Category Archives: Poland

John Paul II Municipal Public Library, Opole, Poland

Photograph by Andrzej Zatwarnicki
Photograph by Andrzej Zatwarnicki

Name of the Library: John Paul II Municipal Public Library in Opole

Street Address: Minorytów 4
Postal Address: 45-017 Opole,Poland
Telephone : 00 48 77 454 80 30
Web Address
Library Email

Type of Library :Central/ Main
Population served:
Project Type Refurbishment
Size (square metres): 2366 m2
Date of Completion October 2010
Architect Małgorzata and Andrzej Zatwarniccy

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The library building consists of two externally and stylistically different modules: the older module covers the nineteenth-century tenement with its neoclassical façade, whereas the simple form of the new one is made of glass with pylons symbolizing sheets of paper covered with Edward Stachura’s poems.
The architectural solutions enable people with disabilities to visit the library. The ramp, elevator, adequate door width and lack of doorsteps allow people in wheelchairs to enter the library.

The building consists of four floors. The ground floor holds the conference room (a space for literary meetings, discussions, concerts, conferences, and other cultural events), gallery (a space for art and literary exhibitions attracting attention with its unique atmosphere), photo gallery (a space for unique photographs and inspiring exhibitions), and café. On the first and second floors, there are lending departments, reading rooms, the Fairy Tale Room, and the media room. The third floor holds the Instructional Department, library stacks, and Library Administration.

Children’s Lending Department is the most colorful place in the library. You may find there books, toys, picture books, fables, fairy-tales, short stories, popular science books, comics, but also… the tree of wishes, the scientist’s room, board games, and computer stands. There is also place for family events such as Saturdays with Mum and Dad in Library, Night with Andersen, talks for preschoolers, reader accolades, literary and art competitions, meetings with favorite book authors.

The media room is a modern and fully computerized department of the Municipal Public Library, located on the second floor and having about 4 thousand items in its collection. It is equipped with audiovisual stands connected to the Internet and fitted with DVD/Blu-Ray players and the Office software, a great variety of multimedia: Polish and World Cinema, Blu-Ray films, book novelties, music and concerts, audiobooks in Polish and foreign languages, comic book collection, CZYTAK-s for the blind and visually impaired people, e-book devices designed for the purpose of reading digital books. The media room is a space for meetings with culture, film, art, and entertainment.

The Main Lending Department is fully computerized and offers its readers the collection covering about 52 thousand books on open shelves protected by the RFID system. The lending department offers Polish and foreign literature, popular science literature, help in literature choice, electronic book holds after opening hours, information  (via e-mail or telephone) about the library collection and book renewals. It is fitted with electronic lending system SOWA, self-service machines for borrowing and returning books, computer stands with the online catalogue access and online SOWA catalogue.
The press reading room offers all-Polish and local journals, sociopolitical weekly magazines, popular science, literary, and women’s magazines, weekly magazines in English, German, and French.

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The Main Reading Room and the Information Department offer over 4,5 thousand titles in the general reference collection, 2,7 thousand items in Book Cabinet, and about 1,1 thousand items in Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. In that department you may take advantage of the online reading room, regional and special collections, the European information point, interlibrary loan services, a keyword catalogue. You may also use computer stands connected to the Internet and fitted with text editors, juridical database LEX, services covering library, factographic, and bibliographic information, xerox copying, printing, scanning services.

The Municipal Public Library organizes library lessons for teenagers, courses for seniors in basic computer skills and online catalogue use, and a variety of regular cultural events such as: All-Polish Essay Competition, Opole Literary Autumn, A Literary Competition: A Legend About Opole, All of Poland Reads to Kids, Out of a Suitcase with a Book, Children’s Literature Days, Movie Café Festival, Opole Art Encounters, Book Clubs, English Language Zone, The Days of Opole, and The Night of Culture. It is also engaged in the project America@yourlibrary.

Awards, case studies, further information
The modern looks and original architecture of the library were appreciated in all-Polish competitions. The library came off second best in the plebiscite for the best architectural realization, The Form of the Year 2010, organized by web portal.
The library building won also recognition in the competition Poland Is Growing Beautiful – 7 Wonders of the European Funds, in which the most interesting projects subsidized by the European funds were awarded prizes. In one of the seven competition categories, namely Revitalization, the city of Opole was awarded the main prize by the Ministry of Regional Development for the project “Alteration, outward and upward extension of the Municipal Public Library building in Opole.”
The Library was also awarded the title of The Master of Reading Promotion in the year 2012.











University of Warsaw Library, Poland

Warsaw Wniwersity Library inside
Warsaw University Library interior


Name of the Library: University of  Warsaw Library
Parent Organisation: University of  Warsaw

Street Address: ul. Dobra 56/66
Postal Address: 00-312 Warszawa
Telephone : +48 22 55 25 660
Web Address:
Library Email:       

Type of Library:  Central/ Main
Population served: 2,500 per day
Project Type:
New Building
Size (square metres):  Total surface: 60 000 m 2 Library’s surface: 40 000 m 2 There are 1000 seats for readers
Date of Completion:  December 1999
Architect:Marek Budzyński, Zbigniew Badowski

Warsaw University Library exterior
Warsaw University Library exterior

The University of Warsaw Library is situated in Powiśle district, in the vicinity of the Old Town,  The Royal Route (Krakowskie Przedmieście street), the University Campus and  the Vistula river.
The University of Warsaw Library was founded in 1816. It is the main library of the University and one of the three largest collections of scholarly books in Poland.

The open stacks are organized according to the Library of Congress Classification system and the open stacks surface is divided in eight subject-areas.

The building consists of two parts : the front crescent-shape edifice assigned for commercial purpose (shops, cafes, offices) and the main 6-storey high building (2 underground levels – parking lot, shops, bowling center – temporarily rented, will accommodate the Library’s storage in the future) . Both parts are connected by a passage-way covered with a glazed roof. Reinforced concrete, glass and steel are distinctive features of the Library’s architecture. Interior design is also very minimalist – all technical installations (air condition, pipes) are not hidden. A white suspended ceiling is used mostly in the reading areas because of acoustic reasons. The Library’s furnishing, designed specially for the interior, is made from steel, glass and concrete, too. The dominating color is grey. Only the upper part becomes green (the glass-supporting construction). Other colors are “painted” by books and people. There are two entrances to the Library on the ground level – from the south and from the north. They lead to the passage where cloakrooms, exhibition hall, a restaurant and shops are situated. There are also Acquisition Department and Preservation and Conservation Department. A big area is taken by the Library’s storage. The crescent-shape edifice is located on the west from the main building. From the passage a glass door opens to the Library. Above the entrance a huge copper book with Latin inscription HINC OMNIA welcomes visitors. A high flight of steps topped by four columns, leads to the catalogue hall on level 1. Here can be found: catalogues (online and paper – alphabetic and subject catalogues), Reference Desk, Circulation Desk, Interlibrary Loan, Information and Public Service Department and open stacks of four subjects (Language. Literature; Philosophy. Psychology. Religion. Education; History; Geography. Mathematical, Natural and Applied Sciences). The part inaccessible for visitors contains Technical Services Department and NUKAT Center. On level 2 subject areas of: Law. Political Science; Sociology. Anthropology; General Works. Library Science; Music. Architecture. Fine Arts are situated. There are also: the main Reading Room, Current Periodicals Reading Room, Textbooks Collection, Administration Department, Tea Pavilion and NUKAT Center. Computer Department and Serials Department are not accessible for visitors. Level 3 is assigned for Special Collection Rooms (Early Imprints, Print Room, Manuscripts, Maps Collection, Ephemera, Music Collection) and Austrian Library. Part of the complex of the buildings is taken by the Faculty of Law and Administration (entrance from Lipowa street).

The building of the Library is surrounded by green. The façade carrying a huge elevated inscription “ BIBLIOTEKA UNIWERSYTECKA”  is divided by 4 entrances leading to the passage. Under the inscription there are 8 big copper panels (4 to 7 meters) presenting the realm of knowledge, memory and writing. There are excerpts from a Polish Renaissance poet Jan Kochanowski, from Plato, an old-Russian chronicle, from Arabic and Indian classics and from the Bible. There is a score by composer Karol Szymanowski (his works are in the collection of Music Collection) and a sample of mathematical formulas.

The Library viewed from the garden
The Library viewed from the garden

Awards, case studies, further information

  • Sienkiewicz Medal and Diploma of Recognition awarded by the Foundation Sienkiewicz (2000)
  • Order Bibliotheca Magna Perennisque awarded by the PLA (2001)
  • The 2002 edition of the awards of the Minister of Infrastructure project of the University Library in Warsaw by prof. Marek Budzynski and Zbigniew Badowski team was awarded the first prize in the field of “Architecture and Construction” for:
    – Outstanding architectural qualities, functional and visual
    – Implementation of the innovative open library that creates unlimited spatial and organizational barriers to contact with books,  Exceptional architectural masterpiece inspired to organize building on the Vistula, – Unique link between ecological architecture with high technique and technology.
  • The granting of awards WIK – SIGN IN YES by monthly WiK – Warsaw and Culture. The award was conferred in the category: PLACE (2004)
  • First prize in the residents plebiscite on positive place in Warsaw, organized by Clear Channel as part of the project Positive City, foundation Bęc Zmiana and “Gazeta Stołeczna” (2005)