The Silesian Library is a regional public library with a scientific status and takes into account:
- the needs of academic communities from all Silesian universities,
- scope and fields of research conducted in Silesian scientific institutions,
- training and advisory help for self-government public libraries.
The Silesian Library is continuing traditional trends in specialisation
of the collection, according to the acquisitions policy carried out
by the Library’s predecessors:
the Library of the Silesian Parliament (1922–1936) and the Józef
Piłsudski Silesian Public Library (1936–1945).
In 1952 the Library received a new name the Silesian Library and was proclaimed a scientific library. Since 1 July 2000, when it was merged with the Regional Public Library, it has been performing as a regional library with the same scientific status.
The Silesian Library’s collection comprises of documents belonging to all branches of knowledge, particularly law, economy, social sciences, humanities and Silesiaca, i.e. regional materials concerning the present and the past of Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin, with the consideration for any administrative changes in the history of the area.
The Library has in its possessions approximately 2 500 000 volumes, among them:
- printed materials (monographs, brochures, periodicals),
- manuscripts and typescripts,
- cartographic materials (maps, atlases),
- iconographic materials (graphic materials, drawings, engravings, photographs, postcards, bookplates),
- audio-visual materials (analogue records, compact discs, cassette tapes),
- electronic data carriers (CD’s, DVD’s).
The main functions performed by the Silesian Library are:
- collecting, cataloguing, making available and preserving Polish and foreign literature and other documents supporting the development of scientific research or serving the needs of education,
- archivisation of legal deposit,
- information and bibliographic assistance to institutions and individuals,
- propagation of books and reading by organizing exhibitions, authors’ meetings and other cultural events,
- initiating, conducting and publication of research works belonging to the field of library and information science or related sciences, with particular consideration for Silesiaca,
- coordination of communal public libraries activities.
Some library materials require special protection and optimal conditions of storage and treatment. That is why the Silesian Library offers restricted access to many valuable titles, which are available only in reading rooms or in the form of microfilm (periodicals, certain old prints). Optimal storage conditions are provided by the modern high-bay storage system applied in the Silesian Library.