Central Library of Geography
and Environmental Protection

The Library is an organizational unit of the Stanisław Leszczycki Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IGiPZ PAN).
The beginnings of the Library can be traced to 15 October 1953 – the date when a highly valuable collection of volumes and maps was made over to the IGiPZ PAN by the Polish Geographical Society. Then a number of 20,096 inventory units was acquired by the Institute: including 18,000 books, monographs and journals, nearly 8,000 maps and 300 atlases.
The collection was growing rapidly. At the end of 1953, there was 27.096 inventory units, 10 years later it amounted to 132,884 units, and as of 2010 the collection was more than doubled to reach the number of 290,875 items.

The special credits for establishment of geographical library goes to Assoc. Prof. Bogodar Winid. Among numerous benefactors that contributed to dynamic growth of the collection in number of items especially at the start of the Library activity can be mentioned inter alia: Polish Academy of Sciences, Jagiellonian Library, National Library, Geographical Institute of the Wrocław University, Complex of Geographical Departments of the Jagiellonian University, Ministry of Culture and Art, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Staff of the Polish Army, as well as private individuals, among whom can be mentioned: Prof. A. Bolewski, the then President of the Polish Academy of Sciences – Prof. J. Dembowski, Prof. K. Dziewoński, Dr. J. Kobendzina, Prof. J. Kondracki, Dr. L. Kosiński, Prof. J. Kostrowicki, Dr Kotarski, M.Sc. L. Kubiatowicz, Prof. S. Leszczycki, Prof. B. Olszewicz, Prof. S. Pietkiewicz, Prof. Rokicki, Assoc. Prof. B. Winid, Prof. G. Wuttke, and many other contributiors. The Library was given also gifts from abroad benefactors, among others, from: Prof. K. Markov, J. Ilnicz, Prof. J. Sauszkin, Prof. A. Kez, Prof. Kadar, Prof. H. Chur and Prof. Lehman. On the occasion of 10th anniversary of the Institute of Geography PAS, Prof. Józef Staszewski gave to the Library his highly valuable book collection, containing 570 atlases, hundreds of maps, as well as ca. 5,000 books and monographs. Among these were host of antique printed materials. This special gift, additionally, immensely enriched the Library resources.

Since its beginnings, the Library was in joint partnership with the Library of Geographical Institute of the Warsaw University, however, with maintenance of their separate inventories, as the Central Library of Geography and Environment Protection. The joint book collections of the IGiPZ PAN Library and the Library of Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies of the Warsaw University were the basis for establishment of the Central Library of Geography and Environment Protection. One of the largest geographical libraries in Europe was founded in 1979. These two libraries were assembling their collections in accordance with allocated to them specialization that involved following areas: geography, cartography, spatial development, environment management and protection (with exclusion of technical aspects). The Library of the Faculty of Geography and Regional studies put main emphasis on assembling the items and materials that are best suited for didactic purposes.

In 1997, the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization PAS has been relocated to the new seat. That year these two libraries –  thus far working in close organizational partnership between the IGiPZ PAN and the Warsaw University -  were completely split up. The IGiPZ PAN Library transferred its collections to the new site located at the Twarda Street 51/55 in Warsaw, simultaneously preserving its name, i.e., the Central Library of Geography and Environment Protection (CBGiOŚ).

Since the beginnings of its existence, the Library has considerably contributed to the field of information and scientific documentation. Continously, since 1955, the subsequent yearbooks of “Bibliography of Polish Geography” have been published. Initially, the Bibliography appeared only in print version. Since the 1985/1986 volume, it is also available under www address: http://www.cbgios.pan.pl/bazy/bgp/, in the form of the Internet database. In addition, six volumes of “Centralny Katalog Zbiorów Kartograficznych w Polsce” (Central Catalogue of Polish Cartographic Collections) were published, and two-volume “Katalog Dawnych Map Rzeczypospolitej w Kolekcji Emeryka Hutten Czapskiego i innych zbiorach” (Catalogue of Antique Maps of the Republic of Poland in the Collection of Emeryk Hutten Czapski and other collections). The Library contributes to compiling the list of publications of researchers at the IGiPZ PAN, which is published on a yearly basis in the IGiPZ PAN annual reports, as well as being available in the form of a collective computer database, too. Up to 2000, the staff of the Library had been drawing up annually the catalogue of the most important acquisitions to the Library collection, distributed among a few dozens or so scientific centers in Poland. Due to a start of the online catalogue of the Library it ceased to be published. Since 1999, on a monthly basis, an electronic bulletin of the latest acquisitions has appeared on the Library website.

The Central Library of Geography and Environment Protection has taken active part in international cooperation. It has been involved in global exchange of publications, promoting the achievements of Polish geographical sciences in nearly 50 countries of the world. It has been cooperating inter alia with the British Library and the Library of Congress. In the field of scientific information, a long-term collaboration has been carried out with a leading geographical publishing houses, such as, e.g., Elsevier  or Bibliographie Geographique Internationale.

The IGiPZ PAN Library provides services primarily for academics. Among the permanent Readers of its resources are students from Polish and foreign universities. The positive aspects of the Library collection, such as, size, completeness and topicality of subject matter decide that, apart from strictly academic circles, among Readers visiting the Library are also representatives of governmental agencies and experts. Also publishers willingly access the Library materials. At the same time, the Library collections constitute the insightful source of knowledge for individual Readers, in this connection teachers, journalists and various fiends can be mentioned.

In accordance with the Act of the Ministry of Culture and Art as of 24th November 1998, the historical collections of the Library, in particular antique cartography, prints, books and immensly rich geographical literature of the 19th century, were included into the National Library Recources, along with the resources of the other 54 Polish libraries.

The IGiPZ PAN Library is open to all the public. Everybody can have access to items that are interesting for him/her on the site in the Library’s reading room. Most of the classes of our collection is lent to be read at home, with returnable security deposit. There is also possiblity to Xerox and scan a selection of the Library’s materials.

Currently, the Library staff carry out the project entitled “Digital Repository of the Scientific Institutions”, under the framework of which the items and materials, inter alia, of the IGiPZ PAN Library are to digitized to be accessible through the Internet network.

We hope that all our Visitors will find in the collections owned by the Library of Geography and Environment Protection the most interesting and needed materials. Do not be afraid to turn to the Library staff with questions. All our librarians have an extensive knowledge of the Library resources and of other sources of scientific information, that is why they will certainly be of much help in your search for literature. The Library cordially invites all of the interested public to visit its site.

Dorota Gazicka-Wójtowicz Head of the Library