How to get a library card and borrow books in Croatia

Knjižnica Vladimira Nazora in Zagreb, Croatia
Knjižnica Vladimira Nazora in Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 26.5.2023.

Want to borrow books from a public library in Croatia? Fortunately, the process of getting your own library card is not complicated.

Having a library card allows you much more than borrowing books. You can also borrow magazines and other materials from the library and access the library’s online resources, including e-books and online databases.

Since the information available online is mostly in Croatian, we have prepared this post to successfully guide you in applying for your own library card. We also cover the Split city library international book club.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to find a library in Croatia?

If you do not know where the library closest to you is, the non-user-friendly interactive graphic (as shown in the below image) on the national library web site will help you find the branches in your city. It is available here.

map of libraries
Image by knjiznica.hr

Hover over the graphic to find your county, then click. A sub-directory for your county will open with a list of all the public libraries. From there, you can access the website of the library in your town or municipality.

Croatia also has some mobile libraries and libraries of national minorities. Find a list of mobile libraries here and national minorities libraries here.

Library services and policies can vary between libraries in Croatia. Ask your local library for specific information on their services and policies. 

How to become a member of a library in Croatia?

To join a library in Croatia, you need to visit your local library in person. They will ask you to provide an identification document like an identity card or passport.

[Read: How to apply for a Croatian passport]

In addition, you need to prove that you have Croatian residency. For foreign students, your student card will serve this purpose. For foreign residents, you may use your national ID card.

If you do not have residency in Croatia, try visiting the library of your choice and speak to the staff directly. For example, Dubrovnik public libraries make it possible for tourists to join the library.

After you provide the required documents, the librarian will give you an application form which you must fill out to get a library card. In some cases, application forms can be accessed online and filled out beforehand.

You will also need to pay the membership fee. Some libraries will only recognize payment receipts from a bank or post office as proof of transaction and some will also recognize internet banking confirmations. If a library does not take payments directly, be ready to make an additional trip to the bank or a post office.

[Read: How to pay bills (invoices) in Croatia]

In the end, the librarian will process your application and issue a library card. Library cards are always made on-site.

What is the membership cost for a Croatian library?

The cost of library memberships varies from city to city.

In Split city library, membership costs 13 euros for one year. You can view their price list here.

The membership in the Zagreb city library is 7 euros. View their price list here.

In most libraries, discounts are available for groups like students, the unemployed, children younger than 15, the elderly, and the disabled. Daily and monthly memberships are also available.

How to access Croatian university libraries

If you want to access academic literature, you may request membership to one of several university libraries in Croatia. They are in the largest cities: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, Pula, and Zadar.

You can learn more about university libraries in Croatia here.

Split city library of Marko Marulić

Gradska knjižnica Marka Marulića – GKMM Split (Marko Marulić City Library) is a network of libraries that currently consists of 11 branches (soon 13). Their central library has a collection of approximately 6.000 books in foreign languages for both adults and children. Books are available in English, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Ukrainian, etc. In 2022, they received the award for the Library of the Year.

In addition to borrowing books, members can use their computers and photocopying and scanning services. They can visit various cultural events the library organizes throughout the year, including exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, art workshops for adults and children, lego and lego-robotics workshops for children, and promotions of books written by local and foreign authors.

Split city library is always open to new collaborations and projects. If you are a foreigner and would like to lecture or organize a workshop in the library, you can contact them anytime.

Phone: +385 21 685 011
Email: gkmm@gkmm.hr

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How to sign up for a membership in Split city libraries

You can sign up for a membership in any library from their network. Visit a library and fill out the application form they will provide. Alternatively, you can download the form in English here or Croatian here. After you fill it out, send a scanned form to sredisnjica-pult@gkmm.hr.

In addition, you need to bring an ID card or passport and a photo which they will use to make a library card. Another required data is an OIB. However, if you are a foreigner without a Croatian OIB, they will skip this requirement.

[Read: How to Get an OIB Croatian Identification Number]

If you are a foreigner with Croatian residence outside Split, you can also sign up for their membership. Foreigners and tourists who stay in Croatia for a shorter period can get their quarterly membership for 6,50 euros or daily membership for 1,30 euros. You can view their price list here.

The library card is permanent and you don’t have to make a new one every year. You can pay for a membership at the library or via internet banking. If you pay online, send proof of payment to sredisnjica-pult@gkmm.hr

Split city library international book club

More and more foreigners are joining Split city library, so its librarian Marija Gabrijela Perić started an international reading club. The book club gathers foreign citizens who reside or permanently live in Split. They only read Croatian authors that have been translated into English.

In the book club, foreigners learn about Croatian culture, history, customs, and mentality through literature. You can also learn about Croatian culture in the following posts:

New members can join the book club at any time.

View our other book articles

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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