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.


1 History 2 New buildings 3 Mission 4 Manuscript
collection 5 Digital library 6 List of directors

6.1 1369–1792 6.2 1792–present

7 In popular culture 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links


See also: History of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (fr)

The National Library of France
traces its origin to the royal library founded at the Louvre Palace
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
Collège de Clermont
and in 1604 it was housed in the Rue de la Harpe. The appointment of Jacques Auguste de Thou
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] 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
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 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 and Joseph Van Praet
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
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."[3]

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
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[edit] On 14 July 1988, President François Mitterrand
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 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 of Dominique Perrault
Dominique Perrault
were retained. The design was recognized with the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture
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 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..."[11] 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 Mitterrand.

Mission[edit] 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[edit] 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:

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.

Digital library[edit] Gallica, the digital library for online users, was established in October 1997. As of October 2017, Gallica had made available on the Web about:

4,286,000 documents 533,000 books 131,000 maps 96,000 manuscripts 1,208,000 images 1,907,000 newspapers and magazines 47,800 sheets of music 50,000 audio recordings 358,000 object

List of directors[edit] 1369–1792[edit]

1369–1411: Gilles Mallet (fr) (fr) 1522–1540: Guillaume Budé 1540–1552: Pierre Duchâtel (fr) 1552–1567: Pierre de Montdoré (fr) 1567–1593: Jacques Amyot 1593–1617: Jacques-Auguste de Thou 1617–1642: François Auguste de Thou 1642–1656: Jérôme Bignon 1656–1684: Jérôme II Bignon (fr) 1560–1604: Jean Gosselin (fr) 1604–1614: Isaac Casaubon 1614–1645: Nicolas Rigault 1645–1651: Pierre Dupuy 1651–1656: Jacques Dupuy (fr) 1656–1676: Nicolas Colbert (fr); Pierre de Carcavi (1663-1683) 1676–1684: Louis Colbert (fr); Melchisédech Thévenot (1684-1691) 1684–1718: Camille Le Tellier de Louvois; Nicolas Clément (fr) (1691-1712) 1719–1741: Jean-Paul Bignon 1741–1743: Jérôme Bignon de Blanzy (fr) 1743–1772: Armand-Jérôme Bignon 1770–1784: Jérôme-Frédéric Bignon (fr); Grégoire Desaunays (fr) (from 1775 to 1793) 1784–1789: Jean-Charles-Pierre Le Noir (démission) 1789–1792: Louis Le Fèvre d’Ormesson de Noyseau (fr)


1792–1793: Jean-Louis Carra (fr) and Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort (fr) 1793: Jean-Baptiste Cœuilhe (fr) (interim) 1793–1795: Jean Baptiste Lefebvre de Villebrune 1795–1796: André Barthélemy de Courcay (fr) 1796–1798: Jean-Augustin Capperonnier (fr) 1798–1799: Adrien-Jacques Joly (fr) 1799–1800: Aubin-Louis Millin de Grandmaison 1800–1803: Jean-Augustin Capperonnier 1803–1806: Pascal-François-Joseph Gossellin (fr) 1806–1829: Bon-Joseph Dacier 1830–1831: Joseph Van Praet 1832: Abel-Rémusat (fr) 1832: Joseph Van Praet 1832–1837: Antoine Jean Letronne (fr) 1838–1839: Edmé François Jomard 1839: Charles Dunoyer 1839–1840: Antoine Jean Letronne 1840–1858: Joseph Naudet 1858–1874: Jules-Antoine Taschereau (fr); the Paris
Commune appointed Élie Reclus
Élie Reclus
(29 April to 24 May 1871) 1874–1905: Léopold Delisle 1905–1913: Henry Marcel 1913–1923: Théophile Homolle 1923–1930: Pierre-René Roland-Marcel (fr) 1930–1940: Julien Cain 1940–1944: Bernard Faÿ 1944–1945: Jean Laran (fr) (interim) 1945–1964: Julien Cain 1964–1975: Étienne Dennery 1975–1981: Georges Le Rider 1981–1984: Alain Gourdon (fr) 1984–1987: André Miquel 1987–1993: Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie 1989–1994: Dominique Jamet (fr) 1994–1997: Jean Favier 1997–2002: Jean-Pierre Angremy 2002–2007: Jean-Noël Jeanneney 2007–2016: Bruno Racine 2016-present: Laurence Engel (fr)

In popular culture[edit] Alain Resnais directed Toute la mémoire du monde, a 1956 short film about the library and its collections. See also[edit]

Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra National de Paris Cabinet des Médailles Les Enfers (a department within the Bibliothèque nationale) Legal deposit Dossiers Secrets d'Henri Lobineau Books in France


^ 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 2007-11-28.  ^ 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): 389–408. 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 Americana.  ^ 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 France
Archived November 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Fitchett, Joseph (30 March 1995). "New Paris
Library: Visionary or Outdated?". 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 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Bibliothèque nationale (France), Département de la Phonothèque nationale et de l'Audiovisuel. The National [Sound] Record[ings] and Audiovisual Department of the National Library [of France]. [Paris]: Bibliothèque nationale, [1986]. 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.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bibliothèque nationale de France.

has the property: BnF ID (P268) (see talk; uses)

Official website Official website (in French) Gallica, BnF's digital library Gallica, BnF's digital library (in French)

Coordinates: 48°50′01″N 2°22′33″E / 48.83361°N 2.37583°E / 48.83361; 2.37583

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Les Olympiades Tour Super-Italie Bibliothèque nationale de France Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital Butte-aux-Cailles Gobelins Manufactory Art Ludique

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Bibliothèque François Mitterrand Campo Formio Chevaleret Corvisart Gare d'Austerlitz Glacière Les Gobelins Maison Blanche Nationale Olympiades Place d'Italie Porte d'Italie Porte d'Ivry Porte de Choisy Quai de la Gare Saint-Marcel Tolbiac

RER stations

Bibliothèque François Mitterrand


Gare d'Austerlitz

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 137156173 LCCN: no95028191 ISNI: 0000 0001 2353 1945 GND: 5156217-0 SELIBR: 211591 SUDOC: 03361122X BNF: cb12381002j (data) ULAN: 500309981 NLA: 35553176 NDL: 00283813 NKC: ko200210