Research

The staff of the Institute of Library Science, established in December 1956, were found among librarians of Wroclaw’s research libraries. That is why research carried out by the new institution was a continuation of the academic work of those scholars, focusing on the history of books in Silesia – book production (paper making, printing), circulation (book selling, libraries) and reception (readership).

Another important field explored by scholars from the very beginning of the Institute’s existence was a theoretical study which created the theoretical basis for book studies (bibliology) as an autonomous discipline. The advocates of this discipline placed the book and its social function at the center of their research. With time the field of theoretical studies was redefined and bibliology was increasingly perceived as the study of book culture that reveals, describes and interprets the phenomena associated with the functioning of books as social tools of culture. The significance of these studies is confirmed by the term “Wroclaw’s (Polish) bibliological school” that can be encountered in literature.

In the late 1960s the Institute’s researchers began to expand their work to include the history of books and libraries in other regions of Poland as well as various contemporary issues. In 1970s and 1980s the problems analyzed by Wroclaw’s library scholars focused on: the theory of book studies (bibliology), the history of books, periodicals, printing, library studies, reading and bibliography. The catalogue of research subjects also included themes combining bibliology and other disciplines, e.g. literature studies and art (book art).

In 1990s the scholars began to devote more attention to issues related to the evolving media. In addition to fields that had already been explored, studies in editing, bibliometrics and scientometrics, new media and information technologies (electronic books and digital libraries) appeared.