Institutions related to Chopin Institutions related to Chopin

The National Library

The National Library


The tradition of the Polish National Library reaches the beginning of the 18th century and is directly connected with the figures and works of the Załuski brothers, Andrzej Stanisław and Józef Andrzej, who created the first large public and national library in Poland. After the death of its founders the library was taken over by the State and renamed the Załuski Library of the Republic (Biblioteka Rzeczpospolitej Załuskich Zwana). In the aftermath of the surpession of the Kościuszko Uprising and the loss of independence the library collections were taken as war booty to St Petersburg, and in October 1944 the most valuable part of the recovered library holdings was destroyed. These tragic turns of history will always symbolize irreparable losses experienced by the Polish culture.

Only in liberated Poland did the vision of a national repository that had always been present in the thoughts and activities of the successive generations of Poles come true. On 24th February 1928 Ignacy Mościcki, the President of the Republic, passed
a decree establishing the National Library in Warsaw. Subsequent legal acts that regulated functioning of libraries were passed on 27th July 1997 and defined the role of a national library in the library system of the country.

The National Library, subordinate to the Ministry of Culture and acting on the grounds of article 16 section 4 of the Library Act and the National Library Statute granted by the decree number 4 passed by the Minister of Culture and the National Heritage on 6th July 2000, is the central library of the State, one of the most important national cultural institutions. The National Library has been delegated to realize multiple and diverse functions. While fulfilling the role of a large research library with its focus on the humanities it remains at the same time the main archive of the national literary output and the centre of bibliographic information, a significant research institution and an important methodological centre for other Polish libraries.

Nowadays the National Library is one of the most important national cultural institutions and, considering an interdisciplinary nature of the collections and their intellectual potential, probably even the most important. Therefore, having responsibility both to the national collection and to the society, it is not only obliged to take particular care of the holdings of its storehouses, studies and reading-rooms as they are the documents of centuries-old and contemporary intellectual output of the nation. An active participation of the institution in the current stream of intellectual and cultural life of the society is equally significant.

The National Library strives to meet these expectations by its contribution to Polish and international cultural ventures, especially these connected with library science, preservation and conservation of the collections, readership, publishing. It is a member of Polish and foreign library associations, committees and scientific meetings, it keeps close relations with other institutions that, regardless their character, consider culture the most important form of human activity.

While taking care of preservation, protection and promotion of the Polish heritage, the National Library pins its hopes upon all who feel responsible for cultural continuity and national memory of the Polish nation.


By category: