Bibliothèque nationale de France

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National Library of France
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Logo BnF.svg
Bibliotheque nationale de France (site Richelieu), Paris - Salle Ovale.jpg
Established1461;561 years ago (1461) [1]
Location Paris, France
Collection
Items collected books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings and manuscripts
Size40.9M items
including 15.7M books, 400,000 journals, 900,000 maps, 2M music sheets. 40M web archives equivalent to 1,400 teraoctets [2]
Access and use
Access requirementsOpen to anyone with a need to use the collections and services
Other information
Budget€254 million [2]
Director Laurence Engel
Staff2,300
Website www.bnf.fr
Map
Bibliotheque nationale de France

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (French:  [biblijɔtɛk nasjɔnal də fʁɑ̃s] , "National Library of France"; BnF) is the national library of France, located in Paris. It is the national repository of all that is published in France and also holds extensive historical collections.

History

The National Library of France traces its origin to the royal library founded at the Louvre Palace by Charles V in 1368. Charles had received a collection of manuscripts from his predecessor, John II, and transferred them to the Louvre from the Palais de la Cité. The first librarian of record was Claude Mallet, the king's valet de chambre, who made a sort of catalogue, Inventoire des Livres du Roy nostre Seigneur estans au Chastel du Louvre. Jean Blanchet made another list in 1380 and Jean de Bégue one in 1411 and another in 1424. Charles V was a patron of learning and encouraged the making and collection of books. It is known that he employed Nicholas Oresme, Raoul de Presle and others to transcribe ancient texts. At the death of Charles VI, this first collection was unilaterally bought by the English regent of France, the Duke of Bedford, who transferred it to England in 1424. It was apparently dispersed at his death in 1435. [3] [4]

Charles VII did little to repair the loss of these books, but the invention of printing resulted in the starting of another collection in the Louvre inherited by Louis XI in 1461. Charles VIII seized a part of the collection of the kings of Aragon. [5] Louis XII, who had inherited the library at Blois, incorporated the latter into the Bibliothèque du Roi and further enriched it with the Gruthuyse collection and with plunder from Milan. Francis I transferred the collection in 1534 to Fontainebleau and merged it with his private library. During his reign, fine bindings became the craze and many of the books added by him and Henry II are masterpieces of the binder's art. [4]

Under librarianship of Amyot, the collection was transferred to Paris during which process many treasures were lost. Henry IV again moved it to the Collège de Clermont and in 1604 it was housed in the Rue de la Harpe. The appointment of Jacques Auguste de Thou as librarian initiated a period of development that made it the largest and richest collection of books in the world. He was succeeded by his son who was replaced, when executed for treason, by Jérôme Bignon, the first of a line of librarians of the same name. Under de Thou, the library was enriched by the collections of Queen Catherine de Medici. The library grew rapidly during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, due in great part to the interest of the Minister of Finance, Colbert, an indefatigable collector of books. [4]

The quarters in the Rue de la Harpe becoming inadequate, the library was again moved, in 1666, to a more spacious house in Rue Vivienne. The minister Louvois took quite as much interest in the library as Colbert and during his administration a magnificent building to be erected in the Place Vendôme was planned. The death of Louvois, however, prevented the realization of this plan. Louvois employed Mabillon, Thévenot and others to procure books from every source. In 1688, a catalogue in eight volumes was compiled. [4]

The library opened to the public in 1692, under the administration of Abbé Louvois, Minister Louvois's son. Abbé Louvois was succeeded by Jean-Paul Bignon, who instituted a complete reform of the library's system. Catalogues were made which appeared from 1739 to 1753 in 11 volumes. The collections increased steadily by purchase and gift to the outbreak of the French Revolution, at which time it was in grave danger of partial or total destruction, but owing to the activities of Antoine-Augustin Renouard and Joseph Van Praet it suffered no injury. [4]

The library's collections swelled to over 300,000 volumes during the radical phase of the French Revolution when the private libraries of aristocrats and clergy were seized. After the establishment of the French First Republic in September 1792, "the Assembly declared the Bibliothèque du Roi to be national property and the institution was renamed the Bibliothèque Nationale. After four centuries of control by the Crown, this great library now became the property of the French people." [3]

Reading room, Richelieu site France, Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France, site Richelieu, salle ovale.jpg
Reading room, Richelieu site

A new administrative organization was established. Napoleon took great interest in the library and among other things issued an order that all books in provincial libraries not possessed by the Bibliothèque Nationale should be forwarded to it, subject to replacement by exchanges of equal value from the duplicate collections, making it possible, as Napoleon said, to find a copy of any book in France in the National Library. Napoleon furthermore increased the collections by spoil from his conquests. A considerable number of these books were restored after his downfall. During the period from 1800 to 1836, the library was virtually under the control of Joseph Van Praet. At his death it contained more than 650,000 printed books and some 80,000 manuscripts. [4]

Following a series of regime changes in France, it became the Imperial National Library and in 1868 was moved to newly constructed buildings on the Rue de Richelieu designed by Henri Labrouste. Upon Labrouste's death in 1875 the library was further expanded, including the grand staircase and the Oval Room, by academic architect Jean-Louis Pascal. In 1896, the library was still the largest repository of books in the world, although it has since been surpassed by other libraries for that title. [6] By 1920, the library's collection had grown to 4,050,000 volumes and 11,000 manuscripts. [4]

M. Henri Lemaître, a vice-president of the French Library Association and formerly librarian of the Bibliothèque Nationale ... outlined the story of French libraries and librarians during the German occupation, a record of destruction and racial discrimination. During 1940–1945, more than two million books were lost through the ravages of war, many of them forming the irreplaceable local collections in which France abounded. Many thousands of books, including complete libraries, were seized by the Germans. Yet French librarians stood firm against all threats, and continued to serve their readers to the best of their abilities. In their private lives and in their professional occupations they were in the van of the struggle against the Nazis, and many suffered imprisonment and death for their devotion. Despite Nazi opposition they maintained a supply of books to French prisoners of war. They continued to supply books on various proscribed lists to trustworthy readers; and when liberation came, they were ready with their plans for rehabilitation with the creation of new book centres for the French people on lines of the English county library system. [7]

New buildings

View of the Bibliotheque nationale de France, Francois-Mitterrand site Paris 13e BNF Site Francois-Mitterrand 746.jpg
View of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, François-Mitterrand site

On 14 July 1988, President François Mitterrand announced "the construction and the expansion of one of the largest and most modern libraries in the world, intended to cover all fields of knowledge, and designed to be accessible to all, using the most modern data transfer technologies, which could be consulted from a distance, and which would collaborate with other European libraries". Book and media logistics inside the whole library were planned with an automated 6.6 km (4.1 mi) Telelift system. Only with this high level of automation, the library can comply with all demands fully in time. Due to initial trade union opposition, a wireless network was fully installed only in August 2016.

In July 1989, the services of the architectural firm of Dominique Perrault were retained. The design was recognized with the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 1996. The construction was carried out by Bouygues. [8] Construction of the library ran into huge cost overruns and technical difficulties related to its high-rise design, so much so that it was referred to as the "TGB" or "Très Grande Bibliothèque" (i.e. "Very Large Library", a sarcastic allusion to France's successful high-speed rail system, the TGV). [9] After the move of the major collections from the Rue de Richelieu, the National Library of France was inaugurated on 15 December 1996. [10]

As of 2016, the BnF contained roughly 14 million books at its four Parisian sites (Tolbiac, i.e. Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand, and Richelieu, Arsenal and Opéra) as well as printed documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps and plans, scores, coins, medals, sound documents, video and multimedia documents, scenery elements..." [11] The library retains the use of the Rue de Richelieu complex for some of its collections.

Plan of the Bibliotheque Francois-Mitterrand Plan de la Bibliotheque Francois-Mitterrand, Haut-de-jardin et Rez-de-jardin.svg
Plan of the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand
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Located near the Métro station:  Bibliothèque François Mitterrand .

Mission

The National Library of France is a public establishment under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. Its mission is to constitute collections, especially the copies of works published in France that must, by law, be deposited there, conserve them, and make them available to the public. It produces a reference catalogue, cooperates with other national and international establishments, and participates in research programs.

Manuscript collection

The Manuscripts department houses the largest collection of medieval and modern manuscripts worldwide. The collection includes medieval chansons de geste and chivalric romances, eastern literature, eastern and western religions, ancient history, scientific history, and literary manuscripts by Pascal, Diderot, Apollinaire, Proust, Colette, Sartre, etc. The collection is organised:

Digital library

Gallica [13] is the digital library for online users of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and its partners. It was established in October 1997. Today it has more than 6 million digitized materials of various types: books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, cartoons, drawings, prints, posters, maps, manuscripts, antique coins, scores, theater costumes and sets, audio and video materials. All library materials are freely available.

On February 10, 2010, a digitized copy of Scenes of Bohemian Life by Henri Murger (1913) became Gallica's millionth document. And in February 2019, the five millionth document was a copy of the manuscript "Record of an Unsuccessful Trip to the West Indies" stored in the Bibliothèque Inguimbertine.

As of 1 January 2020, Gallica had made available on the Web about:

Most of Gallica's collections have been converted into text format using optical character recognition (OCR-processing), which allows full-text search in the library materials.

Each document has a digital identifier, the so-called ARK (Archival Resource Key) of the National Library of France and is accompanied by a bibliographic description.

List of directors

1369–1792

1792–present

Films about the library

Alain Resnais directed Toute la mémoire du monde , a 1956 short film about the library and its collections.

Famous patrons

Raoul Rigault, leader during the Paris Commune, was known for habitually occupying the library and reading endless copies of the newspaper Le Père Duchesne . [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

National library Library specifically established by the government

A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works. A national library is that library which has the duty of collecting and preserving the literature of the nation within and outside the country. Thus, national libraries are those libraries whose community is the nation at large. Examples include the British Library, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.

<i>Guirlande de Julie</i>

The Guirlande de Julie is a unique French manuscript of sixty-one madrigaux, illustrated with painted flowers, and composed by several poets habitués of the Hôtel de Rambouillet for Julie d'Angennes and given to her on her name day in May 1641. The 1641 manuscript was bought by the Bibliothèque nationale de France in 1989 and is now kept in the Département des Manuscrits of the BnF.

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Situated at 16 rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, the Académie nationale de médecine was created in 1820 by king Louis XVIII at the urging of baron Antoine Portal. At its inception, the institution was known as the Académie royale de médecine. This academy was endowed with the legal status of two institutions which preceded it — the Académie royale de chirurgie, which was created in 1731 and of the Société royale de médecine, which was created in 1776.

Cabinet des Médailles Department of the National Library of France tasked with historical artifacts

The Cabinet des Médailles, more formally known as Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, is a department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. The Cabinet des Médailles is located in the Richelieu-Louvois building – the former main building of the library – on the Rue de Richelieu.

Bibliothèque Mazarine Library at the Institute of France in Paris

The Bibliothèque Mazarine, or Mazarin Library, is located within the Palais de l'institut de France, or the Palace of the Institute of France, at 23 quai de Conti in the 6th arrondissement, on the Left Bank of the Seine facing the Pont des Arts and the Louvre. Originally created by Cardinal Mazarin as his personal library in the 17th century, it today has one of the richest collections of rare books and manuscripts in France, and is the oldest public library in the country.

École Nationale des Chartes

The École Nationale des Chartes is a French grande école and a constituent college of Université PSL, specialising in the historical sciences. It was founded in 1821, and was located initially at the National Archives, and later at the Palais de la Sorbonne. In October 2014, it moved to 65 rue de Richelieu, opposite the Richelieu-Louvois site of the National Library of France. The school is administered by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research. It holds the status of a grand établissement. Its students, who are recruited by competitive examination and hold the status of trainee civil servant, receive the qualification of archivist-paleographer after completing a thesis. They generally go on to pursue careers as heritage curators in the archive and visual fields, as library curators or as lecturers and researchers in the human and social sciences. In 2005, the school also introduced master's degrees, for which students were recruited based on an application file, and, in 2011, doctorates.

Claude Dupuy (1545–1594), a Parisian jurist, humanist and bibliophile, was a leading figure in the circle of French legal humanists and historians that gathered around Jacques Cujas and Jacques-Auguste de Thou. Dupuy (Puteanus) assembled a great library of manuscripts that was inherited by his sons Pierre, a noted scholar himself, and Jacques, but when Jacques died in 1657, the books and manuscripts entered the Royal Collection and are now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Codices from his library are identifiable under the title Codex Puteanus. Among his most celebrated manuscripts are the St. Paul's Epistles in Greek and Latin ; a collection of Tironian notes. His ninth-century Statius, his Tertullian Apologeticum and his fifth century codex of Livy's Third Decade were among the group of his manuscripts that came from the Abbey of Corbie, acquired by foul means or fair. "Claude Dupuy was not interested in illuminated manuscripts; he looked for good and correct texts, elegantly written. He read, and sometimes annotated them." He died too young to publish the results of his research, but his long correspondence with Gian Vincenzo Pinelli has been edited by Anna Maria Raugei.

Bibliothèque-Musée de lOpéra National de Paris

The Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra National de Paris is a library and museum of the Paris Opera and is located in the 9th arrondissement at 8 rue Scribe, Paris, France. It is no longer managed by the Opera, but instead is part of the Music Department of the National Library of France. The Paris Opera Library-Museum is open daily; an admission fee is charged.

Joseph Van Praet

Joseph Basile Bernard Van Praet was a Flanders-born librarian and scholar active in France.

Jean-Paul Bignon

The Abbé Jean-Paul Bignon, Cong.Orat. was a French ecclesiastic, statesman, writer and preacher and librarian to Louis XIV of France. His protégé, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, named the genus Bignonia after him in 1694.

Armand-Jérôme Bignon

Armand-Jérôme Bignon was a French lawyer, royal librarian and conseiller d'État.

Fontaine Louvois

The Fontaine Louvois is a monumental public fountain in Square Louvois on the rue Richelieu in the Second Arrondissement of Paris, near the entrance of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It was built between 1836 and 1839 during the reign of King Louis-Philippe.

Henri Auguste Omont was a French librarian, philologist, and historian.

Imprimerie nationale

The Imprimerie nationale, known also as IN Groupe brand, is a company specialized in the production of secure documents, such as identity cards and passports, and a supplier of public utility identification applications. Owned by the French state, its history dates back to the Manufacture royale d'imprimerie founded by Cardinal Richelieu. Its Président-directeur général (CEO) is Didier Trutt.

Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne

The Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne is an inter-university library in Paris, France. It is situated in the Sorbonne building. It is a medieval institution of the Sorbonne, which evolved over the centuries as part of the University of Paris. It is a common library of Panthéon-Sorbonne University and Sorbonne-Nouvelle University. It is administered by Panthéon-Sorbonne University as per a governing agreement signed among these universities in 2020.

Libraries in Paris

Paris, the capital of France, has many of the country's most important libraries. The Bibliothèque nationale de France operates public libraries in Paris, among them the François-Mitterrand, Richelieu, Louvois, Opéra, and Arsenal.

Institut National dHistoire de lArt

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Under the French Ancien Régime, royal censorship was the task of censors appointed by the Chancellor to judge the editorial legitimacy of a manuscript and to authorize its publication by an approval they signed.

References

  1. Jack A. Clarke. "French Libraries in Transition, 1789–95." The Library Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Oct., 1967)
  2. 1 2 "La BnF en chiffres". Archived from the original on 2007-11-28.
  3. 1 2 Priebe, Paul M. (1982). "From Bibliothèque du Roi to Bibliothèque Nationale: The Creation of a State Library, 1789–1793". The Journal of Library History. 17 (4): 389–408. JSTOR   25541320.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "National Library of France"  . Encyclopedia Americana .
  5. Konstantinos Staikos (2012), History of the Library in Western Civilization: From Petrarch to Michelangelo, New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, ISBN   978-1-58456-182-8
  6. Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver, Burdett. p.  38.
  7. "University and Research Libraries". Nature . 156 (3962): 417. 6 October 1945. Bibcode:1945Natur.156Q.417.. doi: 10.1038/156417a0 .
  8. Bouygues website: Bibliothèque nationale de France Archived November 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  9. Fitchett, Joseph (30 March 1995). "New Paris Library: Visionary or Outdated?". The New York Times . Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  10. Ramsay, Raylene L. (2003). French women in politics: writing power, paternal legitimization, and maternal legacies. Berghahn Books. p. 17. ISBN   978-1-57181-082-3 . Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  11. "Welcome to the BnF". BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France). Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  12. See the Tome III-1 link: http://editions.bnf.fr/catalogue-des-manuscrits-grecs-iii-1-supplément-grec-n°-1-à-150. The Tome III-2 is not listed on the site. The Tome III-3 link: http://editions.bnf.fr/catalogue-des-manuscrits-grecs-iii-3-supplément-grec-n°-901-1371
  13. Website link is https://gallica.bnf.fr/accueil/en/content/accueil-en
  14. Horne, Alistair (1965). The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-1. St. Martin's Press, New York. pp. 29–30.

Further reading