Exposing historical collections in a renovated building: the “BNU Nouvelle” experiment

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Presentation at the IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, France, August 17th, 2014.

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Exposing historical collections in a renovated building: the “BNU Nouvelle” experiment

  1. 1. Exposing historical collections in a renovated building: the “BNU Nouvelle” experiment Frédéric BLIN Head of Preservation and Heritage Collections National and University Library Strasbourg, France 1 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 World Library and Information Congress 2014 Lyon, France Session Special Places for Special Collections Library Buildings and Equipment with Rare Books and Manuscripts August 17th, 2014
  2. 2. The National and University Library Strasbourg (BNU) • 24/08/1870: Burning of the 2 historical libraries in Strasbourg • 1871: Creation of the new German Imperial, Regional and University Library • 1895: Opening of the new library building • 1926: French National & University Library 2 Today: Over 3M documents, 2nd library in France F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  3. 3. The Building 3 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  4. 4. The initial building • Opened 1895 ; classic wilhelminian architecture • Ornaments, statues, … • Storage for 800,000 volumes • A landmark cupola • A central reading room 4 The library in 1895 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  5. 5. The initial building The library in 1895 - Sketch of the reading room 5 The library in 1895 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  6. 6. The initial building The reading room in 1895 6 Statues on the building F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  7. 7. The renovation works (1950-1956) • Bombed in 1944 • Need for more storage space • Extensive renovation 1950-1956 • New metallic structure for stacks • New reading rooms 7 The main hall in 1956 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  8. 8. After the renovation works (1950-1956) The 2 main reading rooms in 1956 8 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  9. 9. The BNU in 2010 • 3M° documents • 2 main buildings • 550 seats, 30,000 books on open shelves • Exhibition room of ~200m² on 5th floor • But old and not secure… 9 Under the cupola F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  10. 10. The BNU in 2010 Three sorts of stacks 10 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  11. 11. The BNU in 2010 Storage room transformed into a reading room… 11 One of 2 inner courts F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  12. 12. The Collections 12 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  13. 13. The BNU: Unique historical Collections Over 10,000 items dating back as far as 5000 B.C.: Papyrus, Ostraca, cuneiform tablets, Palmyrean statues, seals… One of the 2-3 largest collections in France, unique in libraries 13 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  14. 14. The BNU: Unique historical Collections 7,000+ manuscripts 2,000+ incunabula Litterary and musical archival materials… 14 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  15. 15. The BNU: Unique historical Collections Important oriental and persian collection 15 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  16. 16. The BNU: Unique historical Collections 1,000,000+ books and periodicals published before 1920 16 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  17. 17. The BNU: Unique historical Collections 150,000+ pictures (posters, postcards, photographs, …) 50,000+ maps 17 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  18. 18. The BNU: Unique historical Collections Special collections: • 19th C. German Science • Alsatica • Medals and coins (39,000 items) • 1st World War • Maritain; Gobineau; Jaëll… • Etc… 18 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  19. 19. The “BNU Nouvelle” project 19 An architectural project, with 10 main goals Oct. 2010-Nov. 2014, 61M°€ Architect: Nicolas Michelin (Paris) F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  20. 20. The architectural project 20 A complete renovation: • A safe and modern library, in a historical building • Preservation of parts of the original building, e.g. 2 historical stacks => collaboration between the architect and the administration for heritage monuments • +6,000 sqm, 45 km of stack shelves • Geothermy, climate control With new facilities: • Main architectural feat: built around a central monumental staircase, under the cupola • 660 seats, 150,000 books on open shelves • An auditorium (146 seats) • An 500m² exhibition room • Open reserves • New technologies • A cafeteria F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  21. 21. The architectural project 21 Columns hanging in the air, before the reconstuction of 2 levels of historical stacks (nov.2011) – The historical stacks preserved with first collections back (july 2014) F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  22. 22. The architectural project 22 Walls of the historical building included in the new architecture F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  23. 23. The architectural project 23 The central staircase Under the staircase F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  24. 24. The architectural project 24 A future reading room View on the internal spaces from one open reserve F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  25. 25. The “BNU Nouvelle” project 25 Projects within the project: • End of retroconversion of catalogues • Integration of the library of the European Council • Preparing 150,000 volumes for the open shelves • Development of the scientific and cultural activity • Regional collaboration • International relations • A modern digital library • Preparing the heritage collections F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  26. 26. The Digital Library 26 Numistral, www.numistral.fr • An innovative & collaborative project with the BnF • Opened in oct.2013 with 40,000+ items • To learn more, visit the poster session (poster n°23) F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  27. 27. Preparing the heritage collections 27 Examples of preservation and conservation work conducted: • Complete dust removal of the collections (45 km) • Conditionning of periodicals (15,000+ boxes) • Ostraca and antiques: dust removal, small repair, chemical analysis, better storage… • Light conservation work on books for the historical stacks • Systematic preservation work on Reserve items F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  28. 28. The museographical project 28 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  29. 29. Main goals 29 • A reserve for the treasures of the library • Showing these treasures to the public • A reserve which is also a museum, a museum which is also a reserve Challenges: • Preservation vs Exhibition • Storage place vs Showcases • Limited access vs public access F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  30. 30. The location (5th floor) 30 Reading room Reserve 2 Reserve 1 Reserves 3 & 4 Reserve 5 Reserve 6 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  31. 31. A coherent circuit in the collections F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 31 • Reserve 1 : Antique collections • Reserve 2 : Manuscripts and Incunabula • Reserve 3 : 16th-19th C. books; The early years of the BNU; R. Maritain’s bedroom; • Reserve 4 : Medals and Coins, 16th-19th C. books • Reserve 5 : Graphic documents • Reserve 6 : Special collections Open only for guided tours, once / twice a month
  32. 32. The methodology F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 32 • Definition of the project by the BNU • Recruitment of a museum-planner (Natalia Moutinho SARL., from Strasbourg) • Dialogue between the curators and the museum-planner (nov.2013-Feb. 2014) • Writing of the technical specifications by the museum- planner, validated by the BNU (March 2014) • Contracting with a third compagny to acquire the furniture • Installation of the rooms (nov.2014) • Installation of the collections (nov.-dec.2014)
  33. 33. Points of attention: F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 33 • Conservation conditions of the documents: stronger climate control (included in the architectural project), light control, materials for the furniture, physical security… • Circulation of the public, norms for museums and access to persons with disabilities • Good practices for exhibiting books, graphic documents and small objects • Future management of collections • Budget and planning…
  34. 34. First results F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 34 Sketch of a showcase for historical books, in the Reserve 2
  35. 35. First results F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 35 Cross-section of reserve 3
  36. 36. What still needs to be done F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 36 • Construction and installation of the furniture • Final selection of items to be exhibited • Physical preparation of some of the selected items • Writting of the descriptive texts for the selected items • Installation of the documents in the showcases and stacks End of the project: Dec. 2014 => fingers crossed…
  37. 37. Expected impact F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 37 • Greater visibility for our treasures • Inclusion of the BNU in the touristic routes of Strasbourg and the Alsace region => bringing new public to the library • Source for scientific and cultural dynamism and creativity for the staff
  38. 38. Thank you for your attention, enjoy your stay in France, and see you soon in the BNU Strasbourg! frederic.blin@bnu.fr @BFL50 38 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014
  39. 39. 39 F. Blin, IFLA-WLIC 2014, Lyon, August 17th, 2014 Thanks to: N. Michelin N. Moutinho J.P. Rosenkranz Slides available on: Slideshare Slides placed under CC-BY-NC

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