The first mentions of the Public Library in Kazimierz Dolny are from the year 1948. That was precisely when Zdzisława Filipkowska – an activist of Children’s Friends Association – initiated a process of building a public library in the town. St. Christopher Tenement House in the main Market Square was the first location of the Kazimierz library. Thanks to Zdzisława Filipkowska’s active involvement, the children’s reading room was created and the fundraising started for building a fully-fledged town library. The first step in this direction was gathering the book collection and basic library equipment. Over 61 years of its existence, the Kazimierz Library has changed its location as many as 12 times. It was moved from St. Christopher House to St. Nicolas House. Then, the library collection was housed in St. Anne Church in Lubelska Street, to be later on moved to the Ulanowski family townhouse in Senatorska Street. The library then functioned in the premises of the Kazimierz Fire Station, in the “Agramówka” House, and even in the Celej Tenement House in Senatorska Street. In May 1992, it was moved to the former ambulatory clinic rooms in 32/34 Lubelska Street, where it can still be found today. The last significant event in the library history took place in the 1990s. In 1992, the Town Council passed a resolution joining the Library with the Town Culture Centre. As a result, the library has become a branch of the Town Culture Centre.
Since its inception, the Kazimierz library has been blessed with librarians, who were truly passionate and dedicated to their work, very friendly to the readers, and who made the library a people friendly place. During the especially difficult and poverty-stricken period after the WWII, the library was the only cultural centre in town that supplied books which were scarce goods at that time. During the times of Communism, when many books were banned by censorship, those publications were circulated in Kazimierz among the trustworthy readers on the samizdat carbon paper copies.
About people who have co-created the Kazimierz library
Among those who gave their contribution to the Kazimierz library were the women described by Barbara Dzikoń in her master’s thesis titled: The Public Library of the town and region of Kazimierz Dolny between the years 1948 and 1998.
Irena Jeżewska (1904-1974)
In the Interbellum period, she worked at the Kazimierz Dolny Library’s Friends Association. During the World War II, she was running a shop, also used as a contact point for the Home Army resistance soldiers. After the war, since 1948 she worked in the children’s reading room which was then transformed into the town library in 1951.
Helena Księska (1913 – 1999)
She came to Kazimierz Dolny from Grudziądz before the Second World War. During the occupation of Poland, together with her husband – a former lecturer at Polish Cavalry Training Centre in Grudziądz, she became involved in the underground resistance movement. Since 1952, she managed the town library in Kazimierz Dolny, the then only cultural institution in town. She enjoyed working with young people. She respected them as much as she respected her librarian’s work, which gave meaning to her life.
Alina Ziarnicka (born 25 September 1936)
Alina Ziarnicka used to work as the manager of the Children’s Section since 1964. She was very interested in the educational value of children’s books and periodicals. She found interesting ways to popularise books.
Lidia Nadolska (born 3 January1946)
She began work in the library in 1976, as the manager. She saw work as her vocation. She introduced new ways of working with readers, which contributed greatly to popularisation of reading. She was committed to the idea of inspiring respect among the local community for the library. Thanks to her high competence and courtesy towards the readers, the public library came to be seen as a user friendly place which would draw both the local people and visitors to the town. Lidia Nadolska retired in 2008.
Anna Piłat (born18 March 1975)
Since January 2008, she has managed the library with a great commitment to both maintaining its best traditions and seeking new effective ways of reaching the readers.