The common library of the Institute of Botany of the Jagiellonian University and Institute of Botany of the Polish Academy of Sciences is the largest botanical library in Poland. Its creation and development are closely related to the history and changes of two institutions: the Department of Chemistry and Natural History and the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University. The first purchase of botanical books in 1794 is considered to be the beginning of the Library. The Library still owns four volumes by N. J. Jacquin, Icones Plantarum (published in 1781–1793), which were included in the first purchase. In the mid 19th century, according to the regulation by the Chancellor of the University, the collections were managed by the Jagiellonian Library. At the end of the 19th century, an independent library belonging to the Botanical Garden was developed. In 1896 the library contained more than 500 volumes. The next inventory from 1923 showed 3,500 volumes. This collection consisted mainly of purchases and subscriptions from all over Europe, and also substantial gifts from University professors (e.g. Marian Raciborski, Józef Rostafiński, Aleksander Slędziński, and others).
In 1923, after World War I, Jadwiga Dyakowska started working in the Library of the Department of Systematics and Geography of Plants and the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University. During that time she was an Assistant Professor for the Department, and later be came a Professor of the Jagiellonian University. She was the head of the Library until her retirement in 1976. In the 1920's the exchanges of publications started to develop, and currently the exchange remains the significant means of acquiring publications by the Library. Through the exchange with 400 partners in 60 countries we receive 500 journals and a large number of books and brochures. Thanks to Prof. Jadwiga Dyakowska, the Library survived the period of the Nazi occupation, and the number of books even increased by about 500 volumes.
After World War II, the increase in the Library collection was minimal. In 1953, establishment of the Department of Botany of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the fusion of the two libraries into one central library resulted in its development. At that time the Library had 6,334 volumes of books and journals and a large collection of copies of reprints (about 20,000). Prof. W. Szafer was the organizer and director of the two institutes. His goal was to establish in Kraków a central library for botanical sciences with the financial help of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Much more funds were available for book purchases in the Institute than in the Department of the University and therefore an increase was also unproportionally higher in the Institute, for instance, 154 books were acquired by the Department and 210 by the Institute in 1954; and in 1960 the Department acquired 99 books while the Institute acquired 882. In addition, exchanges with other libraries were very dynamic: in 1960's and 1970's the Institute of Botany PAS established 450 exchange partners and the Institute of Botany UJ established 150. The exchanges still remain an important source of new acquisitions (as well as purchases of books, new publications and acquisition of collections, such as those of Jadwiga Wołoszyńska, Władysław Szafer, Tadeusz Wilczyński, Bogumił Pawłowski, Andrzej Środoń, and Maria Reyman). In 1995 our Library’s collection increased greatly through the generosity of dr M. Kramer who donated her late husband’s, dr K. Kramer, Professor of Zürich University, very valuable collection of books, brochures, maps and slides to the Jagiellonian University.