Library activity in Budva has a tradition of over 150 years. Today the Public Library of Budva has 60,000 books in its collections, mostly fiction, and about 11,000 titles in all fields of human knowledge and creativity, which makes it one of the richest public libraries in Montenegro. It is located in the building of a local institution of higher education, “Akademija znanja”. It also has its branch library "Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša", in the memorial house "Crvena komuna" in Petrovac. The Public Library of Budva boasts exceptionally rich programmes that include evenings with authors, promotions of magazines, and the like.
Brief history of library activities in Budva municipality before the formation of the Reading Club
The beginnings of library activities in the municipality of Budva cannot be dated and connected exclusively with the creation of the first reading clubs. Certain functions of library activity existed much earlier and were performed by monastic libraries. There were seven Orthodox monasteries in the Budva area and a Benedictine one in the city itself. There were four monasteries in the territory of Paštrovići alone – Praskvica, Duljevo, Reževići and Gradište – in which rich collections of books and old documents were stored. Various invaders destroyed or plundered many of these books. Today, Praskvica has a rich library of old and contemporary editions; about 8,000 titles that are available for public use. The oldest among them is the Psalter in Old Greek from 1692, and the most valuable book, the property of the monastery library, is the manuscript of the Four Gospels in Old Church Slavic, illustrated with images of four Evangelists and coated in silver. Analyzing numerous documents from Paštrovići, we come to the conclusion that literacy has been developed in this area since medieval times, at least from the 15th century, according to dating of certain documents. While keeping the faith, the monasteries preserved the ethnic characteristics, language and customs of the people, and were the educational and cultural centres with the first schools and the first libraries. In the immediate vicinity of Budva lays the Podmaine monastery, the former residence of Montenegrin bishops. Bishop Danilo was buried there, and Njegoš stayed in it while writing some of his works. The Stanjevići monastery also had a library and was a residence of the Montenegrin bishops Sava, Vasilije and St. Petar Cetinjski. Njegoš also wrote his philosophical poem "The Ray of the Microcosm" in this monastery. It is documented that the renowned figure of the Serbian Age of Enlightenment, Dositej Obradović, taught children literacy in the monasteries of Budva, whereas language reformer Vuk Karadžić stayed in them on several occasions. A number of archival data testify to the richness of book collections in the monasteries, as well as the correspondence of Karadžić with his associate Vuk Vrčević. In the Middle Ages Budva had a school, and the Budva Statute (XIV century) mentions a teacher. It is noteworthy that in the 17th century the renowned Baroque librettist Krsto Ivanović taught children literacy. Collections of old and valuable books have also been preserved in the church of St. Ivan (Catholic), as well as in the church of St. Trojica (Orthodox). One of such books is the Chronicle of Dr. Antun Kojović (four volumes).
Establishment and work of the Reading Club
(second half of the 19th century)
Significant social changes on the world scene in the 18th and 19th centuries influenced the local conditions, too. The Illyrian movement and the idea of ​​national revival inspired the desire for national emancipation, the development of education and culture, and the unification of the South Slavs. Budva gave a writer and politician Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša, whose works have largely determined the direction of cultural and educational activities not only in Budva, but also in the area of ​​Boka and Dalmatia. It is not possible to establish with certainty the time when the organized work of reading clubs in the area of ​​Budva began. In “Srpski dalmatinski magazin” (the Serbian-Dalmatian magazine) of 1864, which was published in Zadar, one of 25 subscribers was the Reading Club of Budva. After Risan and Kotor, Budva had the oldest reading club in Montenegro. At the end of the XIX century, it was located on the first floor of the house of a local merchant, Tomo Luketić. It was named "Srpska čitaonica” (Serbian Reading Club). The Reading Club was subscribed to editions of “Srpska književna zadruga” (the Serbian Literary Cooperative) and regularly received Montenegrin and Serbian press, as well as magazines – yearbooks with cultural and literary content. "Glas Crnogorca" and other newspapers were thus available to the readers, as well as "Obzor" from Zagreb. The Reading Club Board was elected at annual assemblies, and the Club was funded by membership fees and voluntary contributions. The Reading Club was actively engaged in organizing cultural and entertainment programmes with a national character. Its activities were focused on gathering patriots to fight Austria and on connecting with the liberation movement in Montenegro. Memories or members of the former Reading Club document celebrations organized on the occasion of the victories of the Montenegrin and Serbian armies in the Balkan Wars. Also, the celebrations of St. Sava’s Day and other holidays were organized. At that time, David Ljubiša, Špiro Luketić, Milan Petrović, Mitar Rađenović and Savo Zambelić were mentioned among others as particularly active members of the Reading Club. The Austrian authorities were closely monitoring the work of the Reading Club, whose members had to walk the thin line between being liable citizens of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and being passionate patriots.
The work of Sokol societies
(the first decade of the 20th century)
At approximately the same period, a Croatian society "Sloga" was formed in 1900. It had a reading room with a small library. Adhering to the ideas of cultural autonomy within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this society was especially active in organizing cultural and entertainment programmes and had its own brass band ("Croatian Music"). Good mutual relations in the spirit of spreading a sense of brotherhood and respecting religious and other customs, it all formed the basis for cooperation between "Sloga" and the Serbian Reading Club. It was common for members of the two societies to meet and provide mutual help at each other’s events. These cultural societies contributed to formation of local societies on the model of the "Czech brothers". A visit of a large group of Sokols from Prague gave impetus to formation of Sokol societies in our region at the beginning of the 20th century. Two such societies were formed in Budva within the reading clubs. The Croatian Sokol was formed in 1910. Two years later, in 1912, the Serbian Sokol was formed. Its work was violently aborted by the decision of the Austrian authorities in 1914, after the outbreak of the war. After the liberation in 1918, the work of the Reading Club and the Sokol societies continued under the name "Društvo čitaonica - Budva" (The Reading Club Society – Budva). However, due to difficult economic circumstances, the Reading Club was not particularly active. From the preserved archival material of the Reading Club Society, as well as from the archives of the Sokol Society, it appears that the Reading Club was founded in 1926. The societies voluntarily decided to unite. At that time, the Reading Club Society had 75 members which regularly paid a fee of five dinars. The Reading Club Society had its own premises, a library, and was subscribed to several newspapers. Activities on the expansion of theatre amateurism and the organization of cultural and entertainment programmes were conducted by "Srpsko diletantsko društvo" (Serbian Amateur Society), which was established in Budva in 1923. As the The Reading Club Society merged with the Sokol Society in 1926, this led to the merger of the Croatian society "Sloga" with Sokol Society. In this way the Croatian reading club stopped working as an independent organization and integrated into the joint Sokol Society of Budva.
Period after the Second World War
The work of the Reading Club within the Sokol Society was interrupted during the Second World War. After the liberation in 1946, Budva’s Library with a reading room was opened. It worked as an independent institution until 1960, and then it was merged with the Public University. During the integration of cultural institutions, the following organizational units entered the Public University: Cinema in Budva, Cinema in Petrovac, Library with a reading room in Budva, Library with a reading room in Petrovac, and the Archaeological Museum in Budva. The Library then had about 3,000 books and received 26 different newspapers and magazines, while the reading room had 22 seats. In 1965 it had 350 members who borrowed about 2,000 books, and the reading room had about 6,000 visits. The Library worked until 1967 as part of the Public University. On 2 November, 1967 the city council of Budva decided to establish the Centre for Cultural and Artistic Activities and the Library became part of the Centre. Onl 10 July, 1972 it was renamed the Cultural Centre, and on 26 December, 1978, the Cultural Centre was renamed the Cultural Information Centre. During the Library's work within the Cultural Centre, the Old Town was rebuilt after the earthquake, and it was envisaged that in 1987 the Library should move to the building in the Poets’ Square, which later turned out to belong to the Catholic Church. The imaginary connection of the Library with the Poets’ Square was, of course, an acceptable idea when popularization of books is concerned. The architect Slobodan Mitrović made a project for adaptation of the building. However, after the appeal and protest letters sent by the Catholic Church, and after the completion of works at the interior that were payed by the city council of Budva, the building was returned to the Catholic Church without compensation for the funds invested. A tacit agreement was made that the Catholic Church would allocate the space of the Santa Maria in Punta church to the Theatre City during the summer period.
Public Institution “Museums, Galleries and the Library” (1991-2014)
In December 1991, a decision was made on establishing the Public Institution "Museums, Galleries and the Library", and at the beginning of 1992 the Institution's acts were adopted. Over the years, only the names of the institutions within which the Library functioned changed. Till 1979 the Library was located on the first floor of the Cultural Centre "Gojko Krapović". A large number of books have been destroyed during the earthquake, without any records in the archive. In January 1980, the Library moved to the basement of the elementary school "Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša", in the space in which the premises of the Music School are located now. In the spring of the same year the Library space was flooded. According to the employees of that time, 2,089 books were destroyed with no trace of them in inventory books. In 1986, the Library moved to the reconstructed building of the Cultural Centre "Gojko Krapović" into a customised ground floor space. The only movie production company in Montenegro, "Zeta film", registered in the cadastre the entire building and charged rent to all cultural institutions, including the Information Centre. From these funds "Zeta Film" financially secured its work. During the years, huge funds were given for lease of the premises in which the Library was located. From 1992 to 2003, there were aimed activities in order for the city council of Budva to bring a decision to build a new building on the land next to the old post office. The land was the endowment of Tomo Luketić, in whose house the first Reading Club of Budva worked. The project for the Library building on the mentioned land was done by Vladimir Luketić, but the construction was not completed. In 2014 the “Zeta film” building was privatized and the Library remained a tenant. In 2010 it moved to the newly built building of “Akademija znanja”, still a tenant. Since 2014, the Library became an independent institution once again, by the name JU “Narodna biblioteka Budve” (the Public Library of Budva).
The role of the Reading Club in “Zeta film” in popularizing literature
The Library and the Modern Gallery were sharing space in the building of “Zeta film” until June 1992. After the Modem Gallery was relocated to the Old Town, a new reading room with 20 seats was opened. Over the years the Library organized cultural programmes in the improvised reading room, with the Subject Literature, Reference and Local History Collections moved in. There was a piano, too. In addition to book events, recitals of elementary school pupils, plays of children from nursery school and promotions of local authors, the Library organized book exhibitions, art students’ exhibitions, concerts of pupils from a primary music school, as well as foreign language courses. Constant enlarging of the Library’s collections was reducing the space of the reading room, and finally it was no longer possible to organize programmes there. Instead, programmes were organised at other premises: in the Hotel Mogren, in the amphitheatre of the secondary school, and later, in the Modern Gallery in the Old Town. The most famous authors were guests of the Library – not only in the field of belles-lettres, but in all areas of knowledge: history of art, medicine, architecture, law, and economics. Oliver Injac, Vladan Matijević, Mirko Kovač, Svetislav Basara, Eva Ras, Daša Drndić, Gordana Ćirjanić, Ratko Božović, and many other writers are among them. Special attention was payed to authors from Budva. Until 2003, following the concept of accorded activities of cultural institutions in Budva, the work of the Library was in coordination with the work of schools and the Theatre City. In this way the programmes, as well as cultural and promotional activities of the Library, were mostly realized in the period from September to July.
The 140 years of work jubilee (2004)
For its 140 years of work jubilee, the Library received the most significant municipal award – the November award. In the same year, for the first time in the history of the Library, its workers went on strike due to unpaid salaries, performing the minimum working process – four hours a day. This year will be remembered for the selling of the “Zeta film” building. Nevertheless, the Library continued its tenancy in it. On the occasion of the jubilee, money from the November award was used for the purchase of computers and scanners. Compared to 2000, when the book collections were enlarged with 2,918 books, in 2004, 2.8 times less books were purchased. During this period, the Library had 70,115 books, of which 57,226 in the main library in Budva and 12,889 books in the branch library in Petrovac. The Library also received daily newspapers "Vijesti", "Dan", "Pobjeda" and "Politika". In 2004, it had 971 members in Budva and Petrovac. Thanks to the sponsors, funds for the traditional visit of librarians to the International Book Fair in Belgrade were raised.
Present day (since 2006)
Until the end of 2006, the Library worked on the enlargement of the collections but also on improving conditions of work, which primarily related to the purchase of computers and related equipment, the networking and the introduction of an ADSL line for Internet traffic. It was all a preparation for transition to a new library system – COBISS. The status of a full member in the library-information system COBISS provided conditions for continuous education through professional consultations, workshops, courses and seminars. Visiting book fairs had a tendency to expand. In addition to Belgrade and Podgorica, employees were able to visit almost all neighbouring fairs: in Sarajevo, Novi Sad and, for the first time, Book Fair in Zagreb. An agreement was reached with the publishing house “Fraktura” from Zagreb on the purchase of books by Croatian publishers. The Public Library of Budva was thus among the first in Montenegro to establish cooperation with publishers from ex-Yugoslav countries after nearly two decades. In addition to daily newspapers: "Vijesti", "Pobjeda", "Dan" and "Politika", subscriptions to culture and social issues magazines "Plima plus" and "Ars" were made. A subscription to "Matica“, a journal for social issues, science and culture, published by “Matica crnogorska”, was also planned. Cataloguing of library material is done according to international standards: ISBD(M), ISBD(CR), ISBD(A) and the UDC. The General Collection is available for loan outside the Library, whilst the Reference, Subject and Local History Collections are available for in-house use. All collections were catalogued in the BIBLIO program, and with the acquisition of licenses, records are gradually being transferred to the COBISS.
The oldest book in the Library dates back to 1887. Acquisition of current and retrospective library material is done mostly by buying, but also by exchanges and gifts. If a unit could not be bought or acquired in other way, photocopying or scanning of publications (especially periodicals) is possible. Book donors are individuals and institutions. From the long list of donors, many existing and former institutions can be mentioned: the Adriatic Fair, the Budva Riviera, Montenegroturist, Montenegro Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management and the Universal Bank of Budva. We can also mention publishers and cultural institutions, such as the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, the National Library of Montenegro "Đurdje Crnojević", Oktoih and Unireks; as well as individuals, among them the Medin family, PhD Miroslav Luketić, Vesna Vasović, Ivanica Lalić, and many others.
The Local History Collection
According to the national Library Law, one of the basic tasks and obligations of municipal public libraries is the establishment of local history collections. The Library of Budva formed the Local History Collection in 1990. Organized work on collecting library materials related to the local history dates since then. To begin with, publications which the Library held in its possession were withdrawn. Together with determining acquisition needs for the Local History Collection, the Library began to collect and/or photocopy materials from private libraries, from public institutions and companies, publishing houses, archives, public and national libraries. The most important help was provided by the Historical Archive of Budva, led by PhD Miroslav Luketić.

Recognizing the gravity of the project, the Library sought help from institutions, local autors, cultural workers, and authors of numerous published and unpublished papers that deal with, or explore the cultural past and present of the municipality of Budva.

The Local History Collection is a special collection of the Public Library of Budva. The Collection consists of a library material that refers to the territory of the municipality of Budva as a geographical, ethnic, historical, cultural, economic and political area.
This Collection comprises of works of all authors born in Budva, as well as of authors born in the territory of the municipality of Budva, even if this is created outside the borders of the municipality and outside the state borders of Montenegro. The library material by authors who are not indigenous, but have been living and working in the municipality of Budva for many years, and whose creativity influences the development and affirmation of the local community, are part of the Local History Collection, too. The Collection also includes all works that were published on the territory of the municipality, regardless of its content and of place of birth of its author, as well as promotive material and proceedings from scientific meetings held in the municipality, even though their authors and the topics may not be related to Budva. The material of the Collection includes: monographic publications printed and otherwise multiplied, periodicals, old and rare books – manuscripts, cartographic publications, graphic maps and engravings, printed music, non-book material (tapes, vinyl records, films, photographs, postcards, video tapes, CD disks and contemporary multimedia carriers), and official documentary and informative material from local institutions, organizations, societies and associations. All this qualifies for the Collection without time and language limitations. All monographic publications of the Local History Collection have been processed In the UNESCO CDS/ISIS library program BIBLIO. The work on "Primorske novine" is currently under way.
Local newspaper “Primorske novine”
The first issue of this journal was published on 13 July, 1972. It was a local newspaper with solely informative function. It was published twice a month on eight pages. At the time there were no daily newspapers, radio stations or television. There were only Radio Titograd and "Pobjeda", a newspaper published twice a week. Therefore, “Primorske novine” was extremely significant. In 1974, the situation in the republic was somewhat better. "Pobjeda" switched to daily paper, TVCG started, and the number of correspondents from the former Yugoslavia and from Budva increased. By the middle of 1987, "Primorske novine" was published twice a month, and during the summer of the same year a new issue appeared every ten days. This lasted only for a few months. From the summer of 1988 to September 1991, it was published once a month, and before the end of 1991, one issue was published on several months. From then, until 22 November, 1994, the newspaper ceased publishing, and by 2002, it was published monthly on 24 pages. From September to October 2002, texts from other coastal cities were included in "Primorske novine". At that time, the newspaper had 20 pages. In 2003, due to a new media law in Montenegro that forbade the state and municipalities to finance the media from the budget, the newspaper ceased to egsist. At that time seven local newspapers ceased to be published: "Boka", "Barske novine", "Cetinjske novine", "Nikšićke novine", "Polis" ("Titogradska tribina"), "Sloboda" from Berane and "Bjelopoljske novine". "Pljevaljske novine", which was privatized, was the only newspaper which continued to be published.
Branch library “Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša” in Petrovac
The first reading club in Paštrovići was formed in 1890 in Kastel Lastva (Castellastva), today's Petrovac, under the name "Serbian Reading Club”. Its programmes resembled those of similar reading clubs in other coastal towns. In the second half of the 19th century there was an undoubted commitment to the national language within the idea of national revival. The desire to have books in mother tongue and accessible to a wider circle of people was the starting point for the establishment of the Reading Club. On St. Sava’s Day in 1891, the first president of the Reading Club, Stjepo (Stefan) Medin, together with Ivo Perazić, provided a donation for the purchase of furniture for the Reading Club. In addition to the above two, the teacher Jovo Javor and the painter Marko Gregović were mentioned as founders of the Reading Club. Members of the Austro-Hungarian army were banned from visiting the Reading Club. The work of the Reading Club was based on raising awareness of importance of education and struggle for the liberation from the occupiers. Many locals and emigrants from Paštrovići helped the work and development of the Reading Club. A subscription was made to several newspapers and magazines: "Glas Crnogorca", "Srpska riječ", "Dubrovnik", "Bosanska vila", "Vrač i pogađač", and "Srđ". Books from Cetinje, Belgrade, Novi Sad, and other places were purchased. In 1906, the Serbian Reading Club Society built its own building that was destroyed in the 1979 earthquake.
In 1911, the first Sports and Sokol Society was founded within the Reading Club. During the First World War, the work of the Reading Club was interrupted. It continued in 1919. In January of the same year, after the administrative division of Paštrovići into two municipalities – Petrovac and Sveti Stefan – the Reading Club in Petrovac continued its work independently, according to its rules and regulations. Particularly noteworthy were the activities of the Reading Club from 1920 to 1921, in the period when Petrovac was declared the first communist municipality in the coastal area. In addition to the Sokol Society, the Tourist Association "Primorje" was founded within the Reading Club in 1925, as well as the Cultural and Educational Society "Primorje", which had its brass band until the Second World War. The Reading Club’s library was especially successful after the liberation. In 1965, it had 2,500 books and a reading room with 26 seats. It had 95 members, received 11 newspapers and magazines, and had a four-hour workday.
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ISSN 2950-7715

COBISS.CG-ID 21844740