Creating a national network

Since its creation, BnF has been building up a network of partners committed to a national cooperation policy that has evolved over time. BnF’s contribution consists of providing financial support and skills (training, advice, expertise, and services).
Historically, the role of the Bibliothèque nationale consisted of collecting French printed, then audiovisual, and now digital materials by way of the legal deposit scheme, preserving those materials, and making them available to readers on its premises. This is now evolving into a wider public service remit that includes responsibility for making available documents located in other libraries.

BnF thus maintains relationships with a large number of external organizations, and has long cooperated with other French libraries: borrowing and lending materials for exhibitions; research programs; sitting on scientific councils and acquisitions committees; providing expertise and assistance in the field of document restoration and preservation; standardization; involvement in domestic and international professional federations; etc.

BnF has covered the nation with a network of public, community, and private libraries which are linked to it by various types of cooperation agreements.
BnF’s agreed partner libraries and regional partners undertake common activities with BnF under the terms of a partnership which is formalized in a three-year framework agreement (the current agreement covers the period 2009-2011) and further defined in annual implementing agreements.

These partnerships encompass four types of activity:

  • acquisitions (of foreign language printed materials by partner organizations)
  • digitization (topic-based digitization, involvement in concerted digitization programs, lending materials for digitization, etc.) 
  • interoperability and referencing (retroconversion of printed catalogs and cataloging or indexing) 
  • promotional activities (exhibitions)

In 2009

143 partner institutions in two networks: :

  • Agreed partner libraries, including agreed regional partners
    • 79 topic-based partner libraries and 8 regional partners
  • Agreed legal deposit scheme partners:
    • 26 legal deposit printing partners
    • 39 legal deposit publishing partners

Cooperation: a heritage responsibility for BnF

This responsibility was written into the 1994 decree that established BnF by merging the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Établissement public de la Bibliothèque nationale de France.
It [BnF] cooperates with other French and foreign libraries and research and documentation centers, in particular in the context of documentary networks, etc. In the context of the policy defined by the Government, it is involved in pooling French library holdings.

This role was confirmed by the 2003 agreement linking BnF with the Ministry for Culture and Communication (Ministère de la culture et de la communication/MCC):
« As the national operator designated by the MCC, BnF is required to run a national document sharing network.»

It was emphasized in BnF’s 2008-2011 performance contract:
Strategic objective 5: Develop BnF’s presence at a national, European, and global level
Action 5.3: Pursue the reform and strengthen the running of the agreed partner network. With financial support from the Book and Reading Directorate (Direction du Livre et de la Lecture/DLL).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011