Restricted collections of Wroclaw University Library originate from three main sources:
1) former City Library (Stadtbibliothek),
2) former University Library (Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek),
3) and from other libraries, not only from Silesia region, secured in Lower Silesia region after the Second World War.
Originally, only last of them, also named "German concentration”, was called "restricted collections”. Currently, name "restricted collections” includes all post-German prints from XIX and beginning of XX century, consisting not only of German publications, but also of classic texts and texts in many other languages, in extra-European too.
In 1939 City Library was the greatest one of all city libraries in whole Germany. Its collections fortunately survived Second World War and today they greatly enlarge humanistic collections of Wroclaw University Library. Among cataloged prints vastly represented are publications about Wroclaw and Silesia region, as well as books from: historical sciences, linguistic, law and social sciences, theology (rich collection of Bibles), philosophy, pedagogic, art with music prints and history of natural sciences.
Special attention should be paid to the collections donated to City Library, e.g. circa 1000 volumes originating from Friedrich Lassalle's library or interesting collection about folklore donated by Silesian Folklore Society (Schlesische Gesellschaft für Volkskunde).
During the Second World War collections form University Library were scattered and, in the large part, burned. However, among prints from years 1801-1945, that survived, there are many valuable monographs, e.g. about law and religious knowledge as well as vast collection of thesis from different scientific sites from all over Europe (Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, Sweden, Finland) and United States.
Books form the third source, i.e. from collections secured after the Second World War in Lower Silesia region includes – besides German ones – also English and French scientific publications (mainly on general, literature and art history) as well as belles-lettres. From the beginning of its existence, Wroclaw University Library, has to, besides cataloging current acquisitions, also process vast post-German collections (over 1.500.000 volumes). In the beginning, to main collections were included materials from former University Library, due to their special scientific value, as well as selected materials from so called concentration. Since 1971 re-cataloging of collections from City Library has begun. These collections were previously accessible only via pre-war catalogs and call number system.
The call numbers from 1 000 001 to 1 300 000 were reserved for books from restricted collections. Bibliographical descriptions are available only in traditional, paper-card catalogs.
Processed materials are held in storages in building on K. Szajnochy 7/9 St. or on Fryderyka Joliot-Curie 12 St. (books destined to various special collections’ departments) and are accessible only in reading rooms.
Into restricted collections are also included special collections (see special collections) and periodicals (see periodicals). From former City Library have survived 56.504 vol. of periodicals, from University Library – 15.000 vol. They are set of Wroclaw's periodicals, Silesian newspapers, scientific societies journals as well as rich collection of bibliological periodicals.
Cataloged restricted collections provide excellent documentary material for cultural heritage and development of science not only of Silesia and pre-war Germany regions, but also whole Europe and extra-European countries – from XIX and the beginning of XX century. Value of these publications could be proved by their newer editions, that are still published all around the world. On the other hand however, rare publications are held within restricted collection and some of them nowhere were before registered. Cataloged restricted collections are often used by readers in reading rooms and are invaluable during fulfillment of queries.