and traditions; a factor helping to improve the quality of life of every individual citizen at any age; and an element in the economic and social development of the local community and society as a whole.
The Library holds regular events throughout the year aimed at all age groups. Organized in partnership with the local elementary and secondary schools, the kindergarten, Jelsa’s Regional Museum, and various groups of citizens, institutions and societies, authors and volunteers, the Library hosts educational lectures, courses, literary and musical evenings, book launches, exhibitions, workshops for children and adults, plays, quizzes, educational and entertaining film shows, among other programmes.
In summer there is a regular special event for pre-school and early school-age children called ‘Children’s Summer in the Library’, which consists of a multi-purpose themed presentation. It has been running successfully since 2015.
History in brief
The National Reading Room in Jelsa was founded on June 1st 1868, and was the first specifically Croatian Library on the Dalmatian Islands. Its aim was to promote education, culture and national awareness. Its motto was ‘From Education to Freedom’. The library’s founder and first President was Jelsa’s long-serving Mayor, Captain Niko Duboković. Among its honorary members were Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer and Don Mihovil Pavlinović.
At first, the Library was situated in small premises on the Pjaca (Jelsa’s main square), which is now called the Square of Croatia’s National Revival ( Trg hrvatskog narodnog preporoda). There is a plaque on the building where the Library was. When it outgrew these premises, it was moved in 1896 to the new Town Hall building on the waterfront, a move facilitated by the cooperation between Jelsa’s citizens and the authorities, underpinned by the region’s prosperity. The new building became the seat of political events in Jelsa, and a symbol of Jelsa’s individuality. Jelsa’s library throughout its history has always contributed to cultural, educational and overall progress in its area.
The National Reading Room was re-formed as Jelsa’s Regional Library on April 23rd 1939, and then re-constituted as Jelsa’s Regional Library and Reading Room on April 14th 1998.
Sadly, on November 10th 2003, a huge fire destroyed almost all of the Library’s books, some 12,000 of them. However, an appeal was launched by the regional newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, stimulated by local journalist Mirko Crnčević, and in collaboration with the Zagreb City Library and the Split ‘Marko Marulić’ City Library, donations came from innumerable sources, from Croatia and from abroad, to replenish the Library and allow it to function again.
Jelsa Council, helped by the Croatian Ministry for Culture, took great trouble to renovate and equip the new library in the House of Culture building on Toma Gamulin Square (the ‘Fountain Square’, at the back of the Town Hall). The celebratory opening of the new Library was held on August 14th 2014, on the eve of Jelsa’s Feast Day. Still in the centre of Jelsa, the Library is now fully equipped to modern standards with technical equipment, as well as providing attractive space for the various cultural and educational events which it now hosts there.
How to reach the Library
Coming in to Jelsa on the main road from the bus station, heading towards the seafront, the Library building is on the right at the far end of the Fountain Square. The Library is on the upper floor. The entrance is in the alley on the left side of the building as you approach it from the square. The door, on the right side of the alley, is marked, and the library’s opening times are posted by it. You go up the stairs to the Library at the top. Unfortunately, there is no access for wheelchairs.
Address: Općinska knjižnica i čitaonica Jelsa
Trg Tome Gamulina, 21465 Jelsa
Director: Maja Vukić
Telephone +385(0)21 761 237
Facebook: Knižnica Jelsa