First steps

I use BUW. It’s easy!

I’m in BUW for the first time and I don’t know what to do.

You can obtain all the information about using the Library, registration, services, collections etc. from BUW staff, especially librarians on duty at the Information Desk. It’s worth referring your questions and doubts to them.

If you have any questions before your first visit, you can contact us: askalibrary.buw@uw.edu.pl

 How can I register with the Library?

UW students with an electronic student ID (ELS) and USOS account can activate their library account online.
PhD students and UW employees who do not hold ELS or ELP register in Registration point is situated on the ground floor on the left side from the entrance from Lipowa street (Monday – Saturday 9 am – 9 pm, Sunday – closed) by showing a relevant ID card. You can find more information on how to register here.
Every UW employee can activate their Electronic Employee Card as their library card. This card can be used in BUW and in most of the faculty libraries.
You can activate your ELP here.
Persons from outside UW may register in BUW by purchasing a library card (PLN 20.00 paid by card only) valid for 1 year, authorising them to use the collections only on site.

 I am a student of a university other than UW. May I use the Library?

Persons from outside UW may register in BUW by purchasing a library card (PLN 20.00) valid for 1 year, authorising them to use the collections only on site. Students of seven Warsaw-based universities may use the Warsaw Reciprocal Borrowing Programme – Bibliowawa.
The following universities offer borrowing of their main libraries collections:

  • the Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University,
  • the Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education,
  • the Warsaw University of Technology,
  • the Medical University of Warsaw,
  • the Military University of Technology,
  • the Cardinal Wyszyński University,
  • the University of Warsaw.
 What are the Library opening times?

Opening hours:

  • Monday – Sunday – 0-midnight

Self-service mode hours:

  • Monday – Saturday 8 am – 9 am, 9 pm – midnight
  • Sunday 0 –  midnight (Information Desk is open from 3 pm to 8 pm)

You can find the opening times of each Library department here.

 I am a UW student. How many books can I borrow?

UW students may borrow up to 10 volumes for up to 30 days.

 How are books arranged in BUW?

BUW collections are divided into 8 broad subject areas, described with a system based on letters or letters and numbers:
P – Language, literature (level 1)
B L – Philosophy, psychology, religion, education (level 1)
AM C D-F GN700-875 – History (level 1)
G-GF Q R-V – Geography, mathematical, natural and applied sciences (level 1)
K J – Law, political sciences (level 2)
H GN1-673 GR-GV – Social sciences, anthropology (level 2)
A Z – General works, library science (level 2, Main Reading Room)
M N – Music, architecture, fine arts (level 2)

 I have a new hologram on my student ID, but my account hasn’t been prolonged.

As a rule, the prolongation should take place automatically. If any problems occur, please visit Registration point (situated on the ground floor on the left side from the entrance from Lipowa street) or the Circulation Desk where the employees will prolong your library account.

 I have a duplicate student ID. When I enter BUW and the card is scanned, it reads “No data”. What shall I do?

You need to activate your new student ID at the Registration Desk (on the ground floor on the left side from the entrance from Lipowa street).

Using the catalogue

 How can I find books I need?

To find needed books, use the online catalogue, available from BUW home page. You can search the catalogue by author, title, subject, journal title, or you can use an advanced search option, combining the author’s name and a book title. You can filter and narrow the search results by selected categories, for example books published only in English after 2010.

 I have found a book marked “Wydział Nauk Ekonom.” in the catalogue. Can I borrow it?

Such information means that the book is located in the Library of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of UW at ul. Długa 44/50 where you need to go to access it. To borrow a book from BUW, its location needs to be “BUW Wolny Dostęp” or “BUW Magazyn”.

 What does “W” in the call number stand for?

The letter “W” in the call number of a book means that the book belongs to the textbook collection. The collection includes books in Polish, mainly student’s books, course books and books from compulsory, recommended and supplementary reading lists for all UW courses of studies. The textbook collection is located on level 2 next to the subject area K J – Law, Political sciences.

 Can I reserve a book that is borrowed?

Yes. After logging into your account in the online catalogue, click on the button “Request” next to a particular copy. When the book is returned, the system will send a notification to your email address. The status of the book will change into “Awaits pick-up”. The reserved book needs to be collected from the Circulation Desk within 5 working days.

Accessing the collections

 What is Wolny Dostęp (Open Stacks)?

Open Stacks is an area of free access to collections available on bookshelves on levels 1 and 2. This is a space of BUW available directly to its users. In other words, it is an open storage for books and journals combined with places to work. Books from Open Stacks are marked with stickers in four colours: red on books intended for use only on site, blue on books you can borrow, white means books belong to the Textbook Collection, yellow on the so-called deposits.
Every book of Open Stacks has its alphanumeric classification (containing information about the subject area, the author, the year of issue, etc.). Sample classification of a book in the broad area B, L: LC1390 .B69 2002
Books from Open Stacks cannot be requested. You need to pick the selected book from the shelf yourself and take it to the Circulation Desk or to the selfcheck stations (excluding copies marked with a red sticker). Publications used on site have to be put away on trolleys located at the end of bookshelves (please, do not put away books on shelves yourself!).

 How to borrow a book with the location “BUW Magazyn” (Closed Stacks)?

To borrow a book from the closed stacks, you need to place an order electronically – after logging into your account in the online catalogue, click on the “Request” button. You can pick up the book from the Circulation Desk after about an hour or, if the order is placed after the closing time of the library, on the next day during the library opening times.

Can anyone borrow a book on my behalf?

No. Lending your library card to any third person is not allowed. Each user borrows a book personally by showing a librarian their own library card. Also in the case of borrowing from the Reading Room the user collects and returns ordered materials personally.
The return of borrowed materials may be performed by another person and they do not need to show any document (the library card) then.

 Can I borrow a book ordered to the reading room?

Books ordered to the Reading Room cannot be taken outside. If you wish to borrow a book, provided it can be loaned, you need to report it to a librarian at the information desk in the Reading Room and request the book to be transferred to the Circulation Desk. The awaiting time is about 1 hour.

 How to renew a book?

You can renew a book, or prolong its borrowing period, yourself after logging into your user’s account in the online  catalogue or at the Circulation Desk or to the selfcheck stations. You cannot renew a book if:

  • the due date has already passed,
  • the book has been reserved by another user,
  • you have outstanding payments towards BUW or any faculty library.

Each book can be renewed 5 times at most.

 Where are periodicals from a given subject area?

Periodicals which are most often used, most interesting or most significant are located in the Open Stacks, in the relevant subject area on separate bookshelves, arranged in the alphabetical order. The newest periodicals from the current year are available in the Current Periodicals Reading Room. Other periodicals are located in the Closed Stacks and you need to order them to the Main Reading Room through the online catalogue.

 I’d like to read daily newspapers. Where can I find them?

Newspapers from the current year (mainly in Polish) are located in the Current Periodicals Reading Room on level 2, next to the Reading Room.
You can find information about the Reading Room here.

 Are there only books and periodicals in BUW?

No, not only. One of the advantages of BUW is its broad offer of electronic materials. E-collections include books, periodicals and research articles, which can be easily found thanks to a clear arrangement according to broad subject areas. UW students and staff have full access to data bases from computers connected to UW network, as well as from home computers. Persons from outside UW who are registered with BUW may access e-collections in the library only.
E-collections can be found here.
BUW offers its users free training in e-collections – contact to request a training: askalibrary.buw@uw.edu.pl.
Apart from books, journals and papers, BUW collects multiple other materials – CDs, maps, manuscripts, music scores, etc. In the Library there are about 400,000 rare objects of special value belonging to the special collections. If you wish to access them, please go to the Information Desk first. Information about special collections and working hours of each department can be found here.

 May I access e-collections at home?

UW students and staff have online access to e-collections also at home. You need to log into a selected data base by giving your library card number and your password.

 What is multisearch?

Multisearch allows you to browse most of the electronic data bases available at UW, as well as the online catalogue. It gives you the possibility to quickly and efficiently search for a specific publication in many places. Multisearch is located on the website of the Library.

 I haven’t found a book in the online catalogue. What shall I do?

If you haven’t found a book which was published before 1997 in the online catalogue, please check the Card Catalogues.
This is a separate database containing scanned catalogue cards.
Items found in these catalogues can be ordered to the Reading Room or the Circulation Desk or can be accessed in the reading room of the relevant department of special collections.

 When can I pick up a book ordered from the closed stacks?

A book can be collected not earlier than an hour after placing an order. It will be waiting 5 days for the pick-up (including the day of your order).

In the case of books ordered from the closed stacks their status visible on the user’s account does not change. Regardless of the book status visible on the user’s account, it can be collected.
In the case of reserving a book which is borrowed by another user, its status on the user’s account who reserves it changes from “In progress” into “Awaits pick-up”, when the book is returned to the Library. Additionally, an e-mail with such information is sent.

 I have ordered periodicals to the Reading Room but I don’t have time to look through them straightaway.

Materials ordered to the Reading Room can be collected within 5 days. Later they are sent back to the closed stacks.

 Can I access MA and PhD theses at BUW?

BUW does not collect MA theses – please ask about them in your faculty library. However, there is a possibility to access PhD theses which are deposited in the UW Repository. If the author of a PhD thesis expressed their consent, the thesis is accessible to all interested persons. PhD theses may be searched here.
In the case of theses whose authors refused access to them (files cannot be downloaded from the Repository website), it is possible to access them on site in the Library. To do so, please contact us by email at repozytorium.buw@uw.edu.pl or by phone 55 27 139. You may ask at the Information Desk about the access to PhD theses.
More about repositories here.

 I have completed my course of studies but I haven’t defended my thesis yet. May I still use the Library?

If you already have lost the status of a student, but have not yet defended your thesis, you can use the Library (borrow 3 books outside) on special terms. You need to ask for a certificate of course completion in your faculty office. On the basis of this document your library account will be prolonged (despite the lack of a current hologram).

Internet and copying of materials

 Can I copy or scan fragments of books in BUW myself?

Yes, you can. At BUW you may use a scanner (at the Information Desk) and copying machines located in the Open Stacks area. To be able to use them, you need to buy a pre-paid card, which costs PLN 3.00, and top it up with a relevant amount of money in reloaders.
Library materials available in the Reading Room may be copied only there or you may request a copy in the Reprographic Office.
Information on copying, scanning, printing and other forms of duplicating along and the price list (in Polish) are available here.

 Is WiFi available in BUW?

Yes, it is. You only need to select library network BUW Hotspot and log in with your login (library card number) and your password.

 My password to the Internet is not working. What shall I do?

If the password to the Internet does not work, you need to report it at the Circulation Desk where you will receive a new password. You may retrieve the password yourself by logging into the online catalogue and clicking on “Forgot your password?”or going to the Reader’s account.

 How long can I use the Internet?

There is no limit to Internet access at BUW.

Other questions

 Where can I get an annual and end-of-studies settlement (a circulation sheet)?

Settlements are issued at the Circulation Desk. In the case of the end-of-studies settlement, please remember to settle your account with your faculty library first.
Information on settlements can be found here.

 I haven’t returned a book in time. What shall I do?

You need to return an overdue book at the Circulation Desk as soon as possible. There is a fee of PLN 0.40 for each working day of failing to return an item in time, charged for each book separately. You may pay the fee instantly at the Circulation Desk (by card only). Please note that your account remains blocked until you pay the fee.

 How can I pay the fee for overdue books?

You can pay the fee:

  • at the Circulation Desk of BUW or
  • to the selfchecks (level 1) (only by card) or
  • by a bank transfer (only in case of books borrowed from BUW):
    Uniwersytet Warszawski Bank Millennium S. A. – 69 11602202 0000 0000 6085 0087 (and in case of transfers from abroad: BIC/S.W.I.F.T.: BIGBPLPWXXX IBAN: P L 6 9 1 1 6 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 00 6 0 8 5 0 08 7) with a title „Opłata za przetrzymanie książek z BUW” (“Fine for overdue BUW items”).

Please note! The information about your outstanding payments shall be removed from your library account after receiving the information about the payment (money transfer) made from the UW Bursar’s Office, which takes a few days.
Fines for overdue items borrowed from other UW faculty libraries are paid solely to the bank accounts given on the faculty libraries websites.

 What do I do if a book is missing or not on the shelf?

If the catalogue record says “Available” and the book you are looking for does not seem to be in its assigned shelf location, there are a number of possibilities:

  1. The item has been mis-shelved; often, circulation staff can find such an item fairly quickly.
  2. The item has been returned and is in the process of being re-shelved.
  3. A patron is using the item in the library.
  4. The item is missing.

The Library circulation staff will be happy to search for the book(s). Visit the Information desk or a subject librarian and report that you cannot find the book.

 How do I access JSTOR?

Access to JSTOR is open to members of the University of Warsaw community: current students, staff, and faculty.
Access it by clicking on the Online resources and then on Online databases. There you will find databases in an alphabetical order. Choose JSTOR.

 Do I have access to databases as a visitor?

Only registered users get access to databases in the library.

 What if an item I need is loaned to somebody else?

You can reserve the book and the patron who has it should return it on the due date at the latest. You can reserve the book online via the online catalogue.

 Can I have books from the Univeristy of Warsaw Library delivered to my faculty library?

No, there is no such service at the University of Warsaw.

 Are there group study/meeting spaces in BUW?

Yes, we offer two group study rooms on level 2. They are open and no reservation is required. And the catalogue hall on level 1 serves as a meeting space for many people.

 Does my student ID allow me to get me into all the libraries?

No, it doesn’t. If you wish to use the Univeristy of Warsaw Library you need to register and then your student ID will serve as a library card. For faculty libraries – check the terms of use of the one you are interested in.

 Can I return materials to any library at the University of Warsaw?

No, you can’t. Materials must be returned to the library they were borrowed from.

 Does the Univeristy of Warsaw Library have a charger for my mobile phone or tablet?

Yes, ask for it at the Information Desk on level 1.

 Is there one search box I can use to search all databases to find articles on my topic?

Use Multisearch on our website. However, it will not search all databses we offer. For subject-specific search you need to use a proper database.

 Can I borrow a laptop at the library?

No, there is no such service.

 I didn’t return a borrowed book on time. How much am I being charged per day?

It is 0.40 PLN per day per each book.

 Can I borrow journals?

No, most of the periodicals are non-circulating items. Only a few are available to check out (you will find such information in the online catalogue).

 Can I borrow any book?

No, you can only borrow books published after 1950, with several exceptions. BUW does not lend:

  • items from reference collections of library departments and staff rooms,
  • items from special collections,
  • encyclopaedias, dictionaries, bibliographic publications or any other publications of reference character,
  • periodical publications,
  • newspapers,
  • items published before 1950,
  • items in poor condition or unbound offprints and reprints of small size,
  • items that are rare, difficult to purchase or containing numerous tables, maps, illustrations and prints or files with loose sheets of paper,
  • prints marked as rare with Cim. symbol,
  • microforms,
  • items from Open Stacks marked with a red label or a red dot.
 In which languages can I find publications in BUW?

BUW and faculty libraries offer a wide range of literature in multiple languages. Online catalogue enables users to narrow the search results to publications in a selected language. Moreover, electronic resources include scientific publications in foreign languages, especially in English.

Icons: Freepik (www.freepik.com) from www.flaticon.com, Retina Display Icons (www.iconfinder.com/iconsets/TWG_Retina_Icons) from The Working Group (blog.twg.ca).