Historic book collections, which are now part of Cieszyn Library, were brought together in the 1930s and stored in the City Museum. They remained there until 1960, when Minister of Culture and Art decided to separate historic book collections and use them to form the Historic Branch of the Silesian Library in Katowice. In 1988, the Silesian Library stopped taking care of the collection in Cieszyn and the books were handed over to the town authorities. In the same year, the Head Officer of Cieszyn decided to incorporate the Historic Branch into the City Public Library in Cieszyn.
These changes were made in dramatic circumstances. The historic book collections had been deprived of their own premises since 1960. In 1985, when the renovation of the Museum started, they were placed in a few substitute rooms. Conditions in most of these rooms were unsuitable for storing the books, let alone making them available to the public. Moreover, there was a catastrophe during the relocation. Approximately 1000 old prints and manuscripts were flooded. The material degradation of the book collections from Cieszyn was accompanied by the gradual marginalization of their scientific and cultural importance. A large part of the collection belonging to the Historic Branch became unavailable to readers. At the same time a programme initiated in the mid-70s, whose aim was to complete and modernize the inventory and catalogue documentation of the collections, was blocked. The inventory carried out after the collection changed its owner quickly showed that many materials were not recorded at all, and the remaining part came with inventory lists and catalogues which were incomplete, inaccurate and did not correspond to contemporary standards. It was obvious that radical changes were needed to improve this situation.
Corrective actions were undertaken at the beginning of the 1990s by the new local government of Cieszyn and specialists from the leading Polish bibliographic centres, who were concerned about the fate of the book collections from Cieszyn. In 1991, a conference devoted to historic book collections from Cieszyn, which was organized by the Polish Bibliographic Society and held in our town, resulted in a paper entitled “General Expertise on the Condition and Perspectives for the Historic Branch of the City Public Library”. Its principal message was to transform the Historic Branch into an independent entity and a modern library, capable not only of protecting its book collections, but also of reintroducing them into scientific and cultural circulation. It was also proposed to call this entity Cieszyn Library (Książnica Cieszyńska), because this name would refer to “the historical tradition of Polish regional institutions which performed a variety of culture-forming functions”. The project was in line with the intentions of local authorities and was supported by the local scientific and cultural community. As a result, initial practical arrangements for founding Cieszyn Library were made in 1992. A newly established Programme Board of the Historic Branch of the City Library in Cieszyn devised a far-reaching action plan for the future Cieszyn Library, as well as a draft of its charter and organizational regulations. Based on these instruments, on 25 November 1993, Cieszyn Town Council passed a resolution establishing Cieszyn Library and adopting its charter. On 1 January 1994, the newly established institution began its statutory activity. On 24 November 1998, pursuant to the amended Libraries Act, the Minister of Culture incorporated its collection into the National Library Resource, and on 21 March 2001, the Minister classified Cieszyn Library as a research library.