The BIBLIOTHèQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE (BNF; French: ) is the
National Library of
France , located in
Paris . It is the national
repository of all that is published in France.
* 1 History
* 2 New buildings
* 3 Mission
* 6 Popular culture
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
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.
Charles VII did little to repair the loss of these books, but the
invention of printing resulted in the starting of another collection
Louvre inherited by Louis XI in 1461. Charles VIII seized a
part of the collection of the kings of
Aragon . 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
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
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.
The quarters in the
Rue de la Harpe
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.
The library opened to the public in 1692, under the administration of
Abbé Louvois , Minister Louvois's son. Abbé Louvois was succeeded by
the Abbé Bignon , or Bignon II as he was termed, who instituted a
complete reform of the library's system. Catalogues were made which
appeared from 1739–53 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
Joseph Van Praet it suffered no injury.
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
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." Reading Room, Richelieu site
A new administrative organization was established.
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.
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.
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. By 1920 the library's collection
had grown to 4,050,000 volumes and 11,000 manuscripts.
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.
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
Telelift system. Only with this high level of automation , the
library can comply with all demands fully in time. Due to initial
trade unions opposition, a wireless network was fully installed only
in August 2016. In July 1989, the services of the architectural firm
Dominique Perrault were retained. The design was recognized with
European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 1996. The
construction was carried out by
Bouygues . 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 ). After the move of the major collections from the rue de
Richelieu, the National Library of
France was inaugurated on 15
December 1996. As of 2016, the BnF contains roughly 14 million books
on its 4 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..." The library retains the use of the
rue de Richelieu complex for some of its collections. Plan of
the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand
Located near the Métro station : Bibliothèque François
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
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.
The Manuscripts department houses the largest collection of medieval
and modern manuscripts worldwide. The collection includes medieval
chansons de geste , Arthurian novels and chivalric romance , 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:
* according to language (Ancient Greek, Latin, French and other
European languages, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopian, Hebrew, Persian,
Turkish, Near- and Middle-Eastern languages, Chinese, Japanese,
Tibetan, Sanskrit, Indian languages, Vietnamese, etc.)
* The library holds about 5,000 Ancient Greek manuscripts, which are
divided into three fonds: Ancien fonds grec, fonds Coislin , and Fonds
du Supplément grec.
* according to content: learned and bibliophilic, collections of
learned materials, Library Archives, genealogical collections, French
provinces, Masonic collection, etc.
Gallica, the digital library for online users, was established in
1997. As of January 2012, Gallica had made available on the Web about:
* 1,600,000 documents
* 320,000 books
* 36,000 maps
* 19,462 manuscripts
* 410,000 images
* 830,000 newspapers and magazines
* 7,000 sheets of music
Alain Resnais directed
Toute la mémoire du monde , a 1956 short film
about the library and its collections.
* Bibliothèque de l\'Arsenal
* Bibliothèque-Musée de l\'Opéra National de
Cabinet des Médailles
* Les Enfers (a department within the Bibliothèque nationale)
* Dossiers Secrets d\'Henri Lobineau
* ^ Jack A. Clarke. "French Libraries in Transition, 1789–95."
The Library Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Oct., 1967)
* ^ A B "La BnF en chiffres". Archived from the original on
* ^ A B Priebe, Paul M. (1982). "From Bibliothèque du Roi to
Bibliothèque Nationale: The Creation of a State Library,
1789–1793". The Journal of Library History (1974–1987). 17 (4):
JSTOR 25541320 .
* ^ A B C D E F G 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
* ^ 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
* ^ Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver,
Burdett. p. 38.
* ^ "University and Research Libraries". Nature . 156 (3962): 417.
6 October 1945. doi :10.1038/156417a0 .
Bouygues website: Bibliothèque nationale de
November 27, 2006, at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Fitchett, Joseph (30 March 1995). "New
Paris Library: Visionary
The New York Times
The New York Times . Retrieved 10 April 2013.
* ^ 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.
* ^ "Welcome to the BnF". BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France).
Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January
* Bibliothèque nationale (France), Département de la Phonothèque
nationale et de l'Audiovisuel. The National Record and Audiovisual
Department of the National Library . : Bibliothèque nationale, . 9 p.
* David H. Stam, ed. (2001). International Dictionary of Library
Histories. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 1-57958-244-3 .
* Riding, Alan. "
France Detects a Cultural Threat in Google," New
York Times. April 11, 2005.
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