Institute of Fundamental Technological Research
Polish Academy of Sciences


On 8 May Poland celebrates the National Library and Librarian’s Day. The celebration was initiated by the Polish Librarians’ Association and every year marks the beginnings of the Library Week from 8 until 15 May.

IPPT PAN Library exists since the beginnings of the Institute in 1953 and has always been active in our institution’s life. One of its most important goals is to be able to appropriately adapt to the ever-changing reality of contemporary world and to the readers’ needs. Digital libraries often fail to provide full access to the wealth of their resources that the traditional libraries offer. By a traditional library we mean one which stays constantly active in its endeavors to enable full access to book collections, also by means of extensive library exchanges. Apart from the very basis of every library that is its traditional book collections, there are many user-friendly functionalities such as various search engines and other mechanisms of finding the targeted scientific information. It would be difficult to imagine the efficient functioning of such complicated systems without the watchful eye and competence of the librarians and their constant bibliographic penetration and parallel observation of the current developments of science.

On the occasion of the Library and Librarian’s Day, I interviewed dr Bogusława Lewandowska-Gruszka, head of IPPT PAN library.

As the head of IPPT PAN library, what information do you choose to give to invite others to cooperate with our library?

BLG: At IPPT PAN library, we provide access to the world-stature scientific knowledge available in print and in a digital format. The profile is systematically adjusted to the evolving interests of our readers, members of IPPT PAN. The library follows through the development of IPPT PAN scientific research, mainly based on the statistical research conducted at the Library. It is our priority to provide highest quality library collections, therefore we very carefully select new titles. It is my personal priority to provide as much access as possible to the scientific literature needed for our scientists’ current research. Through the IPPT PAN Library, our registered readers can also access other libraries collections from universities and other science centres. Everyone is welcome to contact us.

You have been running the IPPT PAN Library since 1998. How would you characterize those years of library activity?

BLG: The last 23 years of the history of IPPT PAN Library have been a period of intense modernization of the librarian’s workspace due to information technology advancements and their implementations in the world of libraries. We constantly enlarge the electronic store of scientific literature and we notice a decreasing interest in reading printed collections. We have replaced the card catalogs with digital ones and are more and more deep-diving into the world of electronic resources. The implementation of modern information technologies has changed the way we search and access scientific information and the way we develop and share such library collections access. It fosters and facilitates scientific communication. What poses a challenge for the Library activity in the recent years is the progressive digitalization of these library collections to which we are authorized to give open access. You can access them via the Digital Repository of Scientific Institutes (RCIN). Owing to the existence of RCIN digital library, our Readers are gaining access to more and more research resources in the digital form from any computer in the world.

It goes without saying that a library is not just a collection of books, but also a meeting place. I wonder, what where your reasons for becoming a librarian?

BLG: I remember that my family house was always full of books, ever-present magazines, reprints, notes. Being a scientist’s daughter (prof. dr. hab. Józef Lewandowski) and a teacher’s daughter, in my childhood years I had a constant access to literature and the printed word. In my parents’ private book collection, mathematics and natural science always assumed the leading positions, accompanied by single items from various fields of social sciences and arts. One day I decided to organize this rather diverse private book collection into a form similar to a professional library.

So, does it mean that your role as a librarian comes down to only organizing book stacks?

BLG: Well, no (smile). A librarian is rather a person who systematically discovers the world of books. Just that for me, this world has never been a distant or rarely visited world. As I have mentioned before, I grew up surrounded by books and I was able to appreciate their worth as a source of knowledge. I read for the very pleasure of epistemic experience. I was always equally passionate about reading fiction and scientific literature. My scientific interests were actually quite diffused and I couldn’t concentrate on one specific research field. Such array of academic interests, which to some extent contributed to the fact that I completed several university majors, has proven itself useful in the work of a librarian. It helps with reviewing and evaluating scientific literature added to a library collection.

rola bibliotekarza


Can working for IPPT PAN be engaging? What are your most interesting moments in working for our library?

BLG: The most engaging moments are meetings with our Readers, who are outstanding specialists conducting world-class research in their dedicated fields of science. Many of them donate valuable volumes from their private book collections to our Library. Recently, thanks to the efforts of Professor Michał Giersig and Professor Tadeusz Burczyński, we have received valuable scientific volumes from the private library collections of Professor Elmar Zeitler. Another important element of my library work is to organize exhibitions of research achievements of the most outstanding scientists of our Institute. The first such exhibition was inspired by Professor Henryk Petryk and it was made possible thanks to the extremely friendly cooperation with Professor Richard B. Hetnarski. I would like to take this opportunity and again thank both Professors for their invaluable support in organizing the exhibitions.

Who was your guide through the world of librarianship?

BLG: That would be my mentors, especially Professor Elżbieta Barbara Zybert. With real passion and commitment, Professor Zybert gave lectures in the theory of librarianship and research information, and presented us to the world of European scientific libraries. The second important person in my professional education was Professor Michael Buckland from the UC Berkeley School of Information – I attended several terms of his seminar on information science. I could say I was lucky to be instructed by such scientific authorities as both professors.

What could we wish you on the occasion of the Librarian Day?

BLG: To give a positive to all the queries made by our Readers. I wish to be able to provide dedicated literature to all the Institute’s developing research fields. I also wish that all scientific research published by our Institute gain immediate recognition and be extensively quoted, and join the stacks of most prestigious academic and research libraries in the world. Bibliometric indicators of publications provide an understanding of the important role Open Access plays in the dissemination of science. Therefore, I would also like to offer our Readers at the IPPT PAN library as many publications in the Open Access as it is possible.

Thank you for your time!


K. Parkitna

More: About the IPPT PAN Library


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