Visitors with disabilities

Making the best use of the library

Services for users with motor disability

In the Research Library (Rez-de-jardin level), at François-Mitterand Library, users with reduced mobility can reach the reading rooms thanks to elevators.

To access rooms P (Audiovisual) and X (Bibliographic research), users need to go through the 'Club chercheurs des Lettres' (for Room X) and through the 'Club chercheurs des Lois' (for Room P). A telephone reserved for wheelchair readers allows to get in contact with a staff member who comes and opens the doors leading to these rooms. This device provides a greater autonomy for readers using these rooms on a regular basis. Yet, the doors remain a major obstacle.

In the Reference Library (Haut-de-Jardin level), a specific device was fit out that allows people with reduced mobility to open and close the automatic barriers.

Some wheelchairs are available for free, on presentation of an identity card, in the clockrooms located in the East and West halls.

Services for visually-impaired users

At BnF, special equipment for consulting documents is available for visually impaired readers

Electronic portable magnifiers

Some electronic portable magnifiers are available at François Mitterrand Library and Richelieu Library. Upon presentation of an identity paper, they might be borrowed to be used the whole day in the exhibition areas and reading rooms.

Video enlargers

Video enlargers allow to enlarge any printed or handwritten text and allows the reader to change the contrast. They are available in rooms A, B, C, D, E, I and J of the Reference Library (Haut-de-jardin level) but also in rooms P and X of the Research Library (Rez-de-jardin level), in the reading room of the Maps and Plans Department and in the reference room at Richelieu Library. A video enlarger and a reading machine are also available at the Music department (Louvois Library) and at the Arsenal Library.

Reading areas provided with special equipment

The sound proof booths are located in room E (Reference Library) and rooms M and U (Research Library) at François Mitterrand Library. In the Research Library, all booths are equipped with a wired internet connection; they should be reserved using the seat numbers M152 or U80.

The equipment provided allows:

  • to consult documents, using video enlargers and reading machines (the text is digitised and proposed in different languages);
  • to consult the catalogue and connect to the Internet thanks to a monitor equipped with dedicated softwares, Jaws – Reading by voice synthesis and Zoomtext – that magnifies characters.
  • to take notes (Word word-processing package)
  • to make Braille and classical printing.

The library’s staff is at readers’ disposal to consult the catalogue or specific documents. The same equipment is available in the reference room at Richelieu Library.

Services for hearing impaired users

Some tours and lectures are punctually proposed in sign language.
Hearing aids with magnetic loops are available. This equipment can be requested at the reservation moment Phone: 00 33 (1) 53 79 49 49 or E-mail:

The François-Mitterrand Library is equipped with magnetic loop systems necessary to hearing-impaired visitors. These devices are available in the auditoriums, at welcome and cashier desks, at the accreditation service and information offices in all the reading rooms. The Arsenal Library is equipped with the same system in the entrance and the reading room.

Visits in sign language

In collaboration with the "Signes de sens" Association, specialized in cultural mediation for deaf persons, three discovery visits of the François-Mitterrand Library will be proposed to deaf visitors during the second half of the year 2012. They will be made by deaf guides trained in situ by BnF mediators. These visits are scheduled to take place in the Fall.

Tours of François Mitterrand Library intended to visitors with disabilities

Some tours of François Mitterrand Library might be organised on request for visitors with disabilities. Please contact the reservation office at 00 33 1 53 79 49 49.

The programme varies according to users’ needs and specificity of each type of handicap. To prepare the tour, a meeting will be planned gathering the BnF’s staff and the association, institution or group wishing to take part in the tour. The library’s building materials as well as relief plans in large characters are also presented during the course of the tour.

On the other hand, the Division of educational programs proposes a variety of activities connected to BnF’s exhibitions.

Thursday, June 11, 2015