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History of the Library



History of the Library of Poznan University of Technology is inextricably connected with the history of the University. Its history and the stages of its development are reflected in its character. At the moment the Library of Poznan University of Technology is the largest science and technology library in Wielkopolska Region.

The beginnings of the University date back to the times before World War I, and include history of several other technical schools that functioned in its place in the years preceding the establishment of the University and that constitute and its "prehistory". In order to learn the story it would be probably better to reach for a couple of booklets and guidebooks issued by the School of Engineering and Poznan University of Technology under various titles. The compilation publication entitled "Szkoły Inżynierskie w Poznaniu 1945-1955. Politechnika Poznańska 1955-1965" could be particularly useful and informative.

The red brick building at 5 Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie Square (former Wilda Market) was built in 1907 to house German Royal Higher School of Mechanical Engineering (Koenigliche Hoehere Maschinenbauschule) that was established to provide education mainly for ethnic Germans.


When independence of Poland was regained in 1919, State Higher School of Mechanical Engineering was established. In 1929 it was renamed State Higher School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. The school consisted of two Faculties and for the following twenty years they produced young engineers, whose qualifications were recognized and highly regarded by industry and public administration. Professor Władysław Ślebodziński was the first head of the School’s Library (from 1919 to 1929).


During years of German occupation the building was used by German State Engineering School (Staats Ingenieurschule), unavailable for Poles. After Poznan was liberated, in the autumn of 1945 State Higher School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering was reactivated and transformed into School of Engineering. The same year the Library of School of Engineering was established. The Library was located in the room (a sunny room with a total area of 47 square meters) previously used by the Library of German Royal Higher School of Mechanical Engineering and its first collection was an incomplete book collection of the German school, items acquired between 1940 and 1944 and some Polish books that survived war and occupation.

The development of the School was followed by the development of its Library.

From the very beginning, already in its School of Engineering incarnation, Poznan University of Technology was in an extremely difficult situation regarding its premises. It had neither an appropriate amount of buildings for academic activities nor residential buildings. Thus, use of any attic, basement or barrack contributed to the improvement of these conditions.
Such “housing” difficulties had a serious effect on the development of the Library – from a small school library available only for its students and staff to the Main Library of Poznan University of Technology, the only science and technology Library in the region available for general public. Each stage of this development was predetermined mostly by a number of square meters the Library could use.

In 1945 Stanisław Olszewski, an engineer and one of the School’s lecturers, began work to protect the book collection, performed its first selection and adapted it for provisional lending of materials. In 1948 S. Olszewski passed on the responsibilities connected with the collection to Helena Poślednicka, the first School’s librarian. 1945-1950 were the years of provisional lending of materials of protected collection located in a single room and occasional updating it with new acquisitions. From the end of 1950 to the last days of April 1974 Anna Szeptycka, M.A., certified librarian, was the head of the Library.


1951-1955 were the years of organization. In 1953, when the Reading Room was established, other Library departments began functioning: the Circulation Desk, Information Department, Development Department. Five people worked in the Library that was located in three rooms. In 1952 the first libraries of School’s Departments started to appear. Finally, in 1955 the School of Engineering was transformed and renamed into Poznan University of Technology.

1956-1965 are the years when the proper Library appeared. Its area grew to 390 square meters. Individual workspaces were provided for its departments, closed stacks were created. Approved in 1964 by the Ministry of Higher Education organizational structure of the Library, which included 5 departments, provided the legal basis for hitherto organization of work. The following departments and sections were established: departments of Collection Development, Collection Processing, Circulation, Storage and Maintenance, Science Information with Sections of Information and Documentation, Autonomous Section of Departments and Faculties Libraries and a Photo laboratory. In terms of information, publishing and academic activities the Library matches high level of libraries of the largest technical universities and schools in the world.


1966-1974 – the fourth period of the Library’s development. The library was successful in accomplishing all its tasks; reorganization and development of Departments and Faculties Libraries took place. Number of items in Library’s collection almost doubled, number of items requested by readers increased several times as well as number of places available for readers in reading rooms.


The fifth period of the Library’s development began on 1 May 1974 and lasted to 30 June 1992. It was the period when dr Stanisław Badoń was the University Librarian. In 1978 a new organizational structure of the Library was approved by the Rector. With some minor changes the structure operated until 30 September 1996. 23 libraries were on the list of University’s Departments and Faculties Libraries. During this period, especially in the 1980s, Library’s interiors were greatly improved, particularly ones of the main Reading Room and periodicals reading room. Following the development of Library’s organization and interior design, the Collection developed and numbers of readers increased. The Library’s staff included 50 librarians and 2 administrative workers. Microfiche technique was introduced to improve the process of collection development. Cooperation with the Library of Warsaw University of Technology helped with development “KONFERENCJE” computer system (Central Catalogue of Conference Materials) .

In the second half of the 1980s the team of IT specialists and librarians developed LECH and LECH-BMS software for the Main Library of PUT. The process of its implementation was divided into several stages that were accomplished between 1987 and 1992. Thanks to the system the Library was among the first libraries that used its owncomputer system to manage and perform its main functions (cataloguing, collections development, accessibility and availability of collections).


In September 1994 Halina Ganińska, M.A., certified librarian, became the University Librarian. LECH-BMS using DOS system on IBM microcomputers connected into a network controlled by NOVELL system was replaced by integrated HORIZON library system. HORIZON marked the next stage of development of the Main Library and libraries of Departments and Faculties of Poznan University of Technology. The system’s implementation was divided into the following phases:

  • system administrator (installation and the beginning of work) – July 1997
  • periodicals cataloguing – September 1997
  • book collection development (ordering, budget, inventory) – January 1998 books cataloguing – November 1998
  • periodicals
  • making available reader’s record editing, returns, borrowings and renewals by PAC (Public Access Catalogue) – October 1999
  • CSA submodule (closed stack access) allowing readers with an active Library Card to request books remotely using online catalogue

Cataloguing module was implemented by two libraries of PUT Departments. In July 2000 the Main Library started using a new version of HORIZON: 5.02g8. In 1990s The Library began creating databases containing bibliographic information. The databases were available on floppy disks and CD-ROMs and were the initial stage of electronic library creation. In 1996 as a part of University’s networking programme, access to the Internet was provided to Library’s departments in Wilda and Piotrowo Campus. It made possible providing information on Library’s e-resources and sharing e-resources with other science libraries.


The Main Library of Poznan University of Technology in 2001 combined features of both a traditional and an electronic library. The Library provided modern interactive information environment for students, teachers and researchers. The collections’ profile is connected with University’s science and technology specifics and adapted to the needs of researchers and students. In 2001 digitalization of the collections was launched and first materials for students became available online. The library and information system comprises the Main Library and 20 libraries of PUT’s Departments including 2 libraries of its Faculties: Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Technical Physics. Functioning of the system is supervised and managed by the University Librarian in cooperation with the Library Board.

The Library’s total area is 2,477 m2 including 1,565 m2 of the Main Library. The Library employs 70 persons including 51 employees of the Main Library. It works particularly for about 1,150 lecturers, researches and other members of PUT staff, 20,000 students and for engineering community of Wielkopolska region. The Library provides 222 places for work (including 89 places in the Main Library) and 50 computers with Internet connection (including 35 in the Main Library).

The Library’s collection contain more than 800,000 items, 417,000 volumes of books, 89,000 volumes of science and technology journals (including 2,800 science and technology journal titles – about 1,000 current titles, among them there are 300 foreign journals) and other special collections (technical norms, patent documentation and other material). The Main Library collection contains 528,000 items; on average each year 7,000 new volumes are acquired.

Electronic Library provides access to databases available on CD-ROMs, licensed online access to world’s largest databases that contain information on science, technology, mathematics and natural science materials as well as 17,000 specialist electronic journals (A-Z list of journals). Readers can also access Polish online databases created by the Library in cooperation with other libraries: BAZTECH contains current issues of Polish science and technology journals, SYMPOnet contains information on conference papers and proceedings, BIBLIO (a local database) contains bibliographic information on publications by the staff of Poznan University of Technology.

Access to the Internet (1996) and a new version of library’s computerized system (HORIZON: 1999/2000 - 5.02g8, 2005 -5.3g) made possible introduction of new online services:

  1. online catalogue – it covers about 70% of books and 100% of periodicals and theses
  2. old collection online catalogue (contains copies of old catalogue cards)
  3. online access to catalogues of other libraries
  4. requesting books remotely (OPAC- WUI (introduced in 2000) enabled readers to renew borrowed items remotely, WebPAC (introduced in 2005) enabled readers to request and renew items online. In 2004 the system processed 133,000 of requests from more than 10,000 different user accounts)
  5. inter-library loans – borrowing materials from other libraries in Poland and abroad: email, tel., fax
  6. four specialist reading rooms with computers connected to the Internet and online science and technology information services

Library provides the following services: multi-aspect search and supplying copies of materials, training courses for students focusing on library services and information search skills, information on patent documentation (including help with preparing patent applications). The services are provided by the following Departments of the Library: Information Department, e-Library, the Reading Room, Patent Information Centre (35 workstations with access to the Internet, 19 places for readers).

The Main Library is a member of IATUL – International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries (since 1999) and it takes an active part in the following projects: Wielkopolska Digital Library, National Universal Central Catalogue (NUKAT). Technology Online is a project started by the Library. It is an online guide to sources of science and technology information on the Internet. The Library organized and hosted a conference "Science and Technology Libraries in Culture and Civilization: Operation and Everyday Life" (40 papers were presented). The conference took place in Poznan on 15-17 June and was marked by participation of international guests.

2006 - 2009

2006-2009 are the years of virtual library expansion – the development of electronic resources and services based on the newest developments in information technology.

On 1 April 2006 a new web site of PUT Library was launched. It merged informative function of the site with services making it easy for users to contact with the Library and its staff by using electronic forms.

The number of available e-resources is growing. Readers can access bibliographic databases, and full-text databases of electronic journals, books, patent documentation from all parts of the world (since 2007) and conference papers and proceedings (since 2009).TOL Technika Online, Technology Online – an online guide to sources of science and technology information on the Internet (a project started by the Library), BazTOL, Polish Science and Technology Online Resources (since 2008) created in cooperation with BazTECH consortium are available for readers. LinkSource service integrates access to electronic resources (since 2005). Since 2006 off-campus access to licensed e-resources has been available to readers using  HAN (Hidden Automatic Navigator).

2002 – the beginning of digitalization of printed textbooks constituting PUT Library’s resources. Since 2002 materials approved by their copyright holders have been converted into digital form and made available for readers on the website of Wielkopolska Digital Library. Since 2007 it has been done in accordance with the Copyright Act (art. 28 Ustawy z dnia 1 kwietnia 2004 r. o zmianie ustawy o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych (Dz. U. Nr 91 poz. 869)). A new computer laboratory of e-Library makes access to e-resources easy.

HORIZON system offers new services. Online catalogue is fully available by WebPAC (since 2005). “Order a Copy” service (readers can order a copy of an article) has been available for readers since 2006. Monitoring feature using email account and notification service that remind readers about the coming due date have been added.

Podręcznik database, which enables readers to conduct a literature search using different search filters and data provided by lecturers, has been linked to Online Catalogue since 2006. WorldCat central catalogue is also available for readers.

In 2007 new Regulations of Using Resources of Library and Information System of Poznan University of Technology was approved. In 2008 Library’s organizational structure changed: Patent Information Centre became a unit independent from Information Department, Communication and Information Technology Department was established.

The Library is engaged into academic activities: it provides library training for students, seminars for PhD students and members of staff; since October 2008 e-learning online training course for first year students has been available.

2005 Conference Proceedings were published in 2006.

In 2008 the Library in cooperation with Science Information Commission of Polish Academy of Sciences and Poznan Foundation of Science and Technology Libraries organized the second conference “Information for Science and the World of Digital Resources”. Conference papers were reviewed and published.

Construction of a new library. In 2006, construction begins. Topping-out ceremony takes place on 22 April 2008. The opening of the new library is planned for 2012.

2010 – 2011

Years 2010-2011 represent a significant turning point in the history of the Library of Poznan University of Technology.  

On 1 March 2010, following the Rector’s Regulation, the name Main Library of Poznan University of Technology was changed into the Library of Poznan University of Technology. On 14 November 2010 the Library gained access to  4,200 m2 of space in a newly-built compound of Technical Library and Lecture Centre at Warta Campus. In the new building, the Library began the gradual process of providing information services and opening reading and borrowing facilities. The procedure of moving into the new premises was completed on 1 March 2011.

The new seat of the Library represents a new challenge to meet requirements  and expectations of ever-evolving academic circles. The Library continues to expand its range of electronic-media resources focusing on the development of modern ways to  carry out its operations without limiting itself to offering only traditional lending methods. New extensive space at the disposal of the Library allows for free access to a considerable collection of books and magazines (approximately 40% of the whole stock)  contained in the reading facilities and the student book collection. The purchase of the RFID technology (book collection control, access and protection system) made it possible to create a workstation for independent self-check system book borrowing from the Active Teaching Book Collection.

The number of places available for readers rose from 128 in 2010 in the old building at M. Sklodowska-Curie Sq. to 212 in the new building. The number of computer workstations also increased and new team work rooms were created. In February 2010 the Reading Room was fitted out with a workstation for disabled students (two highly-specialized computer sets for visually-impaired students and seven computer sets for students who are deaf or hard of hearing).

The new building presents the Library with the opportunity to be a culture animator. The Library holds exhibitions, participates in Poznan Festivals of Science and Arts, takes part in the Library Weeks and  receives groups of visitors. Through such activities  the Library  shows a new face of a technical library combining traditional and virtual  functions.  

From 1 to 2 September 2011 the Library was the venue for the All-Poland conference jointly organized by the PUT Library and  the Polish Librarians Association. The conference, entitled Library of the 21th century –modern architecture, functional equipment, ingenious arrangements. Three years after Kielce – the newest projects, was accompanied by an exhibition Two centuries of the library 1901-2011.  The conference was attended by 180 librarians from the whole of Poland. In the presence of conference attendees the formal opening of the Library took place, with the ribbon having been cut by  Prorector of Poznan University of Technology Prof. Karol Nadolny, Prof. Marian Fikus, the venue designer, Head of the Library  Halina Ganińska, MA and Dr Janusz Napierała, the University Chancellor.

Continual changes have  caused the introduction of  modifications to the Library’s organizational structure. The new structure was approved by  Order No. 3 of the Rector of Poznan University of Technology of 15 March 2011 (RO/III/3/20/2011). A new position of Deputy Head for IT was created. The position was filled by Krzysztof Ober , MA.

On 1 October Rector of Poznan University of Technology Prof. Adam Hamrol, having chosen from five candidates running for the position advertised on 19 May 2011,  appointed  Małgorzata Furgał, MA to be the new  Head of the PUT Library. Małgorzata Furgał has worked in the PUT Library since 1988, having fulfilled the functions of deputy manager of the Scientific Information Department, manager for library collections and Rector’s Proxy in the Scientific Council of BazTech Consortium.