We don’t know exactly when our city’s first public library was opened, but its roots can be traced far back in history. The Dominican (or Franciscan) cloister being a respected institution that during the 1490s, stood where the Szekely Tamadt citadel stands today, probably had a smaller library, as one would need written documents for training of monks, and other ceremonial purposes. In the case of the Jesuit monastery built in our city, during the XVIth century, the existence of a library can be stated as fact, because in 1539, it established a middle-school level educational institution. Today the Scientific Library, containing over 77000 volumes, is the offshoot of the former Reformed (Lutheran) Church Library, which was created at the founding of the institution. Three very old publications (incunabulum), a dozen of „postincunabulum”, more than a hundred books dating back the second half of the XVI, old Hungarian books, manuscripts, more than a thousand volumes from the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, journals, school reports, give the collection its inestimable value.
During the second half of the XIXth century resident libraries start to become part of everyday city life. Such libraries were formed by the Citizens Book-club founded in 1872, by the local Women’s Club founded in 1872, by the Young Trader’s Club founded in 1887, or by the Club for Industrial Self-learning and Aid. According to a note from 1895 the local (bourgeois) Casino had five comfortable rooms, with a lecture room, and numerous newspaper issues.
Our public library, founded in 1951, can be considered a spiritual successor of these local endeavours. Its first true location, in 1958, was inside the Cultural Centre, and in 1988, when this location became too small, it was moved under Kossuth street nr. 23, in the building of a former bank. Property issues and a growing book collection made this location, in a few short years, almost unusable. After a few years of trying to find a suitable solution, the Local Council decided to transform the building of the former „Szabó Károly” restaurant into an appropriate location for the Public Library.
Renovations were started in 2000 and the move itself happened in 2001. The institution reopened on the 19th of February 2001: today it’s considered the most modern and well equipped library of the region.
Currently the library has over 135570 volumes, from which 5000 are audio-visual and digital documents. It has over 5000 active members, and an annual number of visitors larger than the current local population. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as besides the regular services the library places great importance on the visual arts and other cultural activities.
Our Library is a place where one can not only spend his/hers free time in a useful way, but can also be considered a place for spiritual rejuvenation.
We offer a complete range of library services: book lending, lecture rooms, access to electronic documents, audio-visual section and youth section.