NY Times: “The French National Library Reopens, Revealing Treasures to Visitors”
From The NY Times:
King Dagobert’s bronze throne. Charlemagne’s ivory chess pieces. Mozart’s handwritten score of “Don Giovanni.” A 16th-century globe — the first to use the word “America.”
In a library? Yes, but not just any library. These works belong to the National Library of France. After 12 years and 261 million euros (more than $256 million) of renovations, the country’s national library in the heart of Paris has reopened and is showing off more than 900 of its treasures.
France has had a national library since the 16th century, and the main part of this site, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France Richelieu, 624,307 square feet near the Stock Exchange and the Louvre, dates from the 18th. When the library expanded in 1998 with the opening of the François-Mitterrand site on the other side of the Seine, Richelieu was reserved for specialized departments: manuscripts, prints and photographs, antiquities, performing arts, music, maps, and 600,000 coins and medals.
In total, the Richelieu site holds 22 million objects and documents (of 40 million total in the library’s collections) dating from antiquity to the present day. The prints and photographs collection alone numbers 15 million.
The renovation is a triumph of light, opening up storage rooms that had been invisible, creating new walkways connecting the spaces, installing large glass doors and windows.
“We are proving that the National Library is not a dead space,” said Laurence Engel, president of the library. “It’s a place of surprises, of discovery, of dreams.”
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Filed under: Libraries, Maps, National Libraries, News
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Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.