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Great Polish libraries

Posted on 27. Aug, 2015 by in Culture, Literature, Science

Many predict that the digital age will wipe public bookshelves clean, and permanently end the centuries-old era of libraries. As libraries’ relevance comes into question, librarians face an existential crisis at a time when students need them the most. Despite their perceived obsolescence in the digital age, both libraries and librarians are irreplaceable for many reasons.

Not Everything is Available on the Internet (Nie wszystko jest dostępne w Internecie): The amazing amount of useful information on the web has, for some, engendered the false assumption everything can be found online. It’s simply not true. Google Books recognizes this. That’s why they take on the task of digitizing millions of books from the world’s largest libraries. But even if Google does successfully digitize the sum of human knowledge, it is unlikely that the sum of contemporary authors and publishers will not allow their works to be freely accessible over the internet. It is already prohibited by law to make copyrighted books fully accessible through Google Book search.

Another important thing: the Internet isn’t free (Internet nie jest bezpłatny). Numerous academic research papers, journals, and other important materials are virtually inaccessible to someone seeking to pull them off the web for free. Rather, access is restricted to expensive subscription accounts, which are typically paid for by college libraries. Visiting a college library in person or logging in to the library through your school account, is therefore the only way to affordably access necessary archived resources.

There are some amazing libraries in Poland! You should definitely try to visit them in your spare time. Lots of them have a unique architecture, an impressive collection or a modern technology. Places, I would like to share with you, stand out among the others.

The University of Warsaw Library (Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie)

The UW Library is one of the most important Polish libraries. A modern building consists of two parts: a commercial area (shops, cafes, offices) and a library space (reading rooms, a lending room, open stacks). Both structures are covered with an amazing garden. It is opens for all visitors, not only for students and employees.

We can distinguish to parts – lower and upper garden which are connected with lots of paths and bridges. During a walking we can admire a wide range of plants. Definitely a fish pond and a small fountain are noteworthy. When you see swimming ducks, fishes, blue or pinkish-white trees and shrubs, you will never think that this is the Library’s roof!

Certainly everybody will enjoy a visit here, and working in the office with an outstanding panorama of the whole Warsaw is without a doubt a pleasure.

FOT. ZIEMOWIT WARDECKI / AGENCJA GAZETA

My own photo taken 3 years ago

My own photo taken 3 years ago

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Another great library to visit is The Jagiellonian Library in Kraków (Biblioteka Jagiellońska w Krakowie). History of the Jagiellonian Library is combined with the Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński) which was established in the fourteenth century. A quantity and a diversity of collection is a reason to including the Library to the National Repository. Many rare books like medieval manuscripts or a collection of Polish underground literature can be found here. The main building has ten various reading rooms. The greatest is the Main Reading Room, also called Lectorium, can fit in 164 readers and allow using the reference collection which contains the newest and most important books from all the fields of knowledge. Bookshelves itself are impressive. They are situated on the two floors in each side of room. An imposing stained glass window on the ceiling let a light in. Additionally, old-fashioned, heavy, wooden tables create an exceptionally pleasant atmosphere.

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As always, please let us know about your experience with Polish libraries:) We would love if you share them with us in comments below.

What international festivals in Poland would you like to see?

Posted on 12. Aug, 2015 by in Countries, Culture, music

Poland is a place where many cultural events happen, no doubt about that! Throughout the years big Polish cities organized a bunch of festivals. Their range vary from smoky jazz sessions and students days to serious classical music performances. There are also all kinds of folklore and sailor festivals. Here are some of these great festivals

One of the oldest is Wratislavia Cantans (Check this website out for more details) an international music and fine arts festival organized in Wrocław since 1966. It’s creator was a conductor, director of Philharmonic and composer Andrzej Markowski. Thanks to this excellent artist Wrocław might see live performances of numerous masterpieces of oratorio music by Monteverdi, Bach, Händel and others. His successors (Tadeusz Strugala, Lidia Geringer d’Oedenberg and Andrzej Kosendiak) first extended festivals’ formula, including chamber concerts, recitals and the visual art presentations ballet, opera in concert or film version and instrumental works, to back once again to vocal music. This festival takes place every Autumn (this year September 6-19th). So if you are a connoisseurs of classical music, reserve yourself time in September to visit Poland!

05.09.2002 PARADYZ KONCERT BRYTYJSKIEJ SKRZYPACZKI RACHEL PODGER Z ORKIESTRA ARTE DEI SUONATORI FOT.MARCIN LOBACZEWSKI / AGENCJA GAZETA TCGWR Co Jest Grane - Wroc³aw SLOWA KLUCZOWE: MENEL MENELE ZDJÊCIE DO WK£ADKI: TCGWR Co Jest Grane - Wroc³aw

Another great festival to see is  “Warsaw Autumn” (Warszawska Jesień). It is a festival with a long tradition and a true witness to music history. It is the only contemporary music festival in Poland on an international scale and with an international status. This annual event was founded in 1956 by two composers and dedicated to contemporary music. The aim of this festival was and is to present new Polish and world music. Established in hard times of comunism was an island of creative freedom and art. It’s formula was always based on ecltecticism in its positive meaning. You can find there not only musical radicalism, references to tradition, past and culture that it’s connected with but also an audio-art or sound instalation. Nowadays there are books and musical records published after each edition. This year it takes place September 20th through September 30th.

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Also a very important event is happening in Kraków: the Jewish Culture Festival. The First Festival took place in 1988 and it function as a field of dialogue between Jewish and Polish cultures. It was also a good occasion to talk about lost matter of Auschwitz and especially Auschwitz Concentration Camp back then. But next year brought a different adjustment and this festival became a place of meetings Jews and non-Jews from all over the world and sharing the living Jewish tradition. There are films, performances, presentations, and exhibitions to see. Presently there is also a possibility to participate in creating that tradition as there are organized workshops in Hasidic dance and song, Hebrew calligraphy, Jewish paper cutting and cooking. Every year festival is bringing more and more guests interested in celebrating life, Jewish culture and trying to build good relations.

Concert Jewish Culture Festival Krakow

If you ever took part in any of these festivals in Poland, please share it with us in comments below. I personally would love to hear about your experience!

Jaka dziś pogoda? What’s today’s weather?

Posted on 10. Aug, 2015 by in Vocabulary, weather

From the scorching summer days spent sipping piwo (beer) in the park, to the leg deep, powder snow of Poland’s winter ski resorts, the eerie thick mists that smothers Kraków’s spires in autumn, the Baltic winds that crash against its coast, and the crashing rain that sporadically punctuates the colder months, when it comes to weather (pogoda) Poland has something of a mixed bag.

The word most meteorologists will use to sum Poland up is, ‘unpredictability’. With potentially scorching summers, and equally as superlative winters, there’s little room for guessing what’s going to happen year on year in Poland. But, while in my experience the boundaries between Winter (zima – think of the adjective zimny, meaning ‘cold’) and Spring (wiosna) can be blurred (with snow possible right into late April), Summer (lato) is usually extremely pleasant, can start early, and last late into the Autumn (jesień) months.

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And here is some useful weather vocabulary:

blizzard – zawieja
to blow – wiać
climate – klimat
cloud – chmura
cloudless – bezchmurny
drizzle – mżawka
dry – suchy
fog – mgła
foggy – mglisty
frost – mróz
frosty – mroźny
glazed frost – gołoledź
gust of wind – poryw wiatru
gusty – porywisty
hail – grad
heat – gorąco
heat wave – fala upałów
heavy rain – ulewa
hot – gorący
ice – lód
icy – lodowy; lodowaty
it’s raining cats and dogs – leje jak z cebra
low – niż
meteorologist – meteorolog
rain – deszcz
rainbow – tęcza
sandstorm – burza piaskowa
shade – cień
sky – niebo
snow – śnieg
snow drift – zaspa
snow storm – śnieżyca
snowy – śnieżny
sticky – parny
storm – burza
sultriness – duchota
sun – słońce
sunny – słoneczny
temperature – temperatura
thaw – odwilż
thermometer – termometr
thunderbolt – piorun
thunderstorm – burza z piorunami
to measure – mierzyć
umbrella – parasol
warm – ciepło
weather – pogoda
weather forecast – prognoza pogody
wet – mokry
wind – wiatr

What’s today’s weather? – Jaka jest (dziś) pogoda?

Is the sun shining? – Czy słońce świeci?

The storm is coming – Burza się zbliża/Idzie burza