The first library in Poland was opened in 1747

The building housing the Załuski Library in the graphic by Zygmunt Vogel, 1801 / Source: Wikipedia

The first public library in Poland was the Załuski Library. It was opened on August 8, 1747, in Warsaw by the brothers Józef and Andrzej Załuski. 

The library’s revolutionary policy of welcoming all individuals, regardless of their wealth or education, made it one of the pioneering institutions across the globe.

The Załuski Library collection was one of the largest and most important in Europe at that time. It consisted of approximately 200,000 volumes, 10,000 manuscripts, as well as thousands of maps, atlases, and engravings.

The library survived less than 50 years. In 1794 and 1795, the entire collection, estimated at 300-500 thousand volumes, was looted by the Russians and taken to Russia. The collection then became the foundation of the Imperial Public Library in Saint Petersburg.

In the 1920s, following the Treaty of Riga agreements, some of the former Załuski Library volumes were returned to the newly established Second Polish Republic. They were later included in the National Library, founded in 1928.

The building housing the Załuski Library is called the Danilowiczowski Palace, or the House under the Kings. It’s located on Hipoteczna 2 street in Warsaw. After 1795, it fell into disrepair. It was restored in 1962, and currently houses the Polish authors association.

The building of the Załuski Library today / Photo: Adrian Grycuk @ Wikipedia
A bookplate of the Załuski Library, designed by Jan Filipowicz / Source:

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