The beginning of the 20th century – Stadtbibliothek Stettin
The origins of the Pomeranian Library date back to 1905, when a newly created City Library of Szczecin (Stadtbibliothek) found its seat in a building adapted from a secondary school of the 19th century. The Library owes its development to Erwin Ackerknecht, PhD - the Library director in 1907-1945. His great contribution was consolidating valuable scientific book collections from the territory of the present-day West Pomerania. Nearly 200 thousand volumes comprised collections of school and church libraries, books of associations and scientific circles as well as collection of donors from Szczecin and the region. Among them collections of Fryderyk Wilhelm School Library (Friedrich-Wilhelm-Schule), the Pomeranian Museum (Pommersches Landesmuseum), church libraries in Szczecin, Szczecin Masonic lodge "Loge zu den drei Zirkeln" and the Pomeranian Society of History and Archeology (Die Gesellschaft für Pommersche Geschichte und Altertumskunde) deserve a particular mention.
Thanks to Ackerknecht’s efforts the City Library featured inter alia: Music Library (Musikalienbücherei) (1913), Center of Folk Libraries (Zentrale für Volksbüchereien) (1919), Folk Library (Volksbücherei), Folk High School (Volkshochschule), Pomeranian National Touring Library (Pommersche Landes-Wander-Bücherei), and High School of Librarianship (Staatliche Büchereischule). Publication of a magazine for librarians titled Bücherei und Bildungspflege commenced at that time.
The 1930’s and the start of national-socialist rule brought restrictions on the Library’s activities. Erwin Acknerknecht, temporarily removed from the position of the Library director, focused on gathering materials in Pomeranian Biographic and Iconographic Archive he had established, as well as on organizing numerous exhibitions.
Once the II World War had broken out, the most valuable collections were sent out to various locations in the entire territory of Western Pomerania to protect them from damage. During the air raids of 1944 the Library’s building sustained some partial destruction.
Post-war years – City Library of Szczecin
On the 12th July 1945 the activity of the city Library was resumed, being the first Polish library in the destroyed Szczecin to do so. Edward Kiezeweter was appointed as a director the institution. Work on systematic remedying of the post-war destruction commenced, along with book collection sorting, receipt and conservation of the surviving but still scattered collections, inter alia: parts of book collection belonging to: St. Mary’s Gymnasium Library(Marienstifts-Gymnasium) in Szczecin, containing the remains of Kamień Pomorski bishops’ library, pomeranian dukes’ library in Szczecin and Peter Groening’s Gymnasium Library in Stargard Szczeciński (Gymnasium Groeningianum), storing the books of St. Mary’s Church in that city.
The first Polish books were donated to the library by settlers, moved to the area from the Polish eastern frontier. In the course of 1946-1951 on the strength of a political decision sections of scientific collections were deposited in other academic libraries in the country.
Voivodeship Public Library started its operation in 1947. It was headed by Jan Zarański. In 1955 a merger of City and Voivodeship Libraries resulted in the creation of Voivodeship and City Public Library /VCPL/, which exercised supervision over the entire network of public libraries in the city and the-then Szczecin Voivodeship.
From the Voivodeship and City Public library to Stanisław Staszic Pomeranian Library
Rich collections and growing academic and educational activities of the library served as decisive factors in granting the institution a status of an academic library in 1965, and as of 1969 – a status of an institution obliged to collect every item that is published in Poland.
In 1956-1974 Stanisław Badoń, PhD, stood at the library’s helm. In 1966 as part of the celebrations of One Millennium of the Polish state, VCPL was named after Stanisław Staszic - one of the most eminent representatives of the Polish Enlightenment.
The Library continued to grow and develop. In 1962 a new enclosed walkway linked both pre-war buildings. In 1999 a modern edifice with a surface measuring 10 thou. m2 was put into operation. Stanisław Krzywicki, heading the library for nearly 30 years (1974-2003), was the chief initiator of the construction.
On the grounds of agreements made by seven voivodeship governors of the Pomeranian region, Voivodeship and City Public Library was renamed as the Pomeranian Library on the 3rd October 1994 and was granted a new statute.
Under a City Council resolution of the 1st April 1995 a City Public Library was founded in Szczecin, which took over 51 library branches. Three library branches remained under the supervision of the Pomeranian Library.
21st century – with tradition towards modernity
At present the Pomeranian Library is a local government cultural institution, with West pomeranian Voivodeship Local Government as its founder. It serves the function of a central library for the entire Pomerania and that of a voivodeship public library, having 180 local government libraries in West Pomeranian voivodeship in its custody.
Owing to its rich book collection, numbering 1.7 m items of books, magazines and special collections, the Pomeranian Library constitutes a principal workshop for academic and educational work carried out by Szczecin academic circles. Among all readers frequenting the Library, it is exactly students, academics and pupils that rank as the most numerous group.
Apart from academic books, popular science literature and belles letters, collections of specialist reading rooms generate profound interest among the library users, and in particular: extensive collections documenting the past and the preset times of Western Pomerania, manuscripts and old prints, collections of iconography and works of arts: original paintings, graphics, sculptures and reproductions, cartographic collections, documents from social life and social norms, vinyl records and CD’s, sound books, Braille books, large print books, data bases, bibliographic information from various fields.
In 2009 West Pomerania Digital Library POMERANIA was opened – it is a digital platform of West Pomerania System of Regional and Academic Information, enabling an online access to historical and contemporary collections that constitute national heritage or cultural heritage of our region, documenting its development.
The Pomeranian Library serves as a venue for events of great import to the development and promotion of culture. Numerous cultural events are organized within its walls – exhibitions, lectures, book promotions, literary meetings. Achievements of regional artists are presented here.
Each year the library releases several publications of its own: a trade quarterly West Pomeranian Librarian (Bibliotekarz Zachodniopomorski) published continuously since 1959, a series titled Monumenta Pomeranorum since 2001, presenting the most distinguished figures in the history of Szczecin and Pomerania, Bibliotheca Buddhica Polonica series since 2004, presenting texts of greatest significance on the culture and philosophy of the Far East. Bibliography of West Pomerania (Bibliografia Pomorza Zachodniego) published since 1960 (available online at the Pomeranian Library website since 1999), it registers selected Polish texts on West Pomerania.
The Pomeranian Library also acts as an organizer and a co-organizer of conferences of consequence to librarianship, culture and science. It plays host to outstanding personalities of the world of culture, science and politics. The library also works for the integration of the local community, it co-operates with cultural institutions and libraries of the region and abroad, promoting our region and the Polish culture through its multi-faceted activities.
The Library houses: Board of District Association of Polish Librarians as well as the Association of Friends of the Pomeranian Library, established in 1989, which supports the Library through, inter alia, financing purchases of cimelia and collections of historic value.