The National Library Act on 27th June 1997 states: Libraries and their records are national heritage that serve its preservation. The libraries also organize and provide access to world and Polish science and culture [art. 3.1]. The right to use public libraries is universal [art. 3.2]. The lawmakers formulated the mission of libraries that is providing universal availability of aforementioned resources. As countries of the region constantly change and transform their life, the libraries need to seek new ways to fulfill that mission. One of those ways is creating digital library collections and providing them over internet. This is an explicit contribution of libraries to the process of building information society.
Creating Digital Library of Malopolska is one of the elements of that process. DLM has been created thanks to cooperation of Marshall’s Office (the office at the highest level of power in local self-government in Poland) and Regional Library of Malopolska as well as due to significant support of other organizations: libraries, cultural institutions, non-governmental organizations, commercial companies, publishers and authors themselves. DLM is to be an integrated part of Wrota Małopolski – the portal of Malopolska Department. The goal of this portal is providing access to resources of public institutions of the region; facilitating services of public administration; delivery of attractive regional information to the public.
Given the mission of the library its team has focused on resources important for our region. The basic criteria used for selection of material for Library are the needs of our users. This is the reason of avoiding fixed set of rules for our Library: the informational needs of users are constantly evolving, and therefore DLM should answer those needs as they arise. Initially we assume the Library will consist of four collections: „Newspapers”, „Cultural heritage”, „Science and education”, and „Regional issues”. The future content of the Library will be influenced first and foremost by its readers.
Digital Library of Malopolska is not the only library of this kind in the Polish internet resources. Today over a dozen of such projects are in operation. Most of them are based on the same technology that we use. This allows to integrated access to those resources. In other words, Polish regional and academic resources create one big unified collection. The readers are able to access the resources of each of them by using option „Search remote libraries”.
The main participants in our project are Marshall’s Office of the Malopolska region (the main undertaker of Wrota Malopolski) and Regional Public Library in Krakow which is responsible for selection and preparation of documents in the Digital Library of Malopolska. The publications entered into DLM have proper legal status. Access to some items may be limited to particular IP addresses or limited by password on request of authors or copyright owners.
The institutions and persons who would like to add resources important for our region to the collections of Library are kindly requested to contact us. We welcome every opportunity to enhance our records and every help is met with genuine gratitude.