About Library - Wroclaw University Library historical highlights

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Wroclaw University Library historical highlights

1811-1815 The Library is founded as a result of a fusion between collections of libraries of Leopold University in Wroclaw and Viadrina University in Frankfurt, as well as by adding collections from various libraries of secularized Lower Silesia monasteries. The seat of the library was the former Augustinian Order building on Sand Island. The structure was built by abbot Baltazar Seidel at the beginning of 18th century.

1815 Official opening of the Royal University Library in Wroclaw.

1823 Library Collections count reaches 120 thousand items.

1824 (December) First mandatory copy (required from a publisher by law) donated to the Library.

1825 Mandatory copies from Silesian publishers.

1886 The Library acquired the collection of the Schlesische Gesellschaft für vaterländische Kultur, 68 thousand items.

1919-1945 The Library functions as the Staats- and Universitätsbibliothek.

1933 The Royal Technical Academy Library is incorporated into the Library but operates in its own building as it used to.

1940 Evacuation of the most important parts of the collection outside Wroclaw (manuscripts, incunabula, Silesiaca, books published before 1700, bibliographies and encyclopedias from the reading room, some of the catalogs).

1943 The Library holdings count about 800 thousand of print materials, 4,5 thousand of manuscripts, 19 thousand of autographs, 5 thousand maps, 6 thousand graphics, 3 thousand incunabula.

1945 In spite of the heavy bombardments, that destroyed about 50 thousand items, mainly from Classical Philological Collection, The Library continues to function and was lending books to the public.

1945 (March) A German Festung Breslau commander decides that the cellars of the building on Sand Island are to be used as headquarters of the city of Wroclaw defense against the Soviets.

About 300 thousand items were moved to the St Anne’s Church, in front of the bulding on the Sand Island (today Russian Orthodox church).

1945 (May) Books in St Anne’s Church burned down during the fire.

After receiving a message of the destruction of the collection held in St Anne’s Church, first Polish mayor of the city of Wroclaw, Boleslaw Drobner, decided to turn the City Library to University.

City Library collection count at the time is about 400 thousand items, including 5300 manuscripts, 600 incunabula, 32 thousand occasional prints, 20 thousand maps, pictures and portraits.

Polish librarians, led by Antoni Knot, began to create a new University Library in the former building of City Library.

1946 First mandatory copy after World War II arrives.

1946 (May) On basis of Resolution of City National Council of Wroclaw City from 28th May 1946 collections of City Library has been delivered to University of Wrocław.

1948-1949 Parts of the Potocki collection from Krzeszowice and the Sanguszko collection from Tarnow region were passed over to the Library.

1958 After rebuilding of monastery on Sand Island, special collections were moved to that site.

1966 Separate catalog of textbooks for students of University of Wroclaw was created in the Library.

1973 Centralization of the collections processing throughout the Library departments

1982 (November) Senate of the Wroclaw University decides to build a new building for the University Library

1988 Social Committee for the New Wroclaw University Library Building is founded under prof. Jan Kosik chairmanship.

1991 Wroclaw University is registered in the official City documents as “user for life” of lot No. 2/1 near the Peace Bridge (ground for the new library building).

The New Wroclaw University Library blueprint is prepared by Ewa Barska and Marian Barski, the architects.

1993 Computerization of Wroclaw University Library begins, thanks to the financial support of the American A. Mellon Foundation.

1994 Access to the internet is granted; beginning of VTLS system testing.

1995 VTLS module for collection processing begins its operation in the Library.

Launching of Library’s website.

As an offspring of ‘Acta Universitatis Vratislaviensis’ scientific series a special library publication entitles ‘Bibliothecalia Vratislaviensis’ is issued for the first time.

1996 Opening of the computer catalog for the library users.

1997 Reorganization of the Social Committee for the New Wroclaw University Library Building; new members and board are registered and prof. Henryk Ratajczak was elected a new chairman.

1997 (July) Flood in Poland, all the basement areas at Św. Jadwigi 3/4 St., Szajnochy 7/9 St. and Szajnochy 10 St., as well as Department of Law at Uniwersytecka St., are heavily damaged; several thousand books and other library holdings are soaked, some of them are saved. [Photo gallery]

1998 VTLS module for circulation begins its operation in the Library.

1999 (June) An architectural contest for the new Library building design begins.

1999 (December) final results of the contest are announced: a winner is a group of architects from Warsaw: Jacek Rzyski, Jerzy Ruszkowski and Jacek Kopczewski. [Photo gallery]

2001 (September) Department of Architecture of the Office of the City of Wroclaw approves the design of the new Library building; main architect Jacek Rzyski is appointed.

2001 (December) Underground press (from the era of communism) catalog is opened to the public.

Wroclaw University Library collection count, together with departmental libraries stands at more than 3,5 million items.

2002 (May) Polish Parliament passes a bill about observances of the Wroclaw University Tercentenary Jubilee (includes a support for the new Library building)

2002 (July) VTLS integrated library system is changed into VIRTUA system.

2002 (November) Erection Act on the construction site of the new Library building was signed by Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland, Krystyna Lybacka, Minister of Education and Sport, prof. Michal Kleiber, Minister of Science and President of the Scientific Research Comitee, prof. Henryk Ratajczak, President of Social Committee for the New Wroclaw University Library Building, Ryszard Nawrat, the governor of Lower Silesia, and prof. Zdzislaw Latajka, the Rector of the Wroclaw University. [Photo gallery]

2003 (May) Results of the bidding for a contractor of the new Library building are announced; the winner is Mitex Co. from Kielce, Poland.

2003 (July) The new version of the Library’s website.

2003 (October) With the help of staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Department for Restitution of Cultural Property) Library recovered a stolen fragment of 15th century Belial - moral-theological treaty by Jacobus de Ther.

2003 (November) A ground-breaking ceremony for the new Library building: the corner stone is officially dedicated by the Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz and other guests of honor. [Photo gallery]

2004 Launching of Library's Electronic Publishing House (E-Publishing of WUL).

2004 (July) In Report "Rozwój eGovernment w Polsce – trzecia edycja badań eEuropa” (eGovernment development in Poland – third edition of eEurope research) prepared by experts’ team for Prof. Kleiber who is the Ministry of Scientific Research and Information Technology - the “Online Services” of Wroclaw University Library (available from Library’s web page) were highly assessed and presented as an example of the best practices of eGovernment in Poland.

2004 (September) – 2005 (August) Library took part in “Bibliotheca Sonans” project – conservation and digitization of middle age music manuscripts, incunabula and old prints, funded by European Union in the framework of “Culture 2000 Program”. [Photo gallery]

2004 (November) Wroclaw University Library’s web page was assessed as the best in the country and was awarded the first prize for the best web page in the category of libraries of high educations’, scientific and central institutions.

2004 (December) Wroclaw Jewish Community deposited in the Library 40 works from the Saravala’s collection - manuscripts and incunabula from the pre-war Jewish Theological Seminary Library in Wroclaw, that were recovered in the National Library in Prague.

2005 Process of Library’s traditional card catalogs digitization has begun.

2005 (March) Library recovered Breviarium Wratislaviense - Wroclaw breviary from the first half of 15th century. Codex from the collection from former City Library, that originated from the library at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Wroclaw (call number M 1144) was evacuated to Ramfeld (Ramułtowice) in 1943, and was discovered in June 2002 at an auction in London. Negotiations between Director of Library and Sotheby's auction house lasted for over two years and were successfully finalized by the end of 2004. Assistance in the transfer of the book to the country was granted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic mission in London.

2005 (July) First digitized card catalogs were presented on the Library’s website: Periodicals' catalog and alphabetical catalog of former Silesia - Lausitz Cabinet.

2005 (October) - 2006 (November) Library took part in the project “Preservation of European cultural heritage – protective microfilming, digitization and popularization of chosen, popular Silesian periodicals from 19th century from collections of Wroclaw University Library”, funded mostly by The Leopold Kronenberg Foundation.

2005 (December) Launching of Digital Library of Wroclaw University.

2006 (June) Change in the organization of access to WUL’s licensed electronic resources, providing access from outside the university network via a proxy server.

2006 (December) The official opening of the Digital Library of Wroclaw University.

2007 (January) Cyril hurricane destroyed the roof of the building on the Sand Island. Repair works started in July 2007 from the own funds from the budget of the University and financial support obtained by prof. Rudolf Lenz of Marburg.

2007 (March) - 2011 (December) Realization of research and development project "Silesian Iconographic Archive".

2007 (March) First issue of the electronic bulletin for the readers: Newsletter of the Wroclaw University Library was published.

2007 (December) -2009 (November) participation in the European project ENRICH (European Networking Resources and Information Concerning Cultural Heritage).

2007-2009 Realization of the project "Merging information about dispersed collections of music manuscripts from University Library and Wroclaw City Library on RISM catalogs’ level (gathered from 1945)”.

2008 (June) - 2012 (March) Realization of the project “Interactive, multimedia Silesian bibliography. Part I. Old prints and books from 19th century from collections of former Silesia-Lausitz Cabinet of Wroclaw University Library".

2008 (October) Signing of the contract with SKANSKA S.A. company for the construction of a new building of the Library

2008 Launching of a pilot version of the Electronic Reading Room (eReading Room), that allows users to conveniently access the widely read and sought after collections, especially textbooks.

2009 (October) Launching of next version of the Library website with accordance to the University Identification System. The site is updated in three languages.

2009 (August) - 2012 (November) Realization of the project “Ornamenta Poloniae Mediaevalia. Medieval art in Poland: catalog of form and detail compared to Europe”.

2009 (December) Recovery of missal (from 1470) from the collection of the former City Library (call number M 1138), evacuated in 1943 to Ramfeld, which, in April 2009, was discovered during the auction in New York Bloomsbury auction house. Because of the Library revendication efforts, with the aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Department for Restitution of Cultural Property) missal was withdrawn from the auction and after three months of ongoing negotiations – it was handed over to the Consul General of Poland. On 2nd December 2009 the manuscript was solemnly returned to the Rector of the University of Wrocław and Director of the Wroclaw University Library in Foreign Ministry by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. [Photo gallery]

2010 (February) - 2015 (January) Realization of the projects “Imago Silesiae Inferioris online”. Maps, plans and views of Lower Silesia from collections of Wroclaw University Library. Digitization and access in Internet” and "Heritage of Region and Europe”. Cimelia from collections of Wroclaw University Library. Digitization and access in Internet”.

2011 (September) The ceremony of handling over to the Rector of the University of Wrocław and Director of the Wroclaw University Library by the Minister of Foreign Affairs medieval manuscript from the collections of the former City Library in Wroclaw (call number R 174) that was lost during World War II, which was discovered at auction in New York. The recovered manuscript is a copy of the encyclopedic work by Thomas Cantimpratensisa (1201-1272) from the 15th century - "Liber de nature rerum", that was evacuated during World War II to Ramfeld, then regarded as lost. Manuscript was recovered thanks to the efforts of the Team for Restitution of Cultural Property by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Photo gallery]

2011 (December) Completion of construction of the new Library building and the its transfer under the management of the University.

2012 (January) Grand opening of the new Library building. Due to the lack of equipment in the new building moving of the Library is planned in stages. [Photo gallery]

2013 (August-September) Realization of the first stage of moving Library to the new building: transfer of all internal departments of the Library along with server room and newspapers storage room, that previously were located at Karola Szajnochy 10 St. [Photo gallery]

2013 (September) Wroclaw University Library adopted a new mailing address: Fryderyk Joliot-Curie 12 St.

2013 (May-September) Renovation of the main portal of the Library on the Sand Island (Św. Jadwigi 3/4 St.) from government of the Federal Republic of Germany founding, that were acquired through the efforts of prof. Rudolf Lenz of Marburg. [Photo gallery]

2014 (May-August) Realization of the second stage of the moving: i.e. 8.281 lm (circa 225.100 vol.) of general collections were moved from storages on K. Szajnochy 10 St., Kuźnicza 49/55 St. and by Solny Square 12 to the new building of the Library. Now, in the new location there are all periodicals acquired by WUL. [Photo gallery]

2014 (June-October) RRealization of the second part of the moving: i.e. the whole Silesia-Lausitz collection – 4535 lm (circa 125.620 vol.) was moved to the new building of the Library. [Photo gallery]

2014 (October) Visit of Minister Jacek Guliński, under-secretary of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in the new building of the Wroclaw University Library on F. Joliot-Curie 12 St. [Photo gallery]

2014 (October) Opening of the first circulation department in the new building of the Library - the Current and Archive Periodicals Reading Room and Silesian Collection Reading Room. [Photo gallery]

28.11.2014 - the final conference of Succeed Project in Paris at the National Library of France; WUL participated in the Succeed Project in years 2013-2014. [more information] [Photo gallery]

24.02.2015 - Visit of the representatives of the of the IFLA Commission in Wroclaw University Library, Library in connection with making choice of the venue of the IFLA Congress in 2017. [more information] [Photo gallery]

2015 (March-December) - Realization of the project “The Piast’s collections from WUL. Digitization and access”

2015 (April-November) - Realization of the project “Dissemination of valuable sources for research by digitizing unique local newspaper from the Silesia - Lausitz collection of the Wroclaw University Library”

2015 (April-December) - Realization of the project „Dissemination of information regarding Silesian printed scores from restricted collections and former Wroclaw’s libraries by means of electronic cataloging in Virtua system”

2015 (June) - Moving of the Workshop for New Collections’ Conservation to the new building of the Library.

4.09.2015 - The ceremony of handing over the medieval parchment codex "Breviarium Wratislaviense" from 1415 by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage - prof. Magorzatę Omilanowska - to the Director of the University Library - Grażyna Piotrowicz. That medieval manuscript originates from the collections of former City Library in Wroclaw (call number M1139) and was lost during the Second World War. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage actively supported the Wroclaw University and the Wroclaw University Library in efforts to reclaim the lost item. [more information] [Photo gallery]

18.12.2015 Organizing the conference The Piast’s collections from WUL. Digitization and access for popularizing WUL’s historical collections and promoting outcome of realized project, that was founded in 2015 by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. [Photo gallery]

2015 (August-December) - Equipping with compact bookshelves the stock at last floor (level +15,6 m) and with bookshelves the free access areas at two floors of the new Library’ building.

25.04.2016 The refurbishment of the front elevation of The Sand Island Library's building. [more information] [Photo gallery]

16.09.2016 Opening of the exhibition Z Wrocławia na Księżyc. Powstanie i działalność Towarzystwa Podróży Kosmicznych (Verein für Raumschiffahrt) prepared by the Scientific Information Departament as a part of the 19th Lower Silesian Science Festival. [Photo gallery]

1.10.2016 The ceremony of opening the new seat of the Austrian Library in the new building of the University Library. [Photo gallery]

31.12.2016 Finishing the move of the Sand Island Library (all of its departments and collections) to the new location on F. Joliot-Curie 12 St. that has lasted for the half year. [Photo gallery]

17.03.2017 Visit of Prof. Aleksander Bobko - Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to the Wroclaw University Library. [Photo gallery]

10.04.2017 The meeting and debate of the directors of the academic libraries of Wroclaw, Opole and Zielona Gora in the Wroclaw University Library. [Photo gallery]

30.06.2017 Handing over the Library's building on Św. Jadwigi 3/4 St. to the Faculty of Philology UoW.

21.08.2017 Conference Collections and Books [A]cross Borders organized jointly by two IFLA sections: Rare Books and Special Collections Section and Indigenous Matters Section (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

22.08.2017 Workshop Understanding Your Library from the Inside Out: A Workshop in Library Ethnography for User Assessment organized by IFLA's Social Science Libraries Section (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

23.08.2017 Meeting of WUL’s Direction with a delegation from the Bitola University Library in Macedonia (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

23.08.2017 Meeting of WUL’s Direction with a delegation from the Canton Libraries in China (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

24.08.2017 Meeting of WUL’s Direction with a delegation from the National Library of Belarus (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

25.08.2017 Workshop/disscussion panel Impact of the IFLA Library Reference Model on ISBD, RDA and Other Bibliographic Standards: A Working Meeting (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

25.08.2017 Tour presenting special collections (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]

25.08.2017 Tour presenting WUL (including RaDU and SCCW) (part of the 83rd IFLA World Congress in Wroclaw). [Photo gallery]


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