The National Library of France

Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Paris / Île-de-France
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Paris - Bibliothèque nationale de France - site Richelieu-Louvois - Reading Room © flickr.com - Vincent Desjardins/cc-by-2.0

Paris – Bibliothèque nationale de France – site Richelieu-Louvois – Reading Room
© flickr.com – Vincent Desjardins/cc-by-2.0

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is the National Library of France, located in Paris. 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.

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.

Bibliotheque Nationale © Jonathan M Paris - Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal © flickr.com - Metro Centric/cc-by-sa-2.0 Paris - Bibliothèque nationale de France - site François-Mitterrand © LPLT/cc-by-sa-3.0 Château de Sablé-sur-Sarthe © Benjamin Smith/cc-by-sa-3.0 Library - Collège Sainte-Barbe © Marie-Lan Nguyen Paris - Bibliothèque-musée de l'Opéra © flickr.com - Javier Lastras/cc-by-sa-2.0 Paris - Bibliothèque nationale de France - site Richelieu-Louvois - Reading Room © flickr.com - Vincent Desjardins/cc-by-2.0
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Paris - Bibliothèque nationale de France - site Richelieu-Louvois - Reading Room © flickr.com - Vincent Desjardins/cc-by-2.0
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.

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. Surprisingly, the library does not maintain a wireless network. In July 1989, the services of the architectural firm of Dominique Perrault were retained. 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” or “Train à Grande Vitesse“). After the move of the major collections from the rue de Richelieu, the National Library of France was inaugurated on 15 December 1996. It contains more than ten million volumes. The library retains the use of the rue de Richelieu complex for some of its collections.

Read more on National Library of France and Wikipedia National Library of France (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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