The Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow

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History of the Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow began in 1856, when the Cracow Learned Society received a new statute listing the Library among its departments. In the same year the president of the Society Franciszek Wężyk initiated the construction of Society’s building in Sławkowska Street. It housed the new book collection. After Cracow Learned Society transformed into the Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAS) in 1872 the Library was established in the new structures as the Library of the AAS. In 1892 the Library opened its reading room to the general public. In 1914 the Library of the AAS owned 44’108 books, 778 maps and atlases, 1’820 manuscripts and 330 diplomas.

In the interwar period the Library of the renamed Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (PAAS) has grown significantly. Thanks to the exchange and generous donations (e.g. from Rev. Jan Fijałek and Kazimierz Waliszewski) it acquired numerous materials. Library’s collections were gradually catalogued. Before the outbreak of the World War the Library of the PAAS had 196’000 printed materials and 2’074 manuscripts. In November 1939 the Nazi occupant closed the Library and transported its collections to the new building of the Jagiellonian Library, where they were included into the collections of the General Government’s Staatsbibliothek. Therefore, the Library’s war losses were relatively small. 2 diplomas on parchment, 17 manuscripts that were on loan in other libraries (in Warsaw, Vilnius,  L’viv,  and  Rzeszow),  7’500  books,  and  some,  unspecified,  amount  of  graphics  from  our  collections  perished  during  the World War II.

In years 1945-1950 the collections were gradually transported from the Jagiellonian Library back to the PAAS. Unfortunately for the Library, in 1952 all of the Academy’s assets were appropriated by the newly established Polish Academy of Sciences. The Library was once again renamed and until 1999 it functioned as the Library of the PAS in Cracow. On the 20 October 1999 the re-established PAAS and the PAS signed the agreement that restored the PAAS’s Library. Items acquired by the PAS were left as a deposit in the Library. Since January 2000 the institution functions in the PAAS structures as the Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow.

Currently the Library has six departments responsible for acquisition, cataloguing, and lending the collections, care of Graphic and Special Collections, and reprographic services. We continue to collect and catalogue our collections. Since 1991 we have the online catalogue of new books and we gradually add to it 19th- and 20th-century books. In 2011 we began including early printed books in the online catalogue. We also publish our catalogues and monographies, present our collections on exhibitions, and organise our digital collections.


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