January 25, 2022

"Montreal's Grande Bibliothèque: How to Stay in Circulation"

From an Article in the Montreal Gazette:

Since it opened in 2005, the $142-million mega-library at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Berri St. has been a runaway success, drawing 2.75 million visitors last year.

“Despite all the prophets of doom, people turn out in great numbers,” says Guy Berthiaume, chair and CEO of the provincial library and archives, as he looks through a plate-glass window in his office at a busy reading room below.


Today’s libraries, Berthiaume says, are far more than repositories for books. These days, their job description also includes community hub, multimedia emporium and bridge over the so-called digital divide – affording free and equal access to information.

They are an oasis in the urban landscape, a “third place” – a term coined in 1989 by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg to designate informal gathering places – distinct from home and the traditional workplace.


Contrary to the popular misconception of libraries as stacks of musty books, they have long been at the forefront of information technology, maintains Amy Buckland, a librarian at McGill University in charge of electronic scholarship, e-publishing and digitization of rare books.

“People who say that libraries are on the way out have no idea what we do,” she says. “We’ve always been ahead of things in that sense and we still are.”

Buckland views Google not as a threat, but as an adjunct to the librarian’s role.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Here is your Grande Bibliothèque (24 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.