Marseille - Saint-Antoine Media Library
Marseille 13 015 – Bouches-du-Rhône Population 1 073 585
The construction of the Saint-Antoine media library in Marseille is a crucial initiative for the development of the city’s public reading network. The implementation of this new cultural equipment on the plateau of Plan d'Aou, in the 15th arrondissement, is facing various challenges. It embodies a strong desire to integrate this secondary population pool into the surrounding urban landscape, to make it a more coherent and dynamic whole.
In addition to other facilities in the sector, the new media library will make it possible to complete a previously insufficient offer in the northern districts of Marseille. The main objective of this project is to link the diversity of audiences to this new cultural equipment, through the collections and services it will offer. The library’s programming will be primarily based on audiences and their educational and cultural needs.
The new media library at the heart of a global renewal project
The future media library of Saint-Antoine is more broadly aligned with a view to renewing the territories through the establishment of new facilities and businesses in the north of the city. The Saint-Antoine neighbourhood has been the subject of an urban renewal project (PRU) since 2005. This project has already begun the renewal of several housing and facilities within the neighbourhood. Bus lines serve the sector, and a project to establish a multimodal trading hub should be added to broaden its influence with a wider range of audiences.
Its integration into the city’s municipal library network
The Saint-Antoine Media Library will be the ninth establishment of the City of Marseille’s municipal library network. If today the Alcazar library stands out clearly within the network because of its modernity and its geographical location, the other libraries, which for the most part need a renovation, are struggling to do well. In this context, the new media library of Saint-Antoine was conceived as a cultural place of exchange, located outside the city center but close to a multimodal pole of exchange guaranteeing its access.
A desire to strengthen the local offer
The Saint-André library, located in the 16th arrondissement, is currently the closest to this area. The new equipment in Saint-Antoine is particularly suitable to extend and complete the offer currently offered by the city’s library network and thus reach a wider public.
In addition, the media library will enrich the action already initiated by the eight reading spaces managed by the Cultural Association of Reading and Writing Spaces in the Mediterranean (Acelem), two of which are located near its location. Their mission of raising public awareness of books, writing and reading is consistent with the objectives of the future service.
A factor of integration and development
The Saint-Antoine Media Library is of particular importance to the educational public in the area in which it is located. This is a key factor in encouraging access to culture, books, digital and information. It will be able to host school groups with their teachers and develop an offer that is adapted to them. This will be an extension of the one proposed by the Saint-André library. Schools will have the opportunity to partner with libraries in the sector to facilitate their access to such structures.
This new service will also be able to integrate into the associative landscape of the district of Saint-Antoine and join forces with the social centers located nearby to offer workshops with them focused on school support, computer training or job search.
The main priorities of the project
The main transversal axes defined to structure this network are documentary policy, cultural programming and mediation. In this context, the development of collections should in part focus on the pooling of certain acquisitions. The cultural programming service aims to consolidate the action of the network’s libraries by organising it around specific themes and regular operations. The various mediation actions aim at the overall strengthening of the network’s animation in the long term.
The different spaces of the library will be distributed in order to implement a coherent and attractive presentation of the collections and to allow a pleasant consultation on the spot. This set must be able to be articulated with a function of animation and training for audiences.
The importance given to the presentation of the collections to encourage library consultation will determine the layout of the premises. The content will be arranged in such a way as to be accessible to everyone, and therefore at a low height. The library also wants to provide future users with digital equipment and an accessible Wi-Fi connection throughout the structure.
Overall composition of the future media library
The library will be divided into three major universes. A first universe will make use of places of welcome, exchanges and discoveries. Dedicated to the management of visitors, this is the first contact with the service. It will be presented as a friendly salon close to two patios. It will be possible to consult the press. A larger patio will also be fitted out and open to users to allow them to settle in to view the collections, discuss or simply relax.
The second universe will be mainly dedicated to consultation. It will contain most of the collections and will be arranged in several spaces. A first space will be dedicated to children up to 8 years. They will be able to consult the various contents and participate in animations and activities around plastic arts and recreational games.
A second space will bring together collections from the novels, documentaries, comics, music and images. They can be consulted by all in an atmosphere of relaxation. The reading room will allow those who wish to isolate themselves from the noise through sound insulation. It can serve as both a reception room for groups and a study room. Small workgroups will have two boxes available for work.
Finally, the last universe will be mainly dedicated to animation and training. It will include an auditorium in which the main events proposed by the library will take place. By hosting various events such as concerts, conferences, meetings and screenings, it will form a particularly dynamic living space within the media library.
The Media Library provides for the implementation of a plural and attractive cultural programming enabling users to discover new cultural content and practices. Its program will be organized around numerous meetings to encourage regular and stable attendance.
The Media Library will offer its users different ways to approach digital. Workshops will be dedicated to the use of digital resources. The digital space will include computer workstations and a digital board that can be used for training around computer science and digital creation. A workbench with computer equipment that can be used in group workshops will be made available.
Approximately 25,000 open access documents will be proposed. The collections proposed by the library will focus on pluralistic, encyclopaedic and accessible content. The focus will be on the general public in order to reach as many people as possible and to best meet the expectations and needs of the surrounding populations.
Two more specific funds will be offered to users, under the direct influence of the services in the vicinity. The proximity of the media library to the health centre will stimulate the establishment of a fund dedicated to health and well-being. In another register, a garden fund will recall the gardens shared with the Gare Franche. This fund will be accompanied by a seed library that will allow users to freely exchange and deposit seeds from various plantations.
A new media library facing important challenges
To meet the challenges of mobilising and retaining disadvantaged populations, the media library wishes to develop its service in a welcoming, open and accessible environment. Its priority is to encourage the academic success of the youngest by giving priority to their access to culture and information. The reading room will allow teenagers to work in optimal conditions. Innovative activities involving multiple media will be proposed to arouse their interest.
By devoting more than half of its collection to youth, the media library aims more broadly to create an interest in reading among young audiences. To contribute more generally to their success, it plans to devote part of its offer to family and intergenerational activities and practices.
The library will be as suitable for group use as it is for individual use. Each space should correspond to different types of uses and appropriation to meet the needs of each.
An ambitious and indispensable project
With a diverse and varied offer, the new media library of Saint-Antoine, currently under construction, aims to develop a family frequentation, Thus contributing to the more global creation of a real pool of life in an area now considered as a priority.
Through the various territories to which it joins and its establishment on the Aou plateau, this new cultural equipment is part of a broader plan to fight against social, economic and urban inequalities undertaken by the State and local authorities. This is a major project whose impact could prove decisive in a sector that needs to be revitalized.
Architect : NJMH Architects
Localization : Saint-Antoine district (15e borough)
Size of media library : 1,297.50 m²
Estimated cost of work Media library: €4,074,583 excl.
State aid €1,720,000 excluding tax
- This sheet was prepared by Amélia Dreystadt, a trainee at the Drac Paca with the Advisor for Books and Reading as part of a Master’s degree in Law and Management of Culture and Media at the Faculty of Law and Political Science in Aix-Marseille.