History of library
Just like many other scientific libraries, ŠVK in Košice was originally a university library, too. However, trying to answer the needs of the region, it underwent a gradual transformation and has developed into a universal scientific library focusing on building and employment of library and information stocks. In its current form, the library was born in August 1946 as the library of the Agricultural and Forest Engineering College in Košice, but as far as the development of its stocks is concerned, its traditions go back to 1657. The core of the stocks is the historical library of Alma Universitas Episcopalis Cassoviensis, the first university in Košice, which underwent a long historical development through Academia Regia in the 18th Century down to the Law Academy operating until 1922. The library started taking over its historical stock in 1954. This stock has 90 000 items comprising both incunabulas and books from the beginning of the 20th Century, mainly from fields like theology, law, medicine, history and natural sciences. The historical stocks of the predecessors of State Scientific Library in Košice form organic parts of library stocks.
The library started its operation with the donation of books comprising about 1700 items received from the Central Library of the Slovak Technical College in Bratislava in 1946. Later, collections were expanded by acquisitions, donations and inter-library exchanges. In 1947, the library was granted the right to obtain an obligatory copy and this had a big significance for its further development. In the fifties of the 20th Century, the library started developing its collections of technical documents, i.e. patents, standards and companies' literature. So the library could become the regional center of such documents. Documents on special carriers, like audiocassettes, videocassettes, diskettes, CDs and CD ROMs also have become integral parts of its special collections.
Since the very beginning of its existence, the library has paid special attention to the development of its stock of periodicals and has focused much of its efforts on building the basic stock of significant Czecho-Slovak (after 1990 Slovak) periodicals, and of certain selected foreign newspapers and magazines, as the resources of current information on various scientific and technical fields. First, efforts were directed to the acquisition of periodicals up to 1945 and later to the retrospective acquisition of newspapers and magazines published in Slovakia. In the seventies of the 20th Century, the library was assigned the coordination of acquisition of foreign periodicals in Eastern Slovakia. The result of this coordination work is the List of Foreign Periodicals Received by the Libraries of Eastern Slovakia published each year.
Since the very beginning of its existence, the library has been plying an active role in the field of bibliography. This, though a very demanding work, enabled the library to be ranked as one of the foremost libraries in Slovakia. Consequently, its position in natural sciences and technology has strengthened. In addition to this, within the framework of nation-wide scientific and research activities, it also started processing literature on social sciences from regional and retrospective point of view (research of the history of book culture, research of retrospective bibliography, regional personalities). As a result, editorial activities increased considerably. The most significant editions comprise Who is Who in Košice between 1848 and 1918, Incunabulas in Košice, Jasov and Spišská Kapitula, A Guide to the History of Book Printing in Košice, Bibliography of Articles from Foreign Newspapers and Magazines in Slovakia between 1901 and 1918, Bibliography of Articles from Slovak Newspapers and Magazines in Slovakia between 1901 and 1918 and The Roma in Literature. In addition to this, the library also publishes various professional bibliographies, occasional issues of libraries in Košice Region, publications of expositions, lists of literature and occasional publications.
ŠVK was among the first libraries that started employing automation in customer-oriented services in the former Czechoslovakia. As early as in 1981, a PC-based automated user database started its operation. One year later, the loans database was created. Currently, the whole of the agenda of loans and user files are handled by powerful PCs. PC processing systems are employed in literature processing too. The library information system of "Non-periodical Documents" tested in 1993 started real operation in 1995. From 1996 on, the users may use our on-line catalogue which enables searches for literature in files organized according to author's name, item title, international decimal classification, ISBN, subject heading, key word and document number since 1992.
The participation in Project Kolin addressing regional university libraries, i.e. University of P.J.Šafárik, Technical University, Prešov University and ŠVK Košice was of big importance for the library. The above-named libraries received funds from Mellon's Foundation for the purchase of integrated library systems and related equipment and for the training of their expert workers. Chosen for information management system was ALEPH, an integrated library system.