- Library membership: HUF 1.500,- / year (HUF 750,- / half a year)
- Membership fee for Kecskemét Card holders: HUF 1.200,- / year
- Reduced membership: HUF 600,- / year
The reduced fee can be paid by students, pensioners, members of KKDSZ (Trade Union of Workers for Public Collection and Public Education) and KDFSZ Independent Trade Union of Library workers) and the physically disabled.
The membership is free of charge for those under 16 and over 70 years, members of Otthon Könyvtár, the blind and partially sighted, workers of libraries, museums and archives.
The membership fee is valid for 12 months as from the day of registration.
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Brief history of Katona József Library
In the last decade of the 19th century more and more attention was given to the development of public education and the cultural affairs in Hungary.
In 1894 a governmental decision was reached with the aim of organising libraries and museums in the counties. Since 1897 the supporters had been allowed to claim for considerable state grants in order to be able to run their institutions.
Taking into consideration the considerable amount of the state grant, in 1897, at the suggestion of Elek Kada, mayor of the town, the Council of Kecskemét Municipal Borough made a decision about the foundation of a public library. That library still was not separated from the museum and the archives in terms of its structure. Its location was a temporary one in the large room being on the second floor of the Town Hall built in 1896.
The stock organised by Károly Szilády, an archivist, comprised mostly the historical and legal books, out of use, of the municipality.
In 1898 the museum and the library came under government control.
In 1899 the Council determined, in a decree, the amount of funds necessary for the library maintenance and acquisitions. That amount was annually supplemented by a state grant.
Since that time the collection development has been effected gradually and according to plans determined by the library committee organised in the meantime.
The library was defined as the most effective medium for the spread of knowledge, the European culture and the good taste. Thus the library planned to acquire documents in the Hungarian language, publications related to Kecskemét and the basic titles of some important branches of science (history, law, statistics and economy), dictionaries and the translations of the literary classics from all over the world.
The main part of the titles was acquired from among the publications of MTA (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Franklin Társulat and Atheneum Rt.
There are several valuable legacies that passed into the library’s ownership, too. These are as follows: in 1899 the books of Frigyes Pesty, a historian and a writer; in 1923 the collection of Áron Szilády, a historian of literature and the Calvinist pastor in Halas (that collection comprises invaluable Eastern manuscripts and ancient Hungarian books); in 1924 the library of Mihály Horváth, the MP representing Kecskemét; and the Podmaniczky - Sréter Collection containing mainly titles written in foreign languages.
Due to the gradual expansion, the library needed a bigger and bigger place. In 1906, it was the gallery on the ground floor of the Town Hall that was furnished for library purposes. There, owing to the temporary location, the library still could not be a wholly public one.
In 1911, Károly Szilády was appointed as the director of the library and the museum. The Archives became a separate institution. It is that same year that the question of a new library building was brought up, too, but only a portion of the state grant promised by the ministry was given to the library and that amount was not sufficient for the construction of the planned palace of culture.
After the death of Károly Szilády, in 1934 József Garzó, then in 1937 Ambrus Szabó was appointed as director. It was Ambrus Szabó who took an inventory of the whole book-stock. According to its result, the collection comprised 21.222 titles in 39.000 volumes.
Destruction of the war in the forties has caused a great deal of irreparable damage in the holdings. Almost the whole collection of the Ancient Hungarian Printed Materials and Ancient Hungarian Books has been perished.
The next important date in the history of the library is the 26th October 1952 when the Council of Ministers enacted the organisation of county libraries. The county library in Kecskemét was established as legal successor of the Municipal Library on basis of its holdings.
On the 29th April, 1955 the library adopted the name of József Katona, the great Hungarian dramatist, son of Kecskemét.
Katona József County Library’s scope of duties has been considerably increased since the sixties. The professional and methodological management and support of the libraries in Bács-Kiskun County, the organisation of the movement for promotion of reading in the county and the organisation of library support for Kecskemét and its catchment area were all its duties.
The seventies meant a quality change of the professional work. Linked up with the name of the director (1972-1986), László Lisztes, the library’s catalogue system, acquisitions policy and bibliographic work have become well known in the country.
The tripled collection could only be stored only with the help of several external stack-rooms namely the library still served its considerably augmented reading public in a small place being in the building of the Town Hall.
It is in the second half of the eighties when the planning of a new library construction started. In 1985 the Bács-Kiskun County Council invited tenders. In 1989 the winners of the competition (architects Péter Mátrai and György Major, IPARTERV and the interior designer Imre Batta, INTERDESIGN) were commissioned to prepare the final design.
The professional program of the new library as well as the professional supervision of the construction is connected with Mária Ramháb who has been the director of the library since 1991.
The foundation stone of the new library was laid on the 11th December, 1993 and the new building was inaugurated on the 16th August, 1996.
During the first five years in the new building, the library has become the library having the biggest number of visitors in Hungary. It has some 350.000 visitors per year and 28.000 registered members who borrow more than 370.000 library documents. Preserving its traditional library functions, this model library has been of more and more importance among the institutions providing information and at the same time it has become a considerable cultural institute, too.
Katona József Library is one of the most frequently visited public libraries in Hungary. It offers a variety of library services for each age group in conformity with the professional requirements and the users’ needs, while constantly developing its activities.
The library works according to and in compliance with the user-oriented TQM-Total Quality Management.
Main aspects of our quality policy are as follows:
Quality requirements apply to each staff member of the library, cover all the services and affect the working environment, generally speaking, the system embraces everything in the library (hardware, software, leadership and human resources measures).
The services of our library: our main task is to provide services at a quality that fulfils the needs of readers and users
The objective of the staff is to serve the users in a quick, polite and reliable way and to improve continually the work processes.
We always work with respect to the current law being in force, while making sure it is respected, pursuant to the regulated frame that meets the requirements of the profession and the partners and we document the performance.
We do analyse the causes of the defects in quality experienced by the staff, indicated by the partners or revealed by investigations so that we can prevent their repeated occurrence.
Transparency and openness
We continuously publicise the current information of public use in connection with the services, the changes and the results achieved. We provide opportunities of various kinds for the partners to express their views.
The management of the library provides an opportunity for the staff members both to make progress in the profession and to develop humanly. While making decisions, it pays attention to the staff members’ suggestions and gives priority to the further education of staff and to develop the way of thinking with focus on quality.
When we use the budgetary resources related to the basic activities, our main objective is the economic efficiency. The whole staff is committed to obtaining external support, grants and other help necessary for the improvement of the quality of services.
The leadership committed to quality assurance
The use of performance indicators helps the management to evaluate the services and to determine the direction of their development. In order to improve the quality of the library services, the management adopts another two methods: benchmarking and self-evaluation.
Our library strives for a concerted and continuous inspection and a quick implementation of corrective and preventive actions in order to achieve the maximum satisfaction of our partners.
The equal access to the library services is guaranteed by the following
• the central library is in the downtown
• easily accessible both on foot and by means of public transport
• a ramp helps to enter the building that has full disabled access to all areas inside
• at the main entrance the door is automatic
• there is a lift in the public zone
• the user can ask for a wheelchair
• there are separate special lavatories for the disabled
• there is enough room between the bookshelves
• communication accessibility: at five information points as well as in the large room, those with hearing aid are assisted with induction loop
• flash lamp and fire alarm warn people as soon as fire is detected
• a special lane is marked out in the library in order to show the persons with visual impairments where to move along in the building
• Eclips Reader machine, Braille, JAWS Screen Reading software and magnifiers are at the disposal of the visually impaired
• several staff members have completed a basic course of sign language interpreter
• the title of ’Baby friendly place’ was awarded to our library by the National Committee for Support of Breastfeeding
• a Baby friendly room is waiting for nursing mothers and their babies
Further information can be asked by phone 76/500-557 and by emailing muszak [at] kjmk.hu