100 Years of Architecture of the Silesian Library

The history of the Silesian Library dates back to the early 1920s when the idea of constructing the House of Education emerged, aiming to become a center of cultural and educational activities in Upper Silesia. The reborn Republic of Poland needed educational institutions to support the formation of national consciousness among the society, and the Society of People’s Reading Rooms, operating in Silesia, became the main investor in the construction of the facility.

The initiative of the Society of People’s Reading Rooms, which in 1924 started fundraising for the construction of the House of Education in Katowice, coincided with the need to expand the space for the constantly growing collection of the Silesian Parliament Library. This marked the beginning of the history of the Silesian Library and its subsequent buildings.

The exhibition takes us through 100 years of Silesian Library architecture, showcasing realized projects as well as those that remained only in the realm of designs. The latter could be presented thanks to unpublished materials discovered in 2022 among the archival resources of the Silesian Library. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff of the Special Collections Department of the Silesian Library for their assistance in processing these materials.

Library architecture serves as a spatial connection between the book collection, librarian, and reader. The need for a harmonious integration of these three elements makes the library building a complex architectural challenge for architects and investors. The library building is also a meeting place with cultural heritage, thus it embodies a form of a temple. We hope that the exhibition will introduce you to the rich history of the Silesian Library buildings and help you better appreciate their architectural beauty.

The exhibition is located in the main hall of the Silesian Library building at Plac Rady Europy 1 in Katowice.

The exhibition is available from June 20th to July 28th during the library’s opening hours.

Production: Institute of Architecture Documentation of the Silesian Library Exhibition Curator: Dominika Śliwińska Content Development: Dominika Śliwińska, Jakub Bródka Graphic Design: Julia Giżewska

The exhibition is part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Silesian Library.