Your train is late, a change takes hours and you don’t feel like dragging your heavy bags around the city? There’s something you can do instead – pay a visit to … a library! Recently, a historical building of Wroclaw Main Station (known as Wrocław Główny) became a house to the library boasting a rich collection of literature, periodicals and Manga. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? And so it looks ;)
How do you come up with an idea to open a library at a train station? These days, stations and airports worldwide are no longer mere service providers, but do their best to meet the needs of modern times by turning into spaces where travelers can spend their time actively by engaging in art and culture. Poland’s best examples of such metamorphoses are Stacja Kultury in Rumia – a library recognized by the American Library Association as the most beautiful library in the world – and libraries at stations in Rabka Zdroj and Oborniki Slaskie.
Importantly, it’s not the first time culture enters the Wroclaw station. From 1947 to 2007, with short breaks, the building housed the oldest and the only remaining station cinema in Europe. In over 60 years of its activity the place was visited by more than 7 million people! (There were two-hour breaks between screenings.) Cinema visitors included personalities such as Zbyszek Cybulski. You could also attend the showings of films by young directors from the famous Lodz Film School.
What about the library itself? The recently renovated station in Wroclaw is famous for the conservators’ discoveries and their eye for detail. Hence, the adopted space has retained its original interior design elements including the door and window shapes, transpicuous downstand beams and – in the center – a room with well-preserved floral polychromies. The library interior was designed by a Wroclaw-based design studio – Rea Design. Its style draws on and is inspired by the library’s location. As designer Agnieszka Opiela says: "A station is a place for travelers; it’s the beginning and the end of the journey; sometimes it’s just a break; it’s the service provider, the hall, the ticket counters, the waiting rooms, the bars. The library at the station is an apartment-like stop and resting place for every traveler."
At the library we can spend time reading some of the 20 thousand items that comprise a vast collection of books and periodicals, listening to audiobooks or surfing the Internet. Also, the library features a collection of one and a half thousand Manga titles, as well as beautiful children’s books published between 1945-1980, now displayed in the so-called Kuchnia Literacka [Literary Kitchen].
Toddlers and young kids will feel at home in a children’s corner with a plush seat, a computer and – most importantly – a rich collection of books for kids with varying reading skills. The collection includes book-toys, simple storybooks, and books that develop kids’ reading skills. The library hosts art workshops, meetings with authors and exhibitions. We’re sure it’s a perfect excuse to show up at the station waaaay before our departure!