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Public library in Bochnia

A bit of our history

The public library in Bochnia was established on the 1st of April 1946 thanks to the energy and passion of Maria Bielawska, an eminent librarian. She was totally dedicated to her work, it was her life’s passion. The library won a reputation as a centre of culture as it was quickly developing and improving the working conditions in the town, and the potential for the library to develop was constantly growing. It was also building a network of libraries in the countryside.
In 1951 in the library, opened the reading room and, following the Danish model, developed broad educational and cultural activities. In recognition of such a wide range of activities the Ministry of Culture granted permission to set up an experimental institution - A Community Centre, which ran from 1957 until 1964.
In the special edition of regional almanac of literature they made their debut well-known nowadays writers: Ireneusz Iredyński and Bogdan Loebl. The network of local branches has increased to accommodate the needs of the increasing population of the town. There are now six branches, one of them serving the needs for the patients at the local hospital. The diversity of the individual departments in our library’s cultural activities has enabled the inhabitants of our region to get to know many of the leading names and a lot of faces of Polish culture.
There are various activities available including: meetings with writers, poets and artists, talks, lectures, seminars, special lessons for students, arts and literary exhibitions, competitions for readers, and reviews of the nursery school theatres. The library also offers the following in order to encourage creative thinking: a literary - artistic salon, an educational concerts series, and a competition for young poets called “First verses of a whole life”.
The library’s efforts to make reading and culture more popular have often been recognised and rewarded by the Regional Library and by the local authority. With The Central Board of the Polish Librarian Association awarded our library the “Bibliotheca Magna Perennisque" medal in 2001. The library was commended by the IDEE Foundation and nominated for an IKAR award in 2002 (the award of Publishing Season) – for the high quality of our services.

Our Present activities and our plans for the future
We realize and appreciate the importance of cultural heritage, not only from a Polish perspective, but also in a European dimension. In our activity we are guided by the directives of the Public Library Manifesto IFLA/UNESCO. The aims of our work are to:
“Provide access to cultural expressions of all performing arts, supporting and participating in literacy activities and programs for all age groups, and initiating such activities if necessary, promoting awareness of cultural heritage, appreciation of the arts, scientific achievements and innovations”. We have put these directives into practice on the basis of local culture and traditions. An issue of special importance for us is the significance of the history and cultural heritage of our town and region.
A new method for promoting culture has been running since 1992: Literary - Artistic Salons – combining official or opening ceremonies with concerts, and presentations of poetry and prose. Library members especially enjoy meeting with contemporary writers and poets. Among those who visited us are the most famous Polish artists of word - Józef Baran, Julian Kawalec, Ewa Lipska, Aleksander Krawczuk, Olga Tokarczuk, Zbigniew Święch,  Dorota Terakowska,  fr.Jan Twardowski, Melchior Wańkowicz, Witold Zechenter, Maja Komorowska, Paulina Simons.
In the methodology department  we care about:
•    substantive assistance  for  regional libraries
•    organizing cyclical seminaries for librariansorganizing annual, artistic and literary competitions for children.
•      assistance in organizing of diverse forms of educational and cultural activities
In the data-gathering and organizing department we work on increasing our collection of books and other records. We take care of creating and updating our databases, registering and working out of collection.
Library is cooperating with all the institutions and associations which activity is crucial for the development of education, culture and social sensitivity in our area. Direct work with readers is conducted in our main seat divided into four particular departments. Intensive activity in favour of the development of readership and new cultural and artistic initiatives is also conducted in other six branches of the Library in our town and its region. We do not forget about the sick people, that is why one of Library branches is placed in a local hospital. A place in which our readers can meet is Library Club. Sessions with authors, concerts, guests performances and ateliers are taking place there. Our guests can also see The Jan Wiktor Memorial Chamber (1890 – 1967), writer, publicist and social worker, patron of the Library. Unusual atmosphere of the chamber is create by his historical furniture and belongings.
Also we take pride in our Discussion Club of Book and Discussion Club of Audiobook. We constantly monitor the biggest events of the season in Polish, European and world culture. Staff members are there to help to find needed materials. Providing adequate information services to local associations, cultural institution, interest groups and readers – this is very important for us. We care about individual and self conducted education. After all -  every meeting with readers we have in a pleasant atmosphere.
The fundamental departments of our Library:
Department for adults
We recommend to our readers:
•    Prose
•    Poetry
•    Dramas
•    Essays
•    Documentaries
We have in our collection:
•    classical and modern literature
•    fiction and non-fiction
•     adventures
•    novels and satire
•     psychological novels
•     science-fiction
•    detective stories and horrors
•    historical novels 
•    sagas, romances
•     travelogues
•    Academic literature (philosophy and psychology, theory of literature, theatre, film
and music).
Among our tasks you can find:
•    Book exhibitions
•    Special library’s lesson
•    Lectures and talk
•    Discussion about books
•    Organisation of authors meetings and of concerts.
•    Cooperation with local media, and promotion of the library’s work
•    Promotion of artistically talented readers and presentation their works in the “Gallery over a stairway”
•    Popularization of the literary output of residents of Bochnia and the surrounding area
•    Cooperation with schools, associations, cultural and educational institutions

Reading room
Extremely valuable part of materials which are available (accessible) in the reading room constitute (provide) a unique collection which concern history, culture and tradition of our town and region. All this materials are collect and supplement systematically. Our reading room has 30 places for readers.  We don’ t ensure free access to the bookshelf’s. Our readers can also use our photocopying facilities. We have always extensive collections of current and archival press. We provide a free access to the computers and Internet.
In the reference library we make avaible to our readers:
•    Reference publications
•    Academic publications within different subjects for the general publi
•    The collected works of classics
•    Set texts (required reading) and their analysis
•    Guides books,  how-to books
•    Biographies
•    Maps and atlases
•    Critical studies and monographs
Department for children and the youth
In this department we have a collection of children’s and young people’s magazines, periodicals publications on children’s and young people’s literature, and thematically organized dossiers. We care deeply about stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young people and strive to support creating and strengthening reading habits in children from an early age.
We have in our collection:
•    Encyclopaedias, dictionaries, lexicons
•    Polish and foreign literature
•    Literature for children and young people
•    Set texts (required reading)
•    Academic books for the general public
•    Poetry and Tales
•    Novels, books of adventures, detective stories, travelogues and fantasy novels
•    Cartoons
Among our initiatives you can find:
•    Special meetings for little children
•    Authors' meetings and talks- artistic and literary competitions.
•    A cyclical competition for young poets “From first year for a whole life already”.
•    Books and artistic exhibitions
•    Special library’s lessons and trias
•    Educational concerts
•    Annual reviews of the nursery school theatres.
•    Cooperation with a local media
•    Promotion of library’s collection on the outside display case
•    Cooperation with nursery schools, schools, associations and cultural institutions.

Audiovisual department
“Specific services and materials must be provided for those users who cannot, for whatever reason, use the regular services and materials” – this is very important directive for us, which we can find in Public Library Manifesto IFLA/UNESCO. This department has existed since 1976, with a full range of services on offer since 1994, when it received its own dedicated room, well adapted to the needs of the disabled. The whole collection is available for anyone who is interested. We try to do all we can for people with disabilities, especially for peoples who are blind or partially sighted. We give great care and attention to our collection of audiobooks and our collection of foreign-language books. We cooperate closely with the Polish Association for the Blind, and these shared activates include organizing trips, guest performances and concerts, shared participation in the areas of culture and tradition, cultural projects and artistic workshops. All of these activities are carried out with the disabled person.
We conduct diffrent forms of creative writings workshops and Discussion Club of Audiobook.

We have in our collection:
•    Books recorded on the audio – cassettes
•    Audio – books: prose and poetry recorded on the CD or MP3
•    Books in the electronic version, which are copied on the compact – flash cards
•    Cassettes and an analogue records with classical and light music
•    Textbooks, cassettes and CD’s for a foreign – languages study
•    Fiction and academic books for the general public
•    Foreign-language literature and magazines
•    Books and periodicals published in Braille
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