On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Bibliothèque nationale de France - Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Monday, March 30, 2015, Fleur Pellerin, Minister of Culture and Communication, announced that Senator Sylvie Robert has been entrusted with a mission to adapt the opening hours of public reading libraries to the rhythms of French life.
Fleur Pellerin emphasized the central role of libraries, the pillars of our democracy, in ensuring access to knowledge and culture for all. With 15 million users and 16,000 reading points across the country, libraries are the first cultural network in the territories and one of the first local public services.
In a society faced with the challenge of values of freedom, tolerance and secularism, libraries have a central role to play. Symbols of freedom of thought and publication, they are places of sharing, places of encounter, debate and dialogue, depositories of the memory of a people and the diversity of its points of view. The role of libraries in the service of exchange and tolerance must be emphasized and encouraged more than ever, allowing them to reach an ever wider audience; this is the meaning of the mission entrusted by the minister to Sylvie Robert.
For the Minister, “one of the conditions for the success of libraries is their openness, as much as possible, when users, readers, can access them—for example, during the meridian break, in the evening, or even on the weekend.” Municipal libraries now open an average of 14 hours a week, and 32 hours in communities with more than 40,000 residents.
Sylvie Robert’s mission will be based on a consultation of local elected officials in charge of libraries, agents and their representatives, identify successful experiences and make concrete proposals to support and support communities in their efforts to adapt opening hours, taking into account the needs and constraints of local situations and issues related to work organisation.
Sylvie Robert’s findings will be provided to the Minister in July.
Paris, 30 March 2015