French Language Blog

French For Libraries Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Culture

According to Bernard Fixot, the owner and publisher of the small French publishing house XO: “There are two things you don’t throw out in France — bread and books” (see the original article in which Fixot in quoted here).

Because of this cultural aspect, and because of French regulation on prices of books and e-books, French language bookstores are thriving in France, while English language bookstores are floundering. In addition to bookstores (or librairies, in French), many French libraries (or bibliothèques) are being renovated and made into more “life centers” than just libraries. New libraries in France not only offer job counseling services and various meetings, but some of them offer babysitting and cafés, among other services. While there has been some controversy about this, many French library directors are redesigning their libraries as “la bibliothéque troisième lieu.” La troisième lieu means “the third space”; the first two spaces are home and work, respectively, and, thus, in this view, the library is an important third space of not only reading and researching, but social encounters and daily living.

Recently, there has been a debate going on in France about whether or not to open libraries on Sundays as has been done with some stores. For more information about the opening hours of stores in France, you can see John’s post here. Here is a recent article in about the debate over whether or not libraries should be open on Sundays: “Pourquoi l’ouverture des bibliothéques le dimanche fait debat.”

But that’s not all! To incite and encourage library use and reading, the association L.I.R.E is turning some Parisian parks this summer into “libraries without walls” or les bibliothéques hors les murs:

Chaque semaine, les bibliothèques de la Ville, en partenariat avec l’association L.I.R.E. à Paris, installent « hors les murs », pour quelques heures, leurs collections de livres, albums et revues pour tous les âges et tous les goûts.

Dans plus de 50 parcs et jardins de Paris, les bibliothécaires et animateurs font découvrir à tous, histoires, contes, albums d’images. Vous pouvez à écouter, lire ou feuilleter les ouvrages mis à disposition par les bibliothèques parisiennes.

« Les bibliothèques « hors les murs » permettent aux Parisiens qui ne fréquentent pas la bibliothèque de découvrir la richesse de leurs collections, leur proximité géographique et que l’inscription est gratuite. «On espère leur donner envie de pousser la porte de la bibliothèque dès septembre ! », observe Bruno Julliard, premier adjoint à la Maire de Paris.

You can read the rest of this article here. Happy reading!

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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at A la prochaine!