The Central library provides students and researchers with access to collections focusing on French culture. It also offers services for identifying, locating and providing documents to facilitate academic work. Finally, it aims to facilitate the stay of international students and researchers by offering them training in documentary research, self-training facilities in French and foreign languages and work spaces and tools that are widely open to new technologies.
Designed by Jean-Frédéric Larson, a specialist in university architecture and the author of numerous buildings including the Baker Memorial Library at Darmouth College in 1928, the Central Library borrows directly from the classical style which gives it an atmosphere of another time. The library was inaugurated by the President of the Republic Albert Lebrun on 14 November 1936. With a storage capacity of 50,000 volumes, it offered 150 reading places.
Imitating wood, the library’s fireplaces are decorated with two large paintings by Georges Degorce. The first depicts the Frenchman Pasteur and the Englishman Lister and recalls the friendship between peoples. The second depicts Robert de Sorbon and evokes the links between the Cité internationale and the University of Paris. These two allegorical canvases, contemporary with the construction of the Maison Internationale, take the form of a semicircular arch and fit perfectly into the classicist decor. They are surmounted by a clock in the form of an ex-libris which marks the hours.
In 2021, renovations have made it possible to reorganise the spaces and to welcome our visitors in a modernised but still studious and pleasant setting. The mezzanine has become a new reading area with 30 seats and two rooms dedicated to group work. On the ground floor, a work area accessible to people with reduced mobility and a work room have also been created. The Language lab has been moved and enlarged. It can now combine self-training and conversation groups with the creation of a dedicated room. A patio has been installed to make the place bright.
In addition to its numerous documentary and electronic resources, the library provides its users with many practical and complementary services.
The Central Library offers three spaces for group work (limited to 4 people). They can be booked online using the Affluences application, which can be downloaded free of charge from GooglePlay and AppleStore. It also allows you to find out the real time and forecasted occupancy rate of the library.
The Central Library offers interlibrary loans. You can access documents from other libraries outside Paris, both French and foreign. Documents can only be consulted on site.
At the back of the room, there is an adjoining room for printing, scanning, photocopying and binding documents. The printer is connected to a C system. To use it, it is necessary to acquire a rechargeable card. Two coin/bill/bank card dispensers/refillers are available in this area. Payment can also be made from a student card using the Izly system. A spiral binding machine is available for free access (fee: €1).
The team at the Central library offers its users specific training courses to enable them to make the best use of all the resources made available by the Library. Consult the list.
WIFI is available throughout the Central Library. You can access it via our internal network or the guest network by simply requesting identification. In addition, there are 7 computer workstations available for free access.
André Honnorat entrusted Louis Barrau-Dihigo and Camille Bloch with the task of defining the orientations of the future library.
Honnorat travels to the United States to study the International Houses and Student Unions of American universities, from which he wants to draw inspiration to create a “common home of spiritual life” which will become the Maison internationale and will include, among its general services, a library.
The first work entered in the inventory register (Henri Fouqueray, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus. Paris: Picard, 1910) comes from Stephen d’Irsay’s library, the 134 volumes of which were acquired at the “global and fixed price of 12,700 francs, including works on the history of universities” and constitute the embryo of the documentary collection.
Inauguration by Albert Lebrun, President of the Republic.
The library is one of the few places in the Cité internationale where diversity is allowed, and it opens its doors to residents.
In “Les Nouvelles Littéraires”, Georges Duhamel appealed to the generosity of the scientific community to enrich this “magnificent library hope”. French and foreign publishers and writers responded massively and more than 10,000 books and journals were added to the collection.
Opening the library to non-resident students.
Provision of Internet access for the public.
Membership of RENATER (Réseau national de télécommunication pour la technologie, l’enseignement et la recherche).
Creation of the OPAC (local catalogue of collections) and the website library.
Listing and reporting of documents in the SUDOC (union catalogue of higher education library documents).
Renovation of the reading room. Installation of Wifi. Opening of the library on Sundays.
Acquisition of the “Classiques Garnier Numérique” database (patronage) thanks to the patronage of Mr Michel David-Weill.
First prize in the Agence bibliographique de l’enseignement supérieur competition for the project “Utilisation d’IDREF pour l’enrichissement de notices bibliographiques : le cas de Classiques Garnier numérique”
Full text access to the 64 periodicals created since 1925 by the Cité internationale following their integration into Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Computerisation of the libraries of the houses of Argentina, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and the Swiss Foundation with the free software PMB.
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