Digital Reference Libraries
The Digital Reference Library program was launched in March 2010 as part of the 14 proposals for the development of reading.
The objective of the programme is tohelp large French communities develop digital programs high-level, capable of providing users with leading digital collections and services and thereby:
- reach new audiences (young audiences, the elderly, people with disabilities, remote audiences),
- contribute to the modernization of libraries so that they remain at the heart of the cultural and social activity of their territory.
The proposal was based on the following reasoning: the existing funding mechanisms in this area can only support partial and limited digital initiatives for libraries. The creation of a digital library and digital services requires a political commitment as demanding as hard-built equipment and long-term technical and financial investment. Specific support, at a high and multiannual level, must be provided for this type of project. The State focuses its support on two tools: multiannual financial support via the Special assistance from libraries within the general decentralisation fund (DGD) and, in the case of classified libraries, the provision of state curators, renovated and directed towards digital.
The program is mainly based on:
- on the award by the ministry of a label recognizing the quality of the project presented to the community1,
- on a support system based on significant State funding through multi-year mobilization of the DGD, and on work of networking and technical support of the project by the State services.
The Digital Reference Libraries projects include the orientations of the programme concerning:
- the impact on audiences (digital accessibility, mediation and digital training, portals and websites, innovative devices, digital inclusion...);
- the development of a range of digital collections and services (digital service creation, digitization and heritage library, digital resources...);
- the evolution of professional practices (staff training, development of computer and digital tools, evaluation process...);
- the territorial influence (partnerships, participation in a local digital ecosystem, registration in regional/national projects, mobile digital devices2...).
For more information on the program, see NRB Practice Guide
The Digital Reference Libraries program has been a real success with local and regional authorities and more than 63 communities have integrated it to date:
- Le Havre, the European Metropolis of Lille, the departmental councils of the Somme, Haute-Loire, Savoie and Haute-Savoie (grouped within Savoie-Biblio) in 2022.
- Perigueux, the departmental councils of Aisne, Dordogne, Saône-et-Loire, Nord and Lot in 2021.
- The Departmental Councils of Finistère, Landes, Bas-Rhin, Loiret, Calvados, Lozère, Haute-Garonne, Pas-de-Calais, Perpignan, Rouen and Sillon Lorrain in 2020.
- The Departmental Councils of Val d'Oise, Indre-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher, Nièvre, Hautes-Alpes, the Pau Béarn Pyrénées, Reims and Plaine Commune agglomeration community in 2019.
- The Departmental Councils of Isère and Hérault, Le Havre, Toulouse, Versailles and Grand Paris Sud in 2018.
- The Departmental Councils of Jura and Puy-de-Dôme, Poitiers, Saint-Étienne, the Communauté d'agglomération de Cambrai and the Urban Community of Dunkerque, Bayonne, the City of Paris in 2017.
- Nantes, the Departmental Councils of the Loire and the Drôme, Valence Romans Agglo in 2016.
- Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Brest, Caen-la-Mer, the Departmental Council of Pas-de-Calais, Plaine Commune and Grand Troyes in 2015.
- Le Sillon lorrain (Nancy, Épinal, Metz, Thionville) and Rouen in 2013.
- Lyon, Lille, Rennes Métropole, Roubaix, Grenoble and Valenciennes in 2012.
- Compiègne, Nîmes and the agglomeration community of Montpellier in 2011.
- Orléans and Moulins Communauté in 2010.
1 The award of the label is based on analysis by the State services of a a file consisting of 1) a digital project (implementation of the institution’s cultural, scientific, educational and social project), 2) a letter of application from the community addressed to the ministry, 3) a multi-year and phased budget forecast, 4) Community Deliberations (see NRO Practice Guide). Libraries interested in the program are strongly encouraged to contact their advisor. Book and read in advance of the project’s development and submission in order to benefit from their expertise.
2 The elements mentioned are not an exhaustive list of the components of a BNR project but examples of possible achievements.