Barbara Budyńska


with Małgorzata Jezierska,
Grażyna Lewandowicz-Nosal, Grażyna Walczewska-Klimczak


This report aims at describing the major networks of libraries in Poland, their state and their operations in 2012. Where possible, we have presented this from the perspective of the last decade, thus reflecting the changes in individual library networks and indicating major problems they have experienced. It is the first attempt to present the operations of Polish libraries in such a scope. The report was developed in the Institute of Books and Readership of the National Library.

The following diagnosis concerns local government libraries: public, pedagogical and school libraries as well as scientific and central libraries (including libraries of public and non-public institutions of higher education), specialised libraries, fiction/specialised libraries, libraries of “inte” centres, libraries of scientific societies, libraries of uniformed services, prison libraries, and church libraries including parish ones.

The report consists of two parts:
– a descriptive one, presenting the data concerning the library networks identified below, according to a specific format;
– a quantitative one, including selected effectiveness indicators for individual library networks.

The study was developed based on the following resources:
– data collected by the Central Statistical Office of Poland for the part concerning communal libraries (public and pedagogical ones), scientific libraries (central libraries, special libraries, libraries of institutions of higher education, libraries of the Polish Academy of Sciences, research institute libraries), specialised libraries, fiction/specialised libraries, libraries of scientific societies and libraries of “inte” centres;
– data collected by the Educational Information System for the part concerning school libraries;
– reports, research results and information concerning: libraries of the uniformed services (military services, prison services, and others); church libraries (including parish ones); pedagogical libraries; scientific libraries; libraries of the Polish Academy of Sciences and museums; and libraries of scientific societies, collected by conventional and electronic mail and by phone.

The scope of collected data includes the following issues:
– the legal basis and organisation of libraries belonging to a specific network;
– the number and profile of libraries;
– the policies, sources, and scale of financing;
– the size and structure of the collections, with particular consideration to purchasing and the use of collections out-of-the-library and in-house;
– number of readers (or users if they are registered);
– library computerization, e-services;
– library availability for special user groups;
– library staff and their educational background;
– problems indicated concerning the operations of the libraries studied.

The material used as the basis for this study is not homogenous. Not all types of libraries have data enabling a discussion of their operations, comparisons over the years, or indicator comparisons (for example: libraries of the military services do not collect data concerning the number of readers; data regarding parish libraries are available only for 2011;1 information concerning church libraries is available only in a descriptive format; school libraries are presented based on the data from the Educational Information System which are less comprehensive than in the case of libraries reported by the Central Statistical Office of Poland).

Collaboration with libraries of specific networks greatly facilitated the data collection. One may feel somewhat disappointed regarding the acquired information concerning the forecasting of operations and perspectives for growth of specific institutions and, in this context, about problems and common incidents. It is important, as the remarks concerning the operations of libraries within a given type were provided by the main or central libraries.

1 It was in this year that the Institute of Catholic Church Statistics in cooperation with the Central Statistical Office of Poland conducted a one-time study of this library network.