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The world of books and libraries

Reading and libraries

Open-access collections

J.W. Woudanus, <em>Bibliothèque de Leyde</em>, 1630

J.W. Woudanus, Bibliothèque de Leyde, 1630

Open-access collections on reading and libraries may be found at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand) (in the Art and Literature Department and the Rare Books Reserve (Réserve des livres rares)) and the Arsenal Library (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal).

Various documents dedicated to information science and library professions are available in the reading rooms of the Department of art and literature : library and information science, history of public and private libraries, history and sociology of reading and cultural practises.

To tackle these issues in a more 'attractive' way, the Reference Library also proposes a selection of novels and essays about books, reading and libraries.

Professional magazines (Bulletin des bibliothèques de France) and bibliographic databases (Library and information science abstracts) can also be consulted in the reading rooms of the Research Library.

A special section of the Rare Books Reserve’s open-access collections is dedicated to library history. This covers not only the history of major public libraries and descriptions of their rare books, but also the history of bibliophilia and private collections. In particular, it includes catalogs of the most significant public book sales since the 18th century.

The history of reading is also covered, more specifically from the perspective of forbidden reading material: the history of censorship and banned books in general. A collection of reference works is more specifically dedicated to the history of erotic books, related to the Enfer collection held in storage by the Rare Books Reserve.

The Arsenal Library and the Bibliographic Research Department also offer open-access reference works on the history of reading and libraries.

Closed-stack collections

In closed-stack collections, the Rare Books Reserve pays close attention to the origins of books and the history of their owners. A portion of the closed-stack collections is organized by origin, so that a record of the latter is preserved as visibly as possible. These materials include volumes from the libraries of certain artists (e.g. Delaunay), philosophers (e.g. Kojève), and bibliophiles (e.g. Adler, Audéoud, Furstenberg, and Lesouef). An open-access file in room X also catalogs ex-libris found on books held in storage by the Reserve.

The Department of literature and art also houses a unique collections of over 87000 sale catalogues of private libraries (books and manuscripts).

Some of the Arsenal Library’s collections recount the development of reading practices. Many paperbacks, received under the legal deposit scheme, are held in their original condition (complete with covers), as are chapbooks, providing an insight into the history of popular literature.

The Arsenal Library also holds the archives of “literary deposits” from the time of the revolution, an essential source for studying library history.


For more info

<p>Calendrier de la cour, 1782, reliure brodée </p>
Histoire du livre : fonds spécifiques
Fonds spécifiques en histoire du livre conservés à la Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal

Monday, July 28, 2014

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