The Skala Bartizal Library is a welcoming place to find information about Czech and Slovak history and culture, perform scholarly research, or discover more about your family history.

The collection includes books, periodicals, musical recordings and sheet music, videos, and archival materials. Visitors to the Reading Room may browse books about history and politics, immigration, customs and traditions, folk and fine arts, music, and food as well as other topics. Items in the Library are intended to be used on site and are non-circulating.


Tues – Sat: 9:30am – 4:00pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

About Collections

About Collections

The Skala Bartizal Library collects materials pertaining to Czech and Slovak history and culture in a variety of formats. The materials described below provide an overview of the major parts of the library’s holdings. Contact library staff for more information about these collections and other resources of interest.

What We Collect

The Skala Bartizal Library collects library materials that document Czech and Slovak history and culture within both the European and American contexts. The Library also collects materials about other ethnic groups that have had a presence in the Czech and Slovak Lands, namely Germans, Jews, Hungarians, Carpatho-Rusyns and Roma (Gypsies).

The main languages of the collection are English, Czech and Slovak. Preference is given to English-language materials, as available, and materials produced by the Czech-American or Slovak-American community. The Library selectively acquires foreign-language materials published in the Czech Republic, Slovakia or the former Czechoslovakia.

Types of materials we collect:


The book collection includes materials written in English, Czech, and Slovak and covering topics such as history, politics, art, music, literature, and genealogy. Use our online catalog to search for books.

Magazines, Newspapers and Periodicals

The Skala Bartizal Library has a collection of more than 50 current periodicals that are available in the reading room. The library also has a large collection of periodicals that are uncataloged. Contact the library for more information about holdings.


The Skala Bartizal Library has an extensive archival collection of manuscripts, photographs, personal papers and documents, and organizational records. A few notable collections are described below:

Institutional archives of the Czechoslovak National Council of America (CNCA)

Given to the NCSML by the CNCA in 2002, this collection consists of meeting minutes, correspondence, publications, press releases, member lists, and more. Many materials are in Czech.

Lyra Society sheet music and archives

The NCSML acquired this collection in 1997 from the Lyra Society, a Czech singing group headquartered in Chicago. The majority of this collection consists of songbooks and sheet music in English and Czech; other materials include ledgers, letters, and programs.

Pospishil letters

Forty letters written by John Pospishil while fighting for the Union Army during the Civil War. A native of Bohemia, Pospishil wrote these letters to his parents in Linn County while serving in Company K, 22nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry in Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Mississippi. They are written in Czech using German script and have been translated. Digital copies of the letters can be found at the State Library of Iowa web site: Click here to view.

Burian collection

Items collected by Ludvik Burian, a Czech immigrant to America who served as a relief worker for the YMCA in Bratislava during and after the First World War. Materials include wreckage from Milan Stefanik’s fatal plane crash; lantern slides featuring Czechoslovak Legions and Slovak folk life (379 total); a memorial scrapbook; photo-postcards of Czechoslovak Legions; and newspapers published by the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia.

Czechs in Cedar Rapids archival collection

Czechs in Cedar Rapids Finding Aid

Items related to the Czech American experience in Cedar Rapids, Linn County and the greater Iowa area. Collection includes photographs, theater programs, newsletters and other ephemera related to Czech organizations, Czech American families and Czech Village.

NCSML archives

NCSML Archives Finding Aid

Materials related to the Czech Fine Arts Foundation and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. (The Czech Fine Arts Foundation founded the NCSML). This collection consists of two series: materials related to the business of the NCSML and materials related to the events and programs hosted by the NCSML.

Legion Arts/CSPS collection

Legion Arts/CSPS Finding Aid

Items donated to NCSML by the Legion Arts Foundation in Cedar Rapids. Materials in the collection are primarily related to the various CSPS/CSA lodges.

František Kún

František Kún Finding Aid

Items in this collection are related to František Kún, who immigrated to the United States in 1865 and settled on a farm in Tama County, Iowa. He was the first pastor of a small group of Protestants near Ely, Iowa.

Oral Histories

Recording Voices & Documenting Memories of Czech & Slovak Americans

This project recorded over 300 interviews of Czechs and Slovaks who immigrated to the United States during and after the communist era in Czechoslovakia. Formats include digital tapes and .wmv files stored on hard drives. These interviews are available for research and viewing; however, advance notice is preferred so that library staff can convert them to a viewable format. For more about the project, view the Oral History web page.

Czechs in Cedar Rapids

This series, recorded by the Czech Fine Arts Foundation from 1981 to 1986, consists of 28 interviews totaling 32 tapes. Formats include VHS and digital tapes.

Investigating Iowa’s Czech Heritage

These interviews were recorded in eight different communities in Iowa in 2007 and 2008. Formats include digital tapes and DVDs.

Phonograph Records

The Skala Bartizal Library holds the largest collection of Czech and Slovak recorded music outside of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Library’s collection of phonograph records is significant and unique because it documents a continuous 80-year span of Czech and Slovak recorded music, representing a variety of musical genres and playing styles as expressed in the United States and in former Czechoslovakia. Holdings include more than 2,000 78 rpm phonograph records of popular music (mainly polkas, waltzes, and marches) recorded from the 1910s to the 1950s; nearly 1,000 33 rpm LP records of popular and classical music recorded from the 1950s through the 1980s; and 230 45 rpm records of popular music recorded in Czechoslovakia during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact library staff for more information about specific holdings.

Topics of interest include:

  • history and politics
  • community histories
  • biographies
  • immigration
  • folk and fine art
  • folk costumes
  • customs and traditions
  • religion
  • music
  • agriculture
  • food/cooking
  • genealogy


The Skala Bartizal Library has a collection of genealogical materials that may be of interest to those researching their Czech or Slovak family histories. Because of the complexity of family histories and genealogical searches, library staff and volunteers are unable to perform the substantive research required to construct your family history. However, we can assist you in identifying relevant sources within the library and can help with questions about the original spelling of placenames and surnames. We can also recommend other resources outside the NCSML that might provide additional information.

NCSML Genealogical Resources

Begin your search at our online catalog. Tip: use the search term “genealogy” or “family” along with the name you are searching.

Czech and Slovak Genealogy Websites

Czech Genealogy Resources

Cyndi’s List – Czech Resources

Czech Family Tree (links to regional and city archives, census records, military records, and more)

Family Search – Czech Genealogy

Foundation for East European Family History Studies – Czech Resources

Global Gazetteer – Directories of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Czech Republic

My Czech Roots (links to various records that are preserved within the 100+ State-run archives)

Nase Jmena (surnames and surname distribution in Czech Republic)

Slovak Genealogy Resources

Article: Searching for Ancestors in Slovakia

Centro Consult – Research in Slovakia and the former Austria-Hungary

Cisarik.com (list of Slovak villages and surnames in those villages, and more)

Cyndi’s List – Slovak Resources

Family Search – Slovak Genealogy

Foundation for East European Family History Studies – Slovak Resources

Global Gazetteer – Directories of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Slovakia

Slovakia & Environs Genealogy Research Strategies
(links to vital records, census records, military records, and more)


Carpatho-Rusyn Genealogy Resources

Carpatho-Rusyn Genealogy

Carpatho-Rusyn Knowledge Base – Rusyn Genealogy Index

Carpatho-Rusyns of Pennsylvania

The Carpathian Connection (information about Rusyn towns and destinations in the US)

Jewish Genealogy Resources

Center for Jewish History Genealogy Guide: Czech and Slovak Republics

Family Search – Czech Republic Jewish Records

Family Search – Slovakia Jewish Records

Geni – Jewish Czech

Geni – Jewish Slovak

JewishGen – Austria-Czech Database

JewishGen – Austria-Czech Special Interest Group

JewishGen – Hungary Database (includes former Hungarian regions of Slovakia and Sub-Carpathian Ukraine)

JewishGen – Hungary Special Interest Group (includes former Hungarian regions of Slovakia and Sub-Carpathian Ukraine)

JewishGen – Sub-Carpathia Special Interest Group

Other Genealogy Resources

Czech-American TV (tool for discovering possible name changes, and more)

Ellis Island Passenger Search

Find A Grave (details about cemeteries and people buried in those cemeteries)

Onward To Our Past – Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, and Czech Republic Knowledge Hub Page

Small Towns: Southeastern Jones County, Iowa and its European origins

Czech and Slovak Genealogy Organizations

Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois 

Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International 

Texas Czech Genealogical Society 

Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center, Inc.

Donate Library Materials

Donate Library Materials

The Skala Bartizal Library accepts donations of library materials from individuals and organizations. Please contact library staff to discuss potential gifts before bringing or sending them in. Doing so provides library staff an opportunity to make sure the items being offered fit the Library’s collection development guidelines and do not duplicate current holdings. We may ask that you provide a list detailing the materials that are being offered. Note: unsolicited materials may be given to other organizations or discarded at the discretion of library staff.

Items accepted by the library will be documented in a Certificate of Gift. Items sometimes have unique stories associated with them. Please provide as much of this information as possible, which will be noted in the Certificate of Gift.

Please note that we cannot provide appraisals or place values on donations for tax purposes. It is the donor’s responsibility to determine fair market value or to seek guidance from a tax adviser or attorney. More information can be found in IRS Publication 561 “Determining the Value of Donated Property.”

Library Staff

Library Staff

David Muhlena

David Muhlena
Library Director
319-362-8500 x202

Leroy Bradway

Leroy Bradway
Cataloging Librarian
319-362-8500 x109