If you plan to use the BnF Research Library (French National Library) for the first time next summer, you can make the most of your visit, preparing your admission to the reading rooms.
- Remote services
Catalogs and resource materials
Remote access is provided to Gallica (the Digital Library) and the catalogues among which: - the BnF Catalogue général (did you try the multi-word search navigation?); - the BnF Archives et Manuscrits catalogue; - other research tools such as the Guide de recherche en bibliothèque (Library research guide, in French); - information about the other catalogs; - descriptions of specific collections among which the Directory of 20th century manuscripts, etc.
Several research guides on specific topics such as women’s history, the history of immigration in France since 1830, or the history of medicine have been published by the BnF. They offer a wide range of references to discover the rich collections kept at the BnF concerning these various topics. Other similar guides should be published soon. They are not available online but can be ordered from the BnF Publications Department.
On the front page of the BnF website, under the heading “La Bibliothèque” > “Collections et départements“, (The Library > Collections and departments) users can find some descriptions of collections arranged by subject matter and a brief presentation of the departments that house these collections (place, reading rooms, opening hours). If you have more specific questions, do not hesitate to use the Sindbad service (free reference service) which is the French equivalent to the famous “Ask a librarian” used in Anglo-saxon libraries. Users can ask questions in English, using a form.
Complementary resources can be found in the Union Catalog of France and the Directory of selected Internet websites, also called the BnF Bookmarks - Signets de la BnF. Under the heading “Catalogues de bibliothèques” - Library catalogs, users should find some very useful references.
Registration of future readers via pre-accreditation services
Any first-time reader at the BnF Research Library can use the pre-accreditation services to prepare his/her admission interview. Before coming, the future reader just needs to fill in a pre-admission request form. This procedure will accelerate his/her registration the day he/she comes.
- On site
Reader’s Orientation service
As soon as he/she arrives, the reader wishing to use the Research Library’s reading rooms is invited to go to the Reader’s Orientation service. According to the reader’s needs, a specific card (1 day card, 15 day card, annual card) is issued by the librarian. The Reader’s Orientation service is located on
- the François-Mitterrand site (East entrance hall), open Monday 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- the Richelieu site, open from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission conditions, rates, documents required for the Reader’s Orientation service interview.
Guidance and personal assistance services are available by appointment.
Help for users with disabilities
The BnF set up specific procedures to offer services intended to help users with disabilities. All information is available on the front page of the BnF website under the yellow heading Accès handicap (Help for users with disabilities).
- During your work sessions
On site, the librarians are available to provide information and help readers to make the most of their research. If some points need more clarification, please send us your comments. We will devote a post to this specific topic as we did recently with document requests.
Odile Faliu (BnF)
Source of images : Bibliothèque nationale de France