Grasse - Public reading network
Grasse 06130 – Alpes-Maritimes Population: 52,000
A former perfume capital, Grasse boasts a historical and industrial heritage as well as a traditional culture. This wealth was the origin of the award to the city, in 2003, of the label "City of art and history". Today, its geographical location and its proximity to Sophia-Antipolis make it a pole of demographic dynamism: while its population is relatively young, Grasse welcomes no less many retirees. This diversification of audiences has a strong impact on the city’s cultural policy.
The network currently covers five sites: the media library in the city centre, La Villa Saint-Hilaire and three neighbourhood annexes. Each of these institutions presents great riches, but also weaknesses; it results in an insufficient network, unsatisfactory for public reading and associated cultural action as for the enhancement of heritage collections.
- The media library, inaugurated in 1997, is not sufficiently attractive. It does not radiate beyond the neighbourhood where it is located, which is not perceived positively by the inhabitants of the city. The low attendance is also felt in the adjoining House of Poetry. It is located in the city centre and is the only establishment in the network to offer multimedia collections.
- Built by Grasse architect Jules Rosso, Villa Saint-Hilaire opened in 1969. Larger, however, it is difficult to access and not well served by public transport. The coexistence in the same place of study and research sections (on-site consultation) and public reading spaces is at the origin of difficulties related to the readability of the institution.
- The three neighbourhood annexes are not large enough to significantly increase the density of the network.
In order to better highlight the cultural and heritage richness of the city and the territory, a study led to the development of a program to redefine the two main sites of the network.
The redesigned network: one project, two sites
The aim is to give each of the two main libraries a special role by redistributing in a more readable way the functions related to reading.
A new media library
The offer of public reading will be concentrated, in addition to the existing annexes, in a new media library, which will be built downtown at the location of the current facility. This project, established as part of the action of the National Agency for Urban Renewal (ANRU), is part of the rehabilitation of the old centre (renovation of the housing and establishment of businesses). The new media library aims to become a structuring service at the level of the restructured district, but also of the city. It is conceived in its architecture and in its program as a place of life, culture and encounters. In addition to the adult, youth and early childhood sectors, with documents on all media, spaces will be dedicated to contemporary poetry, in connection with the Maison de la poésie, and to art with the creation of an art library.
A heritage library
On the heights of the city, the entire space of La Villa Saint-Hilaire will be devoted to heritage collections as well as to the conservation and valorization of ancient, rare and precious collections in the 715 m2 store. More suitable from the outset for study and research than for public reading, the 40-year-old building will be renovated and its accessibility will be improved. In addition to a 74 m study and research room2 with panoramic view, there will be a space to consult valuable documents, a news room, exhibition rooms (40 m2 and 120 m2) and conferences (54 m2) as well as a relaxation area. This new range of services will be aimed at researchers and students as well as the general public who will be able to enjoy a rich cultural action: guided tours, conferences, exhibitions, etc.
A common operation
The coherence and cohesion of the network will be ensured by the pooling and pooling of certain services: acquisition management, maintenance, shuttle, IT, etc. The two sites, far from operating independently and in silos, maintain a constant dialogue. A common cultural action policy will establish bridges between public reading and heritage collections.
An example of a bridge between heritage and public reading: the resource centre "Gardens and landscapes"
A "Gardens and Landscapes" thematic resource centre will also be set up to contribute to the knowledge, preservation and enhancement of the natural heritage in the broad sense. The rare and precious collection of ancient works and iconography on the landscape in Provence will be expanded. A thematic public reading fund on the art of gardens and the history of landscape will be created. It will be open to all audiences and supported by the National Book Centre. Finally, a research and cultural animation program around gardens and landscape in Provence will be developed with many partners in the region, France and Europe. The writers' gardens will be highlighted, the links between landscape and contemporary art will be highlighted. In this perspective, artist residencies and exhibitions will be organized.
A large-scale move
To carry out these projects of restructuring, construction and renovation, a vast removal operation is currently implemented: the heritage collections are prepared and stored for transfer to La Villa Saint-Hilaire, while the public reading collections present so far in the library are redirected to the media library, its annexes and some school libraries. Funds are moved, inventoried and possibly digitized. This requires special attention to the conditions of conservation of the structures during the transition. The State supports the city of Grasse for these actions, under the national plan of digitization and preventive conservation. The stages of this move are presented to the public on the library blog: bibliotheques.grasse.over-blog.com
Factsheet: Villa Saint-Hilaire
Architect : Aubry and Guiguet Programming (Paris)
Localization : bd Antoine Maure, on the heights of the city
Library size : 1,805.6 m²
Cost of renovation work (excluding taxes): €1,549,990
State aid €775,000 (50%)
Dates : work began in 2012
Technical sheet: media library
Architect : Beaudouin-Husson Architectes (Nancy)
Localization Charles Nègre, Médiathèque and Vercueil islands
Library size : 3,648 m²
Cost of construction work (excluding VAT): approximately €10,000,000
State aid : the State will contribute to subsidies for the construction of the media library
Dates : work scheduled to begin in 2015
- Sheet prepared by Odile Chatirichvili, trainee at the drac paca with the book and reading consultant