Great Polish libraries Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Culture

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.


My own photo taken 3 years ago

My own photo taken 3 years ago


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.



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

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.