A public and university library in Paris, which inherited the collection of the Abbey of St Genevieve. The library contains around 2 million documents.
The names of 810 illustrious scholars are inscribed on the building’s facade.
Between 1838 and 1850, a building for the Sainte-Geneviève Library was designed and constructed under the direction of the architect Henri Labrouste. The glass and iron reading room has been described as “magisterial” and the building itself as a seminal work in the creation of the modern library as “a temple of knowledge and space for contemplation.”
The Abbey of St Genevieve, one of the largest and oldest abbeys in Paris, was founded in the sixth century by Clovis I and subject to the rule of St Benedict. As part of a reform of its practices in 1148, the Canons Regular of St Augustine were installed at the abbey. Until the French Revolution, they maintained its library and a school of copyists. The oldest known manuscript from the library of the abbey, now preserved at the Public Library of Soissons (ms 80) is an ex-libris of the twelfth century: Iste liber is Sancte Genovefa parisiensis.