Erasmus Library Staff Week @Sciences Po, Paris
03-07 June 2019
I spent the first week of June in Paris, France, attending the Sciences Po (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris) Library Staff Week. The trip was funded through Koç University’s participation in the Erasmus Staff Training Mobility program. First, I must say that the Library staff was very helpful in organizing my visit to the Sciences Po Library. They had scheduled an outstanding 5 days staff week program which included visits to well-known French libraries like BnF (Bibliothèque Nationale De France) and the The Opera Library & Museum in Paris.
In our case, 12 international librarians gathered at Sciences Po from 03 to0 7 June to share knowledge and demonstrate best practices. Our group consisted of library staff from The Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria) Masaryk University (Czech Republic) University of the Arts Helsinki & Häme University of Applied Sciences (Finland) Coventry University (England) University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) University of Amsterdam (Netherland) Gdańsk University of Technology (Poland) Graduate Institute of Geneva (Switzerland) Koç University (Turkey) and of course host institution Sciences Po from France.
The aim of the Training Week at Sciences Po was to share good practices, ideas and networking with international colleagues. During this week, we focused on innovations and new services implemented in libraries, for students and researchers. The program consisted of presentations by the host team and Erasmus participants, collaborative workshops, visits and social activities.
In total over the course of the week, we listened to about 20 presentations themed around various aspects of library work including digital information literacy & e-learning, reference and research support services, marketing and Open Access. In addition, all participants presented their own Libraries from around the Europe.
It was also a great opportunity to visit the three most valuable libraries in Paris/
Contrary to the other branches of the BNF, which are all located within older historical buildings, the François Mitterrand Library is decidedly modern. It was designed and built in the late 1980s and early 1990s under the auspices of then-President François Mitterrand, after whom the building is named. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the opening of this project; he died in January 1996, and the François Mitterrand Library first opened to the public in December of 1996.
The library has 4 building (80 meter-high, 22 floors each) built in a way that it looks like there are 4 big open books facing each other. The monumental building spreads out over a large area, which made it impossible for me to capture the entire building in one picture. Fortunately, I was able to take a picture of a scaled-down model displayed inside. The model gives you a good perspective of the general layout. The building rises around a very attractive garden, which features a variety of tall trees and bushes.
Also, there is a great permanent exhibition of globes from all over the word that were given to the king Louis XIV as a gift. It is very interactive and free of charge as well. The library is very impressive, not only because it has one of the largest collection of valuable books in the world, but also because of their quite modern approach – most of the collections are scanned, so you can access them online, they organize may different exhibitions, special performances for kids etc.
The Library is located inside the Opéra Garnier and has its origins in the Opera’s library and archives created in 1866 and in the museum opened to public in 1881. Today the management is separate from the Opera itself and is under the gestion National Library since 1935.
The Opera Library holds major resources about the Architecture of the Palais Garnier, set sketches, costumes, programmes, jewels… and archives concerning the shows performed by the Académie de Musique et de Danse over the last three centuries.
Visitors are also able to see shelves of books and scores, which are protected by grilles. These materials include 15,000 scores and 30,000 librettos and are accessible to the public. The museum’s collections are too extensive to be displayed all at one time, as they consist of approximately 8,500 objects, including 2,500 models of sets, 500 set design drawings, and 3,000 pieces of costume jewelry. The Library-Museum has organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1992, in collaboration with the National Library and others.
My experience in Paris is one of the most beautiful memories I have, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the training through Erasmus+. I participated in the 1st Erasmus Library Staff Week in the Library of the Sciences Po for Librarians.
I met librarians from all over the Europe, shared ideas, concerns and solutions with them about various library issues that affect our daily work. This week was sufficient for me to enrich my knowledge and learn about new librarian tools that can assist library users.
I am looking forward to participating in a similar training again as it has been very useful in enriching my knowledge in my work area.
Suna Kıraç Library