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Uniwersytet SWPS - Logo

Oriental Library

in Warsaw

The Asian Studies book collection serves not only the SWPS University community, but also East Asian students and researchers from other academic centres. If you are outside the university community and interested in Oriental materials, please contact us.

Library resources

The Oriental Library is part of the SWPS University Library and grows under the auspices of the Department of Asian Studies.

The Library was created and developed thanks to the efforts of professor Krzysztof Gawlikowski and dr Małgorzata Ławacz, its long-time manager. Currently the Library is managed by Ms. Marta Tomczak.

warszawa kampus biblioteka orient

The Oriental collection currently contains about 19 thousand books and magazines covering all fields of knowledge about East Asian countries - their history, political and economic relations, social life, culture, art, ethnography, religion and philosophy, as well as literature and linguistics. Readers will also find textbooks for learning oriental languages and a rich collection of fiction in Polish and English. Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures are the most widely represented in the Oriental Library, accounting for almost 80% of the entire collection. Other materials cover the regions of Vietnam, India, as well as other parts of Asia and Oceania.

Film and CD library

The film library of the Oriental department includes about 250 films from Asian filmmakers, as well as other productions dealing with issues associated with the continent. The collection includes films by Akiro Kurosawa, Jasujiro Ozu, Kim Ki-duk, Wong Kar-Wai and Zhang Yimou. The Asian record library collects dozens of analogue records and CDs with Asian music, including the so-called “revolutionary operas.”

Publications in numerous languages

About 8,000 items in the collection are publications in English, another 3,000 are books in Russian, 3,000 in Polish, another 5,000 in Chinese (including classical) as well as numerous publications in other oriental languages. Textbooks on Asian languages, dictionaries and collections of press clippings are also available.

Valuable publications

Among the unique publications of the Oriental department is a complete collection of 24 official dynastic histories of China, depicting the history of China from legendary times to the end of the Empire (1912). The Orientalist book collection also contains extremely valuable items published in the last decades of the 19th century and early 20th century. These include memoirs and accounts of travels to the Far East, as well as fundamental works on the philosophy, culture, and religion of the countries of the area, such as:

  • Sinism: A study of the evolution of the Chinese world-view, H. G. Creel, Chicago 1929
  • Cesarstwo chińskie według współczesnych badań podróżnika O. M. Huc'a, Warszawa 1886
  • Podróże Księży misjonarzy Huc i Gabet w Mongolii, w Tybecie i w Chinach, Cieszyn 1898
  • Życie w Chinach (Wrażenia z podróży), C. F. Gordon Cumming, Warszawa 1899
  • Podróż naokoło świata odbyta przez Hr. De Beauvoir – Jawa, Syam, Kanton, Warszawa 1873

The collection also includes political writings: the complete works of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) known as the Father of the Republic, his successor Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) who ruled Taiwan until his death, and Mao Zedong (1893-1976), both in the original version and translation. Readers will also find rare Chinese publications from the period of World War II.

of the book collection

In 2002, Professor Krzysztof Gawlikowski and Mr Jerzy Abkowicz handed over about 3 thousand books to be deposited in the university. A year later the University purchased a valuable collection of about 3 thousand books from an outstanding sinologist, Professor Tadeusz Żbikowski. In the following years, the Oriental department developed further thanks to donations from its contributors, primarily sinologists and East Asian scholars. These were rare publications (also on the antiquarian market) issued mainly in the 1960s and 1970s (with some of them dating back as far as to the 19th century) which are of great academic and epistemic value. They include mostly books in Russian, as Western publications were unobtainable at the time. In 2005, the university acquired ownership of the collection of Mr. Jerzy Abkowicz.

Chinese and Korean gifts

The book collection was further enriched by donations from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Warsaw - in the form of several hundred of the latest publications issued on Asian and Western markets. For over 10 years now, the Korea Foundation has donated the latest scholarly publications on Korea to the Oriental Library once every year.

Japanese government subsidy

A great impulse for the development of the library came in the years 2006-2008 when the Japanese government, with the support of the Office of the Committee for European Integration and the Embassy of Japan, granted PLN 740,000 for the expansion and modernization of the Oriental department (with particular emphasis on the Japanese book collection). Owing to this subsidy, and also a considerable financial contribution from the university (about PLN 500,000), the book collection was enlarged and the Multimedia Reading Room was opened for visitors.

China Book Centre

In 2016, the China Book Centre was established within the framework of the Oriental Library, which now functions owing to book donations from the prestigious China International Publishing Group (CIPG). To date, CIPG has donated approximately 1,200 publications to the Library. Among them are classic Chinese works translated into English, academic and popular scientific publications on numerous aspects of the rich Chinese culture, works analyzing the last decades of the country's economic and social development, as well as materials for learning Chinese.


  • Leszek Cyrzyk,
  • Krzysztof Gawlikowski,
  • Bogdan Góralczyk,
  • Władysław Góralski,
  • Bohdan Kikolski,
  • Elżbieta Kucharska,
  • Małgorzata Ławacz,
  • Agnieszka Łobacz,
  • Maria Matuszyn,
  • Halina Ogarek-Czoj,
  • Elżbieta i Jacek Potoccy,
  • Jan Rowiński,
  • Marek Tylkowski,
  • Andrzej i Halina Ungerowie,
  • Bogusław Zakrzewski,
  • Danuta Żbikowska
  • and many other contributors.


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