Prague Summer Seminar

Prague

The Prague Summer Seminar

The School of Information and Library Science and Charles University in Prague invite you on a journey to the heart of the Czech Republic. The 2014 program will be offered May 18 - May 31, 2014.

Prague, the magical city of cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Join us for this one-of-a-kind experience  designed specifically for library professionals. Tour the historic libraries, castles and museums in Prague and the surrounding Czech countryside. Highlights include the Old Town, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square; Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter, the Strahov Monastery, an evening cruise on the Vltava River, and visits to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Kromererizž and Cesky Krumlov.

Since 2002, SILS and Prague's Charles University have offered library students and professionals a chance to journey to the heart of the Czech Republic. Entitled Libraries and Librarianship in the Czech Republic, participants in this program will enjoy lectures and tours related to librarianship in this culturally and academically rich country that deals with a history of monarchy, empire, Communism and the meeting of east and west.

Bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland, the Czech Republic enjoys a position in the heart of Europe. This two-week summer seminar for library science students and professionals features lectures and tours relating to librarianship in this culturally rich country.  Organized in conjunction with Charles University, central Europe's oldest university at nearly 700 years old, this seminar will give participants the chance to immerse themselves in the libraries, culture and history of Prague and the Czech Republic.

The series of presentations is supplemented by a walking tour of the Old Town, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square; a bus tour of historic Prague, including Mala Strana, Nove Mesto, Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Jewish Quarter; visits to the Klementinum (National Library), the town of Kromeriz to see a castle library, the Parliament Library, and a tour of Strahov Monastery and its libraries. There is also ample free time to allow participants to explore on their own or to travel further afield in the Czech Republic or other nearby countries. Although the schedule for the seminar changes every year, please see this sample schedule for an idea of the activities participants can enjoy.

Testimonials from past participants:

"The seminar in Prague was a spectacular addition to my graduate studies. With the group I was able to see libraries and books unavailable to any tourist, or through any other program. The guides were attentive and put together creative and interesting programs and tours for us. We were treated like visiting scholars and colleagues. The Czech Republic itself is a quintessentially beautiful European country and we got to see quite a lot of it. I recommend this program to anyone!"

"The summer seminar in Prague on Libraries and Librarianship was hands-down one of best experiences while at SILS. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn across several disciplines and interests in the library science field. This gave me a better vision of the library science field and all that it entails. It raised new interests for me and has pushed me in a different direction that I had originally planned when I first arrived at SILS. Everyone was extremely kind and open to assisting our group with anything we needed while in PraguePrague. I felt like I made very dear friends that I will not hesitate to contact if I ever return to Prague. Also, I was able to see firsthand palace libraries, manuscript collections and special libraries that I would have never had the opportunity to see if it had not been for this program. It was rich in history and information that any budding librarian would love."

"The Prague Seminar has been in existence since 2002, and over that time a wonderful curriculum has been developed and refined to near perfection. Monday – Friday of each of the two weeks we were fully occupied, mostly with field trips within and beyond Prague, and also with lectures at Charles University. A factor that greatly enhanced the Seminar is that we always had with us at least half a dozen CZ students and faculty from the University’s library science program. We enjoyed their company immensely and of course get totally spoiled with our own personal guides and translators."

"Participating for two weeks in the Prague Seminar was a fabulous experience on all levels: professional, cultural, tourist, and interpersonal."

Accommodations

Participants stay in the City Centre Hotel, located in the heart of the city, only a few minutes walk from Prague's main Wenceslas Square, and the Old Town. The hotel is located across from the metro station at Nemesty Republiky and very close to a number of restaurants and stores. SILS will take care of lodging arrangements. Students do not need to make separate reservations unless they want to stay in Prague before or after the seminar.

Academic credit

The seminar is available for 3 hours of graduate credit from SILS. Participants are required to attend all class sessions and complete a research paper after the seminar ends about a topic discussed during the seminar and developed in conjunction with the SILS faculty advisor who accompanies the trip. Participants see firsthand how the democratization of the Czech Republic, formerly a communist state, has affected the accessibility of information, in both print and electronic forms. Please indicate your wish to enroll for credit on your registration form. If you decide to take this course for credit, the UNC at Chapel Hill Cashier's Office will bill you approximately $350. Contact the SILS program coordinator (SILSAbroad@unc.edu) if your institution requires further information about the course.

The 2013 course Web site is here.

Cost and registration

The registration fee for participants covers housing, instruction and a few meals. Most meals and airfare to and from the seminar are not included.

The price for this seminar is:

  • Shared accommodation (roommate): $3,950
  • Single accommodation (no roommate): $4,400
  • Participant plus guest: $6,700

A guest is defined as someone who accompanies you on the trip (usually a spouse) but does not participate in any of the instructional sessions and many tours.

The acceptable forms of payment are credit card (Visa or MasterCard only) or check. Checks must be received by April 1, 2014 to secure registration.  Full payment at the time of registration is required to reserve your spot.


To register, CLICK HERE

We recommend waiting to purchase your plane ticket until registration has been finalized in order to ensure that minimum attendance has been reached. If you need to purchase your plane ticket prior to April 1, or if you have additional questions, please contact Kaitlyn Murphy (SILSAbroad@unc.edu).

Cancellation policy

A monetary penalty will be charged to those cancelling their registrations. Cancellation requests received on or before February 28 10% penalty. Requests received between March 1 and March 31: 30% penalty. Requests received between April 1 and May 15: 60% penalty. Requests received after May 15: no refund

Testimonials

Semester in Prague Well Worth the Trip

by Susan Huffman (MSLS 2001)

I have only one word of advice to any student considering one of the SILS exchange programs - GO!

I spent the fall semester in Prague at Charles University, where SILS has an exchange with the Institute of Information Studies and Librarianship. Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to understand a different corner of the world, meet people from many countries and enrich my educational experience by learning about librarianship from a different perspective. While there, I took three courses and worked closely with two different professors. I completed an independent study with Richard Papik titled "Competitive Intelligence via Online Databases," which focused on CI resources for Central and Eastern Europe. I also attended his weekly online retrieval course, which gave me the experience of being in a Czech university classroom and interacting with Czech students.

Together with Dr. Stanley Kalkus I undertook a survey of special libraries in the Czech Republic. We visited a variety of libraries, including the Library of the Czech Parliament; the library of CERGE-EI, a joint academic program between the University of Pittsburgh and Charles University; the International Baptist Theological Seminary; the Patent Library of the Czech Republic; and the Libri Prohibiti, a library that collects Czech samizdat, which are underground writings from the communist era.

My visit to the Libri Prohibiti encouraged further research into Czech samizdat and I used this as the topic for my master's paper. Completing my paper while living abroad proved to be quite a challenge, but all problems were resolved with the help of my advisor, Dr. David Carr; SILS Student Services manager Lucia Zonn; and fellow SILS student Anna Cleveland. Dr. Carr and I corresponded solely via e-mail, swapping ideas and sending revisions of the paper as attachments. Lucia was a great help not only with the nuts and bolts of the paper, but she also helped out at the beginning of the semester when I completed my comprehensive exams via e-mail from Prague. The biggest obstacle to overcome turned out to be the most basic one - paper! As any SILS alumnus knows, the paper for printing must meet certain size and weight requirements.

With the writing and research aspects of my paper almost complete, I realized that European paper standards are different from those in the United States. After unsuccessfully scouring stationery shops and even calling the U.S. Embassy, I resolved the problem by e-mailing the paper to Anna and having her print it out stateside. A truly virtual master's paper experience!
Prague is simply an amazing place to live and study. While there, I lived in a dormitory for international students and came away with new friends from all over the world. In addition to my other classes, I participated in a beginning Czech language course. Because Prague is a popular tourist destination, most people in stores and restaurants speak English, but it is nice to be to say "Jedno pivo, prosim" and be understood.

I arrived in Prague in early October, just after the IMF/World Bank protests, and left a few days before Christmas. Christmas is cause for major celebration in the city, and features markets, concerts and other festivities. In between, I visited too many museums to count, saw the numerous sites of Prague, discovered the finer points of Czech cuisine (and the even finer points of Czech beer, the best in the world) and travelled to other towns near Prague such as Kutna Hora, Pilzen and Klatovy. I was fortunate that Czech native Pavla Skarlantova and I got to know each other while she was studying at SILS last year, and she proved to be a wonderful tour guide and friend. I even discovered a little bit of home while in Prague. I am a big fan of bluegrass music and I found that it is quite popular in the Czech Republic, with numerous bands picking and grinning in and around Prague.

Without exception, my experience in Prague was an excellent one. The professors I worked with made my educational pursuits challenging, interesting and most enjoyable. The city of Prague provided me with more extracurricular activities than I could have imagined. But the most valuable and rewarding experience was simply removing myself from familiar and comfortable surroundings and going to a different place to live and study.

The faculty at the Institute in Prague are excellent hosts and they are eager to have more SILS students studying with them. I encourage anyone interested in this unique experience to contact Dr. Barbara Moran for more information about opportunities in Prague.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2001 SILS Newsletter, Number 58.