Existance of the Library at the beginning (1906-1918)
The Library was founded along with the School and is more than a century old. In 1906 August Zieliński – a graduate of the Leopold Kronenberg School of Economics in Warsaw and the Economics Academy in Leipzig founded an Economic Academy, and provided it with instructors and teaching syllabus. The new institution also began providing educational services under the name Private Economics courses for Men under the Guidance of August Zieliński.
Also in 1906, following the acquisition of Economics handbooks and encyclopedias, as well as basic literature in the fields of trade and industry, a small specialist Library (totaled 820 volumes) was created. The School –known since as the Higher School of Economics- understood the importance of developing the Library. Many Economics books were purchased, but the lack of a proper library building proved to be a major concern. As a result, the growing collections were moved every several years to larger, rented facilities.
The period of Polish Republic II (1918-1939)
In the year 1918 - after the end of World War I - Poland became an independent country, and in the years following independence, the Higher School of Economics (known from 1933 as the Warsaw School of Economics) became an academy with much broader reach in operation, covering the whole country. In response to this situation, the School's rector, professor Bolesław Miklaszewski, ordered the construction of a new library building. The project's architect was Jan Witkiewicz- Koszczyc - cousin of surrealist dramatist Stanisław Witkiewicz (Witkacy). Witkiewicz's plans located the SGH Library on Rakowiecka Street. The Library's director, professor Konstanty Krzeczkowski, was Witkiewicz's consultant. The Library building was completed within eighteen months and opened in January 1931. It was one of the first buildings in the independent Poland that was designed to house a library. Professor Konstanty Krzeczkowski served as the Library's director from 1918. Over two decades he increased the Library's importance by turning it into the richest social-economic book collection in Central Europe. Under his guidance, the Library book collection increased from 12,000 in 1918 to 150,000 in 1939. What is more, during his term of office the Library found permanent storage for its collections.
The World War II
In September 1939 - after the outbreak of the World War II - professor Krzeczkowski was arrested by the Germans and put in prison, where he soon lost his health. He was released in November 1939 but died on December 10, 1939. After Krzeczkowski 's death, Andrzej Grodek, also one of the School's professors, and the Library deputy director since 1936, assumed directorship of the Library. In July 1940, the German occupation authorities decided to move the Library’s collections to the warehouses of the Krasiński Library on Okólnik street. However, Józef Grycz, the director of the National Library, thwarted this move, and the Library remained where it was, as a collection under the management of Department II of the Staatsbibliothek Warschau. The Department was made up of the collections of the National Library and the SGH Library. Professor Grodek was made Second Librarian of the Warsaw Staatsbibliothek, in charge of the SGH Library. Grodek was present in the Library throughout the entire occupation – including the Warsaw Upraising in 1944 -until the entire population was moved out of the city after the uprising failed. He protected the collections and hid the most precious materials outside of the Library. He was also the first librarian to return to the Library after the Germans left Warsaw – arriving on 18 January 1945. Several weeks later, on 25 February 1945 the Library became the first Library to reopen its doors to the public of the ruined city of Warsaw. Professor Grodek was the Library director up to 1947 then he was elected the Warsaw School of Economics Rector. Since that time, the Library's collections have expanded considerably.
Currently, the entire collections consists 1,003,112 volumes. The Library works for the benefit of the entire School, i.e., the Warsaw School of Economics, with its scope of services, ranging from research to the provision of didactic materials. The SGH Library is the largest Economic Library in Poland: its collections are the largest in Poland and cover a wide range of issues including economics, econometrics and economic policy, the economic history and geography of certain countries, economic law, statistics and demographics, as well as marketing and management, environmental issues and computer science. The Library also holds a large number of first editions of famous books relating to Economics, not to mention a valuable collection of manuscripts. The institution's research, didactic and service-oriented tasks look to serve the students and research personnel of the Warsaw School of Economics as well as the adult population of Warsaw ( the SGH Library in this case acts as a public library). Indeed, the Library's mission is to meet the reading demands of both the School's patrons and those its other users. Currently the librarians and the readers use a computerized catalog interface in the ALEPH (Automated Library Expandable Program) system . From the reader's view-point easiest way to find publications is through the catalog. Besides the computer catalogue -available via the terminals located in the catalog hall, the library lending section and the reading rooms- access to databases is available via School's network, whereas the NetWare and the Internet are also accessible through the library's local network. The databases are also available anywhere on campus via the Library web site. Once they have received their own personal logins and passwords, students and employees of the Warsaw School of Economics have also access to most foreign databases when off campus (e.g. from their home computers).