History of the Library

History of the Library

The Main Library of the AGH University of Science and Technology is the largest technical library in Kraków and one of the biggest in Poland. Its history is connected with Polish history and the stages of the development of the University itself. On 20th October 1919 Marshal Józef Piłsudski, the leader of the country, presided over the grand inauguration of the University of Mining. First, the Faculty of Mining was established. After the first two years of its operation (1921), another faculty was created: the Faculty of Metallurgy. By 1939, about 800 engineers of mining and metallurgy had graduated from the University.

The Library came into being in the academic year of 1921 and 1922 and it was set up by the Senate Library Comission. At the beginning it was located in the building at 18 Loretańska Street and then it was moved to 7 Smoleńsk Street. In 1929 library collection was transferred to a newly erected building at 30 Mickiewicz Avenue.

Buildings in which the collection was held

The collection was build up thanks to gifts from private donors, mainly AGH professors and Polish and foreign institutions, including Maria Skłodowska-Curie, who, acting in the Intellectual Co-operation Committee for the League of Nations, organised an exchange of French journals in return for the scientific publications of the University staff. Thus, the collection was enriched with the journal Revue de Metallurgie, to which the Library has been subscribing till today.

In 1938, the Library contained over 17,000 volumes, including 5,000 volumes of journals.

During World War II, the books were deposited in the Jagiellonian Library. In spite of the prohibition imposed by the German authorities who ruled occupied Poland, the books were secretly lent to the University students and employees, as the University did not suspend its activity. The professors delivered secret lectures and, as a result, 278 examinations were taken, 16 dissertations were written and 1 doctoral thesis was completed (it was, however, defended only after the end of the war).

After the war, the Library collection was returned to the main building of the University that had been restored after the war damage (following the war turmoil, the number of books was reduced by about 25%).

In 1949, the University change its name to the University of Mining and Metallurgy. During the same year, Władysław Piasecki became the manager (and then the director) of the Library. He held his post until 1972. Thanks to his efforts, a new, separate building was erected and it was formally opened on May 3rd, 1966. In 1987, the building was named after Władysław Piasecki.

After the Library was moved to its new location, it began to develop dynamically. As new courses were introduced at the University, the number of books in the collection and the subject areas they dealt with, increased too.

The 1990s were connected with the development of computerisation. Computers were employed in almost all of the Library’s tasks, ranging from acquisitions to cataloguing, OPAC, circulation and the organisation of access to global electronic resources.

In years 1996-1999 a renovation inside the Library was conducted to extend the area of reading rooms. The functional layout of the basic Library units was changed. In 2010 the renovation of the front elevation of the Library building began, and a decision to build a 7 meter-wide extention to the building from the north side, and to carry out a major renovation was taken. The Library resumed full range functioning in February 2014, and in March that year an official opening of the building took place.

After the expansion the Library area amounts to 6100 m2. Essential changes in user services and the organization of access to collections were introduced. Lending rooms for students and for employees, functioning separately before, were combined into one unit. A number of facilities for disabled users were provided. The changes bore fruit: the Library was distinguished by the City Council in a competition "Cracow without barriers' in the category "public buildings".

An Opes Stacks Zone, offering about 60,000 textbooks, and self-borrowing devices, was created. The Jurnals Reading Room and the General Reading Room were merged into one duplex Main Reading Room (97 sits including 4 sits for individual study). Separately functioning reading rooms: a cartographic one and the standards and patents reading room were merged into one Standards, Patents, and Cartographic Collection Reading Room (42 sits).  A Patent Information Centre, and a Standards Information Point are functioning within the Special Collections Department. The Self-Study Reading Room was enlarged, and it also plays the role of a conference room with its own audio-visual system.

In 2013 a conceptual work on the project " AGH University Repository" began. In 2015 library employees started entering theses from individual faculties to the Repository. Within this project another subproject "AGH University history" is conducted. It includes biographies of people connected with the AGH University and its history together with the lists of references on them.

The librarians at the Main Library are involved in many local (mainly within the Kraków Library Group) and Polish undertakings (inter alia those initiated by the Executive Board of the Conference of University Libraries Directors). Additionally, they participate in the creation of the National Union Catalogue NUKAT and, further, they develop standards for the operation of scientific libraries in Poland and, finally, they are also involved in activities connected with the digitalisation of the collection.

One of the most important activities on the Main Library is the registration of the AGH university staff scientific output. A Bibliography of AGH University employees, which had been published in print for many years, has been available online since 2001.

Apart from the Main Library, there are also 28 libraries of University units.

The Main Library building


Our librarians of merit

Marian Górkiewicz, PhD (1910-1989),
A graduate of the Lvov University, an employee of the Ossolinski National Institute Library in Lvov and Wroclaw, and from 1952 of the AGH-UST Main Library, from 1952 the deputy director and from 1972 the director of the Library. Among his publications were:
Ceny w Krakowie w latach 1796-1914 [Prices in Cracow from 1976 to 1914] (1950), and Bibliografia publikacji pracowników AGH z lat 1919-1958 [Bibliographic list of publications written by the staff of the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy 1919-1958] (1960).
[Marian Górkiewicz (1910-1989)]

Helena Jarecka, MA (1924-1998),
A graduate of the Jagiellonian University; an employee of the Municipal Public Library in Cracow (1949-1951), then of the AGH-UST Main Library; the creator and the first manager of the Reference Department (1960-1984); a lecturer at the Jagiellonian University and the Pedagogical Academy; the author of nine entries in Słownik pracowników książki polskiej [The dictionary of Polish book employees] (1972) and, among others, articles: Technicy polscy w międzynarodowym ruchu dokumentacyjnym 1929-1939 [Polish technicians in international documental movement 1929-1939], Roczniki Biblioteczne, 1979, issue 1, p. 219-235, and Z historii światowego ruchu dokumentacyjnego (od końca XIX w. do światowego Kongresu Dokumentacyjnego w Paryżu) [From the history of the international documental movement (from the end of XIX century to the International Congress of Documentation in Paris)], Roczniki Biblioteczne, 1980, issue 2, p.197-217.
[Mgr Helena Jarecka (1924-1998)]

Oskar Nowotny, Prof. (1875-1972),
A graduate of the Academy of Mining in Leoben, and a tutor there from 1901 to 1914, and from 1919 to 1920; from 1920 to 1939 a professor in the Department of Geodesy and Mine Surveing at AGH-UST in Cracow; from 1925 to 1939 the Chairman of the Senate Library Commission (at the same time the Library manager); during the German occupation a clerk in the German administration in Cracow; from 1945 in Austria.
[Oskar Nowotny (1875-1969)]

Władysław Piasecki, MA (1901-1978)
A graduate of the University in Poznan, an employee of (among others) the Ossolinski National Institute Library in Lvov and the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow; from 1949 the manager, and afterwards the director of the AGH-UST Main Library in Cracow; he initiated and supervised the construction of the AGH-UST Library building, the first “modular” library building in Poland (a design by engineer Z. Olszakowski); the author of (among others) Zwięzły wstęp do bibliotekarstwa [A concise introduction to librarianship] (1968), and an exponent of the recognition of librarianship as an academic discipline.

[Władysław Piasecki (1901-1978)]

Anna Puciata, MA (1905-1991)
A graduate of the Warsaw University; an employee of the Municipal Public Library in Warsaw (1926-1928), and the National Library (1928-1940), a co-organizer of the Public Library in Krzeszowice (1946-1951). On 1 October 1951 she took up a post in the AGH-UST Main Library. From 1954 until retirement in 1969 she run the Collection Preparation Department. She continued working until 1979, dealing with the preparation of special collections. She trained many generations of librarians, handing down her thorough knowledge in an easy and effective way. She was an author of many articles, entries in Słownik pracowników książki polskiej [The dictionary of Polish book employees] (1972) and reviews of publications on library architecture.

[Mgr Anna Puciata (1905-1991)]

Maria Szawłowska, MA (1915-2001)
A graduate of Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov; a nurse during the German occupation; an employee of AGH-UST bursary (1947-1950); an employee of AGH-UST Main Library (1950-1992), a certified librarian (from 1961). She participated in all stages of the Library organization process. She organized the Journals Reading Room, and held the position of the Reference Departament manager (1953-1960); she organized the Special Collections Departament from scratch, and was its manager until retirement in 1977; the author of five entries in Słownik pracowników książki polskiej [The dictionary of Polish book employees] (1972).

[Maria Szawłowska (1915-2001)]

Janina Wawrykiewicz, MA (1926-1993)
A graduate in Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University - a certified librarian. She took up a post in the AGH-UST Main Library on 1 January 1953. As early as in the first years of employment she was entrusted with the management of the Journals Department. She organized this department from scratch, dealing with the acquisition, preparation and circulation of the constantly increasing number of scientific periodicals. In 1960 she took charge of the Acquisitions and Collection Development Department. She held this important post for 30 years, until retirement in 1990. She trained many generations of librarians; many future managers of the Library departments commenced their careers under her guidance. She is a co-author of the annotated bibliography of Rozdzienski’s publications and the author of a few entries in Słownik pracowników książki polskiej [The dictionary of Polish book employees] (1972).
[Janina Wawrykiewicz (1926-1993)]

Danuta Zbroja, MA (1927-2003)
A graduate in Romance philology at the Jagiellonian University - a certified librarian. On 8 June 1959 she took up a post in the Collection Preparation Department of the AGH-UST Main Library. She thoroughly familiarized herself with the Library activities during a few years’ internship in almost all its agencies. However, collection preparation (especially books) remained the closest to her interests. In 1972 she took charge of the Books Preparation Department and she held this post until retirement in 1983. She trained many generations of librarians, running outstandingly prepared workshops for students of librarianship, giving lectures and providing training for librarians of the Main Library and branch libraries. Fluent command of French and extensive reading of professional literature enabled her to bring problems of contemporary foreign librarianship into Polish librarians’ and students’ attention. She was a co-author of Bibliografia publikacji pracowników Akademii Górniczo-Hutniczej za lata 1959-1967 [Bibliographic list of publications written by the staff of the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy 1959-1967], and the author of several articles published in professional journals.

Zofia Żebrowska, MA (1905-1995)
A graduate of Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov; during studies she worked in the Ossolinski National Institute Library in Lvov; a high school teacher in Lvov (1931-1938), Stanislawow (1938-1940), Krzeszowice (1945-1951); a nurse (1940-1944); during the Nazi occupation she participated in underground education (awarded the Commission of National Education medal); a certified librarian in the AGH-UST Main Library (1951-1969); after retirement she continued working for the Library until 1974; the author of two publications in the field of history and ten entries in Słownik pracowników książki polskiej [The dictionary of Polish book employees] (1972).
[Zofia Żebrowska (1905-1995)]