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;558 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
Size40M items
14M books and publications [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

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF, English: National Library of France; French:  [bi.bli.jɔ.tɛk na.sjɔ.nal də fʁɑ̃s] ) 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.

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.

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

Contents

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]

Louvre Palace former royal palace, now hosting the Louvre Museum in Paris, France

The Louvre Palace is a former royal palace located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. Originally a fortress built in the medieval period, it became a royal palace in the fourteenth century under Charles V and was used from time to time by the kings of France as their main Paris residence. Its present structure has evolved in stages since the 16th century. In 1793 part of the Louvre became a public museum, now the Musée du Louvre, which has expanded to occupy most of the building.

Charles V of France King of France

Charles V, called the Wise, was King of France from 1364 to his death. His reign marked a high point for France during the Hundred Years' War, with his armies recovering much of the territory held by the English, and successfully reversed the military losses of his predecessors.

John II of France monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1350 until his death

John II, called John the Good, was King of France from 1350 until his death.

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]

Charles VII of France 15th-century king of France

Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.

Louis XI of France king

Louis XI, called "Louis the Prudent", was King of France from 1461 to 1483. He succeeded his father Charles VII.

Charles VIII of France King of France

Charles VIII, called the Affable, was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.

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 collectors of books. [4]

Jacques Amyot French writer

Jacques Amyot, French Renaissance writer and translator, was born of poor parents, at Melun.

Henry IV of France first French monarch of the House of Bourbon

Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Rue de la Harpe street in Paris, France

The rue de la Harpe is a street in Paris' Latin Quarter. Relatively calm and cobblestoned along much of its length, it runs in a south-easterly direction between the rue de la Huchette and the rue Saint-Séverin, where it turns south-west to where it ends at the boulevard Saint-Germain. It is a largely residential street; it is graced through its odd numbers with a few buildings dating from the Louis XV period, but buildings along the opposite side of the street are most all of a 'Haussmannian' style of a more recent stature. Its street-front commerces are varied to its southern end, but tend towards restaurants and the tourism trade towards the river. It appeared in the 19th century magazine, The Tell Tale, as the site of the murders which may have been the origin of the Sweeney Todd story.

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]

François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois Secretary of State for War under Louis XIV

François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis of Louvois was the French Secretary of State for War for a significant part of the reign of Louis XIV. Louvois and his father, Michel le Tellier, would increase the French Army to 400,000 soldiers, an army that would fight four wars between 1667 and 1713. He is commonly referred to as "Louvois".

Jean Mabillon French Benedictine monk, medievist, paleographer, diplomatics and theologian

Dom Jean Mabillon, O.S.B., was a French Benedictine monk and scholar of the Congregation of Saint Maur. He is considered the founder of the disciplines of palaeography and diplomatics.

MelchisédechThévenot was a French author, scientist, traveler, cartographer, orientalist, inventor, and diplomat. He was the inventor of the spirit level and is also famous for his popular 1696 book The Art of Swimming, one of the first books on the subject and widely read during the 18th century. The book popularized the breaststroke. He also influenced the founding of the Académie Royale des Sciences.

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]

Camille le Tellier de Louvois French clergyman

Camille Le Tellier de Louvois was a French clergyman and member of several royal academies in the reign of Louis XIV of France. He was the fourth member elected to occupy seat 4 of the Académie française in 1706.

Jean-Paul Bignon French priest and man of letters

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.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

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 Bibliotheque 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 was 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 was 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, Richelieu, Arsenal, 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, the digital library for online users, was established in October 1997. As of October 2017, Gallica had made available on the Web about:

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, is known for habitually occupying the library and reading endless copies of the newspaper Le Père Duchesne . [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

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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 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences 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. 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. 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

Coordinates: 48°50′01″N2°22′33″E / 48.83361°N 2.37583°E / 48.83361; 2.37583