Zakopane played very important role in
polish librarianship and history of reading. The course of political
events made Galitia far more autonomous than other regions of divided
nation, which suffered from many forms of national oppression.
The first library in Zakopane was
created in 1875 by the initiative of Tatra Society. This library,
while holding 2400 volumes, burned down during the Tatra Station's
wooden building fire on january 21, 1900.
Members of People's Educational
Society organized People's Reading Room in Zakopane. Its ceremonial
opening was held on june 26, 1887. Maria and Brosław Dembowski
became its curators. After Bronisław Dembowski's death in 1893, the
Reading Room ceased its activity.
In years 1887-1908 the Zakopane Climate
Station Reading Room was active. At the end of 1908, the Reading Room
was connected with Public Library. People's School Society in
Zakopane, established on august 16, 1894, was indeed a valuable asset
for Podhale readership. From its initiative, both Adam Mickiewicz's
Reading Room in Zakopane and book rental in Poronin were deployed. At
the beginning of 20
th century, People's School Society
created many book rental points in surrounding villages.
The day of january 11, 1900 was when
Zakopane Reading Room was formally created. At its birth, the Reading
Room counted 80 members, had over 200 volumes and subscribed for 40
journals. It was located at Józef Słowik's house by the Zamoyskiego
street, and was moved inside Polanka villa in may 1900.
The society was run by Management.
Being a member of Management was voluntary. The first chairman was dr
M. Hawranek (1866 – 1901). After his death the function was
assigned to prof. Piotr Chmielewski (1848 – 1904). Chmielowski
strived to develop Reading Room as workspace for writers. He actively
participated in Zakopane cultural life, giving lectures about modern
polish literature in Reading Room's halls. On january 1, 1902, he
organized the first fine arts exhibition in Zakopane. After his death
the idea of transforming Reading Room to Public Library has emerged.
It was Dionizy Bek's (1865 - 1907) initiative. He was supported by dr
Marcin Woyczyński (1870 – 1938) and Stefan Żeromski (1864 –
1925), who was in Zakopane that time. The Public Library Society has
been formed and statute elaboration was proceeded. Statute was
approved by Vicarity on 15 august, 1904. After the Library was
formed, Stefan Żeromski became its chairman and voluntary librarian.
He donated couple of chests with his own books to Library. He
organized public readings, poetic evenings and dancing events to get
additional founds. After leaving Zakopane in 1905, Żeromski still
cared about Library. On dr Józef Żychoń's request, he wrote
introduction to Library's activity report of 1912. In 1914 he became
acting chairman and continued till the end of War. The Library
certainly appreciated its leader. In 1914 Żeromski became its
honorary member, and since 1965 it bears his name as a patron.
In 1905 the Library has taken care of
Zakopane Polish Socialist Party's socio-political book repository.
This collection is connected with Franciszek Ksawery Prauss' (1874 –
1925) activity in Zakopane.
Library book collection was
systemathicaly growing larger. From around 3500 volumes in 1904,
through 5666 copies in 1912, to 9159 publications in 1918. World War
I didn't stop the Library's activities. Compared to the year 1913,
the number of readers doubled in 1917, reaching 1827 members. The
numbers of books borrowed rose by 10 000, reaching 34 823 copies. The
Library changed location many time. It was located in Polanka villa
untill 1908. On november 11, 1908, it moved to Polish Bazaar. At the
beginning of 1914 it was moved to Tatra Station.
The first years in independent Poland
were difficult and had not favored the Library. Postwar crisis
impoverished intelligence, and intellectuals were always a support
for Zakopane athenaeum. Whole interwar period for Library was
connected with the figure of Jerzy Gawliński (1878 – 1951).
Gawliński finished librarian-administrative course in year 1905. He
began working as librarian in People's Universities Society Library
in Cracov. From 1912 he was affiliated with Zakopane place and for 27
years was a member of its Council, first as secretary and then as a
Because of Tatra Society's
reorganization, the Library had to give away its bigger space and
relocate the whole book repository to smaller premises. When this
happened, the possibility of maintaining the reading room, arranging
lectures and conferences was diminished. The collection, however,
still grew systemathicaly. In 1922 it counted 13 358 volumes, in 1929
– 17 058, in year 1934 – 18 000. The collection consisted of
scientific monographies, and only 1/3 was literary fiction. Lacking
new titles, it lost its readers and Society's finances became harsh.
And so, the athenaeum was signed for liquidation. Only thanks to
Gawliński's determination the Library could survive. Tourism, on the
other hand, contributed to readers growth in years 1934-1939 and this
allowed more additional founding sources.
On 11 november 1939 the occupational
authorities arrived in the Library. In spring 1940 the book
repository was again relocated to the building next to Krupówki 41a
After the war, as early as in half of
february 1945, proceed to Public Library organization. Antoni Olcha
(1914 – 1978) becane the first chairman, who with the help from
Gawliński arranged the collection. At the end of february 1945, the
Library started its activity. As for the "Library decreet"
document from 1946, many local libraries were merged into sections
and branches of one, public system. This helped in organization of
many finantial, local and personel affairs.
In the postwar period the readership
florished dynamically. In 1960s more libraries were transformed into
public branches, with child section provided as well. The library
network included: adult book rental, reading room, child section and
branches in Olcza, Harenda and Skibówki. Following chairmen were
prominent in Public Library evolution: Zygmunt Bielski (1949 - 1954),
Andrzej Janiszewski (1954 - 1955), Janina Nowak (1956 ), and most
notably Janina Muller (1957 – 1972).
In the year 1951 Zakopane became a
district, and the Library's reach has expanded. After the
adminitrastive reformation in 1994, Public Library gained function of
Tatra County Library. Thus the organization of public library network
became connected with national administration. Municipal Public
Library, with 14 other local libraries create a general net of
institutions in county. The book collection was digitalised. In the
times when quick access to information is crucial, the library must
become rich and modern. The user can search the most interesting
books in on-line catalogue.
phone +48 18 20 664 38 – book rental
Director Bożena Gąsienica
Children and youth branch in Main
Zborowskiego 1 street
+48 18 20 140 06
Branch nr 1 Olcza church
phone +48 18 20 117 71
Branch nr 2 Skibówki
phone +48 18 20 661 34
Branch nr 3 Harenda