The Main Library

Located at: Pl. Politechniki 1

phone: (+48 22) 234-7400
phone/fax: (+48 22) 621-13-70, (+48 22) 628-71-84


The mission of the Main Library of the Warsaw University of Technology is the provision of library and information services to the institution as a whole. This means that the library, the oldest and the largest technical library in Poland, functions as a Centre for Scientific Information. In accordance with its statutory goals, the library accumulates, catalogues and makes available the material in stock and maintains the collections. Its staff undertake bibliographic, didactic, instructional and publishing responsibilities. In addition to the administration and maintenance of the scientific information services, Main Library employees are responsible for ensuring that the specialised departmental and institute libraries adhere to the highest standards of librarianship.

 The Main Library and the departmental and institute libraries comprise the resources of the institution - a large library and information system. Thanks to the University's increasing investment in modern infrastructure, this system will soon be capable of extending a satisfactory information service well beyond the confines of the University campus. In 1999 the Main Library bought a new integrated ALEPH system necessary for developing a modern library.


The Main Library is managed by a Director responsible for ensuring that the entire information system adheres to the standards of good librarianship. The Main Library's staff of 87 includes 4 specialists with degrees in librarianship, 3 with a PhD, 62 library service personnel, 16 technical experts and 2 clerks.
 In addition, every faculty of the University has its own specialised library collection, accumulated in accordance with the interests of the academic staff and students.


The Main Library dates back to 1915, when the Warsaw University of Technology was established. The library's collection developed around the resources of the Warsaw Institute of Technology, which were saved from being taken to Russia at the outbreak of World War I. A German military hospital was based in the University's Main Building in 1915, causing extensive damage to the stock and facilities. In the inter-war period the Library expanded at much the same rate as the University and by 1939 contained approximately 78000 volumes and subscribed to 516 scientific journals. In the 1944 Warsaw Uprising the Main Building was gutted by fire and the Main Library was destroyed. Only 3850 volumes were recovered from the ruins in 1945. By 1950, when the Main Building was reconstructed, the Library had managed to bring its facilities, staff levels and collections back to 1939 levels. The Main Library last acquired additional new rooms in 1998, where users have excellent conditions in which to use the Library collection.


At present the Main Library has about 950000 volumes in stock and a collection of more than a 200000 specialised items. The library subscribes to about 1150 journals, 960 of which are foreign publications, predominantly in English.

The scope of the Library's collections closely reflects the research and educational directions pursued by the University, spanning a wide range of technical and scientific disciplines. About 15000 Polish Standards (harmonised with European and International Standards) are also available in the Library.


The Main Library's current major undertakings include the implementation of a computer-aided service provision and the gradual automation of operations. The student book and textbook lending services (since 1980) and the scientific collection units have been successfully and fully computerised (1994-1995). Now the users are able to easily search, select, order, borrow and print lending forms. In keeping with growing reader demand, the Library has continued to expand its automation capabilities. This is exemplified by the introduction of the ALEPH library integrated system wich enhances the overall library operation and complements previous computerisation activities, by easy access to www.


In the above mentioned circumstances, the primary means of assuring user access to the Main Library's information resources remains a combination of traditional information sources and services with an increasingly modern database technology.
 Own databases of the Library include:

  • ALEPH - an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) product. Address:
  • SYMPO - a centralised catalogue of conference proceedings from 1980 to date collected in 60 Polish libraries. This database is available on www and in-house,
  • BIBLIO - a list of works published by faculty members of the University since 1987 (in-house; to be moved to www),
  • DOKTO - a bibliography of dissertations prepared by University researchers.

 Foreign databases available:

  •  Compendex Plus, Science Citation Index, INSPEC, Ulrich's Plus; ISSN Compact, the Springer Catalogue, METADEX, ISTP, ICONDA, ECODISC, NTIS, JCR, SIGLE, PERINORM.
  •  Although not yet networked to individual desktops across the campuses, on-line access to the services of STN International (the Scientific and Technical Information Network) makes over 200 databases available, not only from the chemical technology-related disciplines offered in the Chemistry Department, but also from all the major fields of science, technology and business, together comprising over 50 million individual descriptions of information items.
  •  For two years now the Library has had direct access to several electronic journals. This has resulted in cooperation with a number of editorial and distribution companies, like Springer Verlag, Swets and Zeitlinger, EBSCO, IEEE. This makes researching full-text articles possible by using the Internet.


All faculty staff and registered students of the University are entitled to use the Main Library. In addition, as a public access academic library, it is available to all interested individual, institutional, domestic and foreign libraries, as well as scientists and, under due provision, to individuals and institutions of a non-academic background.


The Main Library offers an introductory course to all first year students. The course emphasis is on the major types of material available and the use of catalogues, bibliographies, indexes, abstracts and other study aids. Additional library training is available for students preparing their dissertations and is also offered to all academic staff and faculty members.

Special courses are also organised for students of Warsaw University - the Institute of Librarianship and Information Science and for students of the Archive Science and Bookselling College.


The Main Library maintains a continuous supply of the following publications and reference sources:

  • a bibliography of PhD and tenure track dissertations,
  • a review of acquisitions,
  • a guide for first year students,
  • descriptions of in-house and foreign computerised databases available,
  • the Main Library's Bulletin of Current Events,
  •  ALEPH (Student's OPAC) usage guidelines


In accordance with its statute, the Main Library functions as the First Central Technical Library in Poland, which entails a leading role in ensuring economic efficiency of the overall library and information service in the sector of technical academic libraries. For this purpose, the Library maintains effective cooperation with 50 Polish and 66 foreign academic libraries and often serves as the venue for numerous business meetings with major local and foreign publishing companies as well as firms specialising in the supply of library and information products, resources, tools and services. In addition, the Library's staff actively participate in conferences, library and information science seminars, workshops, fairs, study sessions, exchange programmes and similar events. The Main Library collaborates with several other Polish technical university libraries on library modernisation projects within the framework of the EC's TEMPUS JEP+ scheme.