Written and graphic heritage: conserve, restore, digitize, enhance and enrich collections
The Ministry of Culture exercises technical control over territorial libraries, which applies in particular to the conditions of conservation of collections (Heritage Code, Articles R. 310-2 to R. 310-13).
The General Decentralisation Allocation (DGD)
The State may grant financial support to improve the conditions for the conservation and presentation of heritage collections, through the special assistance of libraries, within the framework of the General decentralisation allocation (DGD): air conditioning, shelving installation and creation of reserve store, acquisition of computer equipment, digitization policy...
The following are particularly concerned:
- thedevelopment of premises dedicated to conservation and presentation (exhibition) of heritage collections, thetechnical workshop set-up and equipment, thelandscaping and theequipping communication spaces for heritage collections For example, the installation of partitions, insulation, airlocks, lighting or alarm systems, ventilation or air conditioning systems, but also the acquisition of suitable furniture (mobile or stationary shelving, furniture suitable for card classification, prints, etc.);
- the measures annexed to any operation to improve conservation conditionsincluding the relocation, move-in and interim storage of heritage documents, the purchase of equipment necessary to implement an emergency plan;
- the preventive or curative conservation benefits (dust removal, anoxia treatment);
- thepurchase of conservation equipment (boxes, pouches, cartons, etc.).
The pages of the March 26, 2019 circular relating to these transactions (see II/C pp. 22-24) specify what this covers, as well as the documents needed to build your file.
As well as:
- reporting of heritage documents for the digitization or enhancement of documents
The circular provides that DGD can be used to accompany libraries in their Heritage Document Reporting Projects for Digitization or Document Enhancement (intervention of an expert in cataloguing, migration of records, etc.), when this occurs as part of time-limited cataloguing and retroconversion operations, excluding cataloguing routine scans.
The pages of the March 26, 2019 circular relating to these actions (see II/C pp. 26-29, included in the chapter on digitization operations and enhancement of the collections of municipal and inter-municipal libraries and departmental libraries) specify the conditions.
For the Ministry of Culture’s national recommendations on conservation conditions in libraries, you can consult the Library Conservation Charter.
A great deal of work has been done to report the heritage holdings of libraries and to locate references through the Catalogue collectif de France (CCFr), which is managed by the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
This work continues today with the development of a national EAD reporting tool (Encoded Archival Description - Format based on the XML language) of manuscripts and archives kept in libraries, following the retrospective conversion of the General Catalogue of Manuscripts within the CCFr.
The next step will concern the reporting and description of the collections of prints (drawings, engravings, photographs...) kept in public libraries.
Read more : Catalogue collectif de France
Departure from the customs territory of cultural goods
All documents and objects belonging to the collections of public archives and ancient, rare or precious documents of public libraries are considered as "national treasures" (Heritage Code in Article L 111-1, Order of 20 February 2004).
Their departure from the customs territory (for an exhibition, a restoration operation...) is therefore subject to the authorization of the Ministry of Culture - Book and Reading Service (Department of Libraries - Heritage Office) with value thresholds for certain document categories.
Call for written heritage projects: library heritage collections
A national call for proposals, carried out by the Book and Reading Service, is renewed annually by the Ministry of Culture.
It is aimed at libraries belonging to local authorities and public inter-communal cooperation institutions. The types of expenditure eligible are vacation credits, purchase of equipment (excluding computer equipment), miscellaneous services.
It is not intended to finance digitization operations.
The priority selection criteria are:
- collection reporting, preservation and/or valuation operations;
- strengthening the security of heritage collections;
- training programmes for library professionals;
- criteria for cooperation, innovation and exemplary behaviour.
Read more (Grants heading)
An expert and advisory body, the Technical Committee for the Restoration of the Heritage of Public Libraries (CTR), placed with the Department’s Book and Reading Directorate, is responsible for assessing the quality of restoration projects developed by local authorities.
The CTR provides elements of appreciation to the prefect of region, responsible for issuing an opinion on the projects of restoration of "old, rare or precious documents" (article R. 310-12 of the code of heritage). This notice is:
- compulsory and binding for State funds;
- compulsory, but not binding, for funds from local and regional authorities.
Theorder of 1er Apr 2020 specifies the implementation of State control over projects for the restoration of heritage documents of libraries of local authorities or their groups. The latter must inform the prefect of the region of the projects of restoration of heritage documents, before the signature of the contract established for this purpose or, failing that, before the intervention, where the amount of the estimate exceeds a threshold determined by order of the Minister responsible for Culture".
If they are Crown-owned heritage documents, Prefect DRAC authorization is required.
If they are heritage documents belonging to the communities, the regional warden gives a simple opinion on the restoration project.
In the event of a disaster or theft, the Ministry’s services can also provide their expertise.
Regional Restoration and Acquisition Fund for Grand Est Territorial Libraries (FRRAB)
A regional restoration and acquisition fund for libraries of local authorities, the FRRAB, allows the State - DRAC Grand Est and the Grand Est Region to coordinate their support for the policy pursued by local authorities to enrich, preserve or safeguard the heritage holdings of their libraries and media libraries.
The FRRAB is intended to subsidize the purchase of heritage documents which, by their price, could not be acquired without additional aid.
These acquisitions must allow:
- to supplement existing collections of ancient, rare or precious documents, objects of written and graphic heritage;
- develop the funds in line with their regional or local specificity;
- ensure entry into public collections of contemporary documents (bibliophilic books, contemporary art binding, authors' papers, etc.).
Date of next or last commission
RABF may also subsidize:
- actions for the restoration, preventive conservation or safeguarding of heritage collections as part of a large-scale multi annual programme or in response to an emergency.
Learn more about FRRAB Grand Est
The digitization of heritage funds meets the objectives of conservation, valorization and availability to the greatest number (amateurs, researchers...).
State support is provided, in particular through the special assistance of the General decentralisation allocation (DGD), or by DRAC credits intended for operations whose purpose is to put digitized documents online, in compliance with exchange formats, in particular through their dissemination on local, regional or national portals.
Several digitization campaigns relating to illuminated manuscripts, photographic collections or the local press preserved in the region have thus been the subject of financial and technical support from the Ministry over the past fifteen years, for the sake of cultural democratization and preservation of heritage.
Digital reference libraries
Since 2010, the Digital Reference Library Programme has enabled the State to encourage large local authorities to set up high-level digital libraries. The goal is to make quality digital collections and services available to the public, while diversifying audiences and modernizing libraries...
The DRAC also supports actions to valorize heritage funds (symposia, exhibitions, publications...), particularly in the area of National Commemorations.
The DRAC Grand Est encourages the enrichment of library funds through grants for acquisition grants.
Libraries wishing to acquire documents of national heritage value may request assistance from the Ministry of Culture for a Acquisition of Heritage of National Interest (APIN). Read more
List of documents to be provided for a national heritage acquisition application (Public Library): find out more
Finally, in the case of exceptional acquisitions the contribution of the Heritage Fund may be solicited.
Also read under "Written heritage and graphics"
Written heritage and graphics: presentation
The Associated Divisions of the BnF (National Library of France)
On the website of the Ministry of Culture: Procedure for Theft of a Territorial Library Heritage Fund Document
Application for grant to the DRAC Grand Est and Specific Aids Book, reading, archives...