A Visit to the Library

Authored by:
Ami Hauser

Ami Hauser



Thursday afternoon our group in Paris had the opportunity to visit the Bibliothèque Nationale de France ( the national library of France). 

Our guide, Laure explained how the library works.  Books cannot be checked out and taken out of the library.  First, you must reserve your seat and then you request the book(s) that you want.  There is a sophisicated automatic delivery system that will deliver your book to your seat number.  Et voilà! You can then do your research and study.  This place is immense!  There are over 3000 study spaces and numerous conference rooms, galeries, and offices.  It is the largest library in France and among the largest in the world.

We also visited an exposition of world globes made in 1683 for Louis XIV made by Ventian Cosmographer Vencenzo Coronelli.  These globes each weigh 2 tons!  Can you imagine? 

There is a lot of symbolism in the design of the space of the library.  It was designed by the French architect Dominique Perrault (at the young age of 36!) who used metal, wood and stone to create a modern juxtaposition to  the classical architecture of Paris.  There are four main towers built in the shape of an L ( the shape of an open book) which was to promote the ideas of openness and inclusivity.  

In the center of it all there is a garden where they have planted over 250 trees and plants.  They even have two goats who roam the garden and eat the grass!

Perhaps the idea of putting a garden in the middle of a massive industrial space is a metaphor that at the center of all human knowedge is nature and not the creation of man?

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