Special Collections’ Reading Room

General information


Wroclaw University Library
Special Collections’ Reading Room
Fryderyka Joliot-Curie 12 St.
50-383 Wroclaw
phone: +48 71 37 52 403

Opening hours:

Monday, Thursday: 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Orders are accomplished from Monday to Friday:
for special collections up to 2:00 p.m.,
for general collections up to 2:30 p.m.
Orders placed accordingly after 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. will be accomplished in the next day.


First and Last Name tel. number / email
Dep. manager mgr Iwona Domowicz+48 71 37 57 623
mgr Marta Lange +48 71 37 57 623
mgr Delfina Moździerska +48 71 37 52 403
mgr Anna Skowron-Jaślanek +48 71 37 52 403

Description of the Reading Room

The Reading Room area is a spacious and bright room with a reference collection, an informatory and work stations for users, with a separate cimelium room in which the most valuable collections are made available. In addition, a room for consultations with employees of special collections' departments (during departments' opening hours) is located there, as well as a large hall with traditional catalogs of special collections and exhibition room, where, with the consent of the Director of the Library, presentations of special collections from the Wroclaw University are organized, as well as didactic classes and trainings.

Rules of functioning

Special Collections' Reading Room circulates:

  • reference collection of the Reading Room;

  • special collections (originals and reproductions);

  • general collections from individual departments (i.e., specialist collections on special collections).

Special collections Departments within Wroclaw University Library:

The Wroclaw University Library has one of the most valuable collections of special collections in Poland. This unique resource of great scientific and research value consists of: manuscripts, correspondence, collection of scrapbooks, incunabula, old prints, cartographic collections, graphics, photographs, postcards, exlibrises, notes, bibliophilic prints.

In individual special collections' departments are also present rich collections of contemporary and historical specialist literature on special collections, many universal publications and valuable sources for research.

Special Collections’ Reading Room have rich reference collection, constantly meliorated and supplemented with new additions, available in free access mode:

  • monographs (books): 827 items / 2 381 volumes

  • microforms: 5 titles (4 800 microfiches)

status at 31.12.2018

Collection is sorted in division order:

I Bibliology VI Encyclopedias
II Bibliographies VII Polish language dictionaries
III Art VIII Language dictionaries
IV History IX Music
V Biographies

Users have access to computer workstations with access to catalogs and digital resources of the Library, microform readers and technical aids: special desktops for accessing special collections, weights, lamps with a magnifying glass and electroluminescent foils for reading watermarks, headphones for listening to audio documents.

The Reading Room also has workstations adapted for the disabled people (i.e. using wheelchairs, as well as visually and/or hearing impaired - computer software enlarging the text, a reader reading the text displayed on the computer monitor and a headset).


Online catalog of Wroclaw University Library

Traditional catalogs:

  • alphabetical, subject and topographic catalogs of Special Collections’ Reading Room’s reference collection,

  • catalogs of special collections' departments: Graphic Collection Department, Manuscripts Department, Music Collection Department, Old Prints Department and Maps Department.


To the usage of the reference collection and general collections from special collection's departments as well as the Special Collections’ Reading Room are entitled:

  • adults,

  • minors - after the approval of Director of Wroclaw University Library.

Special collections are available for the scientific researchers for research purposes:

  • independent scientific or didactic employees and persons with a PhD degree;

  • students and PhD students after presenting letter of recommendation from the academic tutor, so called Recommendation;

  • persons who are performing researches on behalf of scientific or cultural institutions after presenting Recommendation from their employee, explaining aim and scope of conducting researches;

  • in special cases, users may use special collections with the consent of the director or managers of the individual special collections' departments.

All users using special collections are additionally obligated to fill User’s declaration. After receiving Declaration, librarian is obligated to verify the correctness of personal data with user’s identity card.

Declaration and Recommendation are valid for calendar year from the date of issue.

Conditions of usage of the Special Collections' Reading Room

Conditions of usage of Special Collections’ Reading Room are determined in the Rules of collection circulation in Wroclaw University Library.

  • leaving in the coatroom: overcoats and all briefcases, bags, hand-bags, backpacks, laptops' covers, etc.;

  • signing in the Reading Room's guest book legibly;

  • presenting to the librarian proper document authorizing usage of the Reading Room: valid identification document and valid library/reading room card and leaving at the library desk one of the documents;

  • reporting and presenting brought in books and other materials;

  • behaving quietly;

  • deterring from eating and drinking;

  • not using cell phones to conduct calls;

  • user using special collections should bear in mind the fact that he is dealing with historical collections of special value and handling them so that their condition will not be affected. In particular, the user shall:
    1/ using a latex or cotton glove at the librarian's order,
    2/ making notes only with a pencil (usage of pens, pens, markers, etc. is prohibited),
    3/ use of desktops, pads, foils, etc.;

  • following librarian’s orders and suggestions concerning usage and safety of collections;

  • in the case of leaving reading room, also for brief period of time, user is obliged to return all materials to the librarian;

  • in the Reading Room, after obtaining permission from librarian, user can use his/her personal electronic devices;

  • Special Collection’s Reading Room is not lending materials - carrying them out of Reading Room is prohibited.

Ordering of materials

Users' orders are fulfilled from Monday to Friday:
for special collections up to 2:00 p.m.,
for general collections up to 2:30 p.m.
Orders placed accordingly after 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. will be accomplished in the next day.

Reference collection of the Reading Room is in free access without need to order materials.

Special collections and other library's materials must be ordered electronically or on traditional slips delivered to the the Special Collections' Reading Room (e-mail correspondence regarding collections is not treated as an order slip).

The number of original items from special collections is limited, in accordance with the Rules of collection circulation in Wroclaw University Library from 4th May 2017. While ordering more items, it is advisable to make prior arrangements by phone or e-mail regarding date and the order fulfillment mode with the proper department of special collectons.

Fulfilling of orders

Fulfilling of orders from reference and general collections last about 30 minutes, in case of special collections – circa 1 hour and may change due to the specifics of the collections, the state of preservation, and the time needed to make them available for users.

Circulation of special collections

Original materials, that have copies - microforms, reprints or electronic documents, are only available in special, justified situations. The consent to make the original available for the user, instead of copy, may be expressed by the manager of the department or the Director of the Library

Managers of special collection's departments can deny to circulate to the user materials particularly valuable, in poor condition or because temporary inaccessibility of items (e.g. maintenance or preparation for exhibition).

In the case of manuscripts, user is also filling metrics attached to each manuscript.

Manuscripts and other special collections of significant value, so called cimelia (designated as such by managers of special collections’ departments) must be returned by 2:30 p.m., other materials - 15 minutes before the closure of the Reading Room.

Reserving of ordered materials

Materials can be reserved on user's order until they are no longer needed, but no longer than for a period of 3 working days. Reservation could by prolonged personally, by phone: +48 71 37 52 403 or via e-mail:


Free of costs copying of collections with user's own camera without flash light (excluding manuscripts and old prints) is allowed after obtaining permission from librarian. Copying of manuscripts and old prints as well as other reprographic services are paid and are done by Reprographic and Digitization Unit.

Publishing of a reproductions from the special collections

Publishing of a reproduction from the special collections requires written consent of the Director of the Library and is paid. The Director of the University Library gives permission for publication and determines the amount of the fee.

Photographs from the WUL's collections that will be used for publishing purposes (publications) must be done in the WUL's Reprographic and Digitization Unit.

Obtaining reproductions from special collections is not synonymous with obtaining consent for their publication.

In the publication it place of storage of the original and its library call number must be specified.

Regulations and charges of additional services provided by Wroclaw University Library:

History of the Department

Bibliological Department was founded on the 1st September 1957 as one of special collections departments of Wroclaw University Library in the building on the Św. Jadwigi 3/4 St. Basis for organization of collection was three-volumed Wykaz druków z zakresu bibliologii (Register of prints from bibliology) edited by Helena Szwejkowska, published in years 1950-1954. Main goal of this newly created department was to concentrate in one place workshop literature for special collections as well as scientific-didactical collection for Institute of Librarianship, that at that time operated in the same building, on Św. Jadwigi 3/4 St. (Sand Island). Two years later, in 1959, Special Collections’ Reading Room, was created as an extension to the Department. At first it served for all special collections departments but lately it mainly circulated Silesian, bibliological and graphical collections.

The collection, believed to be one of the most complete Polish bibliological collections (currently it counts almost 30 thousands volumes) consists of many historical publications. It partially originated from pre-war City and University Libraries and among its books there are elaborations and sources from 19th and first half of 20th century, irreplaceable in researches over book history, especially in Silesian region. Historical part of collection consists of catalogs of manuscripts, old prints and other collections that occur in Polish and foreign libraries, rare collection of hand-written and printed facsimiles, writings that reflect development of book knowledge (including many bibliological first-prints) and specialist librarianship publications, mostly in German.

The Collections of Bibliological Department include, inter alia, works of J. S. Bandtkie: De primis Cracoviae in arte typographica incunabulis (1812), Historya drukarń krakowskich (1815) [available in our Digital Library (DL)], Historya drukarń w Królestwie Polskiem i Wielkiem Xięstwie Litewskiem (1823-1826), writings of first Polish book theorist J. Lelewel – Bibljograficznych ksiąg dwoje (1823-26), oldest Polish bibliological bibliography Bibliographie paleographico-diplomatico-bibliologique generale by J. P. Namur from 1838 [available in DL] or oldest Polish Podręcznik księgarski (Bookselling textbook) by T. Paprocki (1894-1896) [available in DL]. One of the most valuable periodicals, that there is in the collection, is - Serapeum. Zeitschrift fur Bibliothekwissenschaft, Handschritenkunde und altere Litteratur from years 1840-1870, one of the first ever printed special periodicals.

Bibliological Department has been closed on 24th March 2011. It’s collection was merged with general collection. Special Collections' Reading Room has been transformed into an independent organizational unit that provides access to its reference collection, special collections and reference collection and materials from storages of special collections' departments.