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Książnica Cieszyńska (the Cieszyn Historical Library) is a municipal research library, containing several historical book collections of regional provenance. They consist of ca. 130,000 volumes, including ca. 18,500 pre-1800 publications, and ca. 17,000 manuscript units. Its collections comprise prints and manuscripts produced in the region, as well as those which - having been brought here since the Middle Ages - inspired the development of the region’s culture. Works written in most European languages, connected with different national and confessional circles, representative of all the ideological streams of the European culture are to be found there. The library forms the most important monument to the literary culture of the region, as well as an important component of the European cultural heritage. On January 23, 2009 Książnica Cieszyńska has entered the agreement on co-creation of the Silesian Digital Library (SDL). In the first stage, Książnica Cieszyńska made available the digital collection which had been prepared for the Cieszyn Virtual Library, established in 2003, now converted according to the standards of the SDL. The collection comprises nearly 130,000 pages and includes monographs, historical and statistical publications, source materials, diaries, bibliographies, directories, either directly relating to Cieszyn Silesia, or helpful in the studies of the history of the region. In 2009, the collection is to be extended with the digital publications prepared in a result of the project „Preservation and conservation of the Cieszyn literary heritage”, financed with the aims of the EEA Financial Mechanism and realized by the consortium of five libraries and archives in Cieszyn. As a result of the project, the SDL will be enlarged by ca. 1,000 units of the collection of manuscripts of the library of Leopold J. Scherschnik, as well as digital copies of several dozen of titles of old regional periodicals, including „Gwiazdka Cieszyńska”, „Dziennik Cieszyński”, and „Silesia”, altogether nearly 420,000 pages. In future, Książnica Cieszyńska is going to continue digitalizing the regional literary heritage and including it into the Polish and European digital collections.

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