The National Library of Poland
is the central Polish library, subject directly to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland was formed on 31 October 2005, from transformation of Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland.The ministry is concerned with various aspects of Polish culture....
The library collects books, journals, electronic and audiovisual publications published in the territory of Poland, as well as Polonica published abroad. It is the most important humanities research library, the main archive of Polish writing and the state centre of bibliographic information about books. It also plays a significant role as a research facility and is an important methodological center for other Polish libraries.
The National Library receives a copy of every book published in Poland as legal deposit
Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The requirement is mostly limited to books and periodicals. The number of copies varies and can range from one to 19 . Typically, the national library is one of the...
. Jagiellonian Library
Jagiellonian Library is the library of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and with almost 6.7 million volumes, one of the biggest libraries in Poland, serving as a public library, university library and part of the Polish national library system...
is the only other library in Poland to have the status of national library
A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books...
There are three general sections:
- The Library
- The Bibliographic Institute of the National Library
- The Book and Readership Institute
The National Library's history has origins in the 18th century (Załuski Library) including items from the collections of John III Sobieski
John III Sobieski was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, from 1674 until his death King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and...
which were obtained from his grand daughter Maria Karolina Sobieska
Maria Karolina Sobieska was a Polish noble lady, daughter of Jakub Ludwik Sobieski. Known as Marie Charlotte or just Charlotte, she was the Princess of Turenne and later Duchess of Bouillon by marriage...
, Duchess of Bouillon.
On 24 February 1928, by the decree of president Ignacy Mościcki
Ignacy Mościcki was a Polish chemist, politician, and President of Poland . He was the longest-serving President of Poland .-Life:...
, the National Library was created in its modern shape. It was opened in 1930.
Its first Director General was Stefan Demby, succeeded in 1934 by Stefan Vrtel-Wierczyński.
The library collections were to be accommodated in several places, e.g. in some rooms of the School of Economics. In 1935 the Potocki Palace in Warsaw became house for special collections.
Before World War II, the library collections consisted of:
- 6.5 million books and journals from 19th and 20th centuries
- 3,000 early prints
- 2,200 incunables
- 52,000 manuscripts
- maps, icons and music
In 1940 the Nazi occupants changed the National Library into Municipal Library of Warsaw and divided it as follows:
- Department of Books for Germans (located in the Warsaw University building)
- Restricted Department, containing books that were not available to readers (located in the then main seat of the library - the School of Economics)
- All special collections from various Warsaw offices and institutions (located in the Palace of the Commonwealth)
In 1944 the special collections were set ablaze by the Nazi occupants as a part of repressions after the Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...
. 80,000 early printed books, including priceless 16th-18th century Polonica, 26,000 manuscripts, 2,500 incunabula, 100,000 drawings and engravings, 50,000 pieces of sheet music and theater materials were destroyed.
Today the collections of the National Library are one of the largest in the country. Among 7,900,000 volumes (2004) held in the library there are 160,000 objects printed before 1801, over 26,000 manuscripts (including 6887 music manuscripts), over 114,000 music prints and 400,000 drawings. The library collections include also photographs and other iconographic documents, more than 101,000 atlases and maps, over 2,000,000 ephemera, as well as over 2,000,000 books and about 800,000 copies of journals from 19th to 21st centuries. Notable items in the collection include 151 leaves of the Codex Suprasliensis
, which was inscribed on UNESCO's
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...
Memory of the World Programme
UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction...
Register in 2007 in recognition of its supranational and supraregional significance.