Découvrez les bibliothèques de la Ville de Genève
Toute l'offre culturelle


  • La Bibliothèque de Genève déploie sur 4 sites un patrimoine écrit, imprimé, musical et iconographique unique qu’elle sélectionne, protège, valorise et transmet au grand public comme au public scientifique.
  • Site internet de la Bibliothèque de Genève


  • Les Bibliothèques municipales sont des lieux de rencontre, de découverte et de partage qui vous proposent de nombreux documents à emprunter ainsi que des activités gratuites pour petit-e-s et grand-e-s.
  • Site Internet des Bibliothèques municipales


  • Les musées d’art et d’histoire, le Musée d’ethnographie et le Museum d’histoire naturelle, les Conservatoires et Jardin botaniques et le Fond municipal d’art contemporain proposent un accès à leur bibliothèque scientifique .
  • Site internet


  • Vous avez une question et vous souhaitez une réponse personnalisée? Le réseau des bibliothèques genevoises vous offre, en moins de trois jours, un résultat fiable et des sources identifiées.
  • Service Interroge

Historique

The mission of the Bibliothèque de Genève’s Department of rare books and manuscripts is to fill in the gaps of the various pre-1850 Genevan collections by targeted retrospective acquisitions through the auction house or the specialized bookseller– in other words, rare Genevensia whose author, place of publication or printing, or subject matter is directly associated with Geneva.

"La botanique" de Rousseau, planches imprimées en couleurs d'après les peintures de Redouté, Paris, 1821, in-folio

As a rule, when it comes to Genevan publications, the Bibliothèque does not duplicate the rare book collections of other libraries in the city (the Musée historique de la Réformation, the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques); likewise the Bibliothèque as a rule tries not to duplicate its own copies of Genevan publications with regard to publications of exceptional importance or copies of books that are especially rare because of their binding, provenance, or the origin of their donation.

Rudyard Kipling, Le Livre de la jungle, Paris, Société du livre contemporain, 1919, in-2° (BGE Y 1688). Laque circulaire représentant Mowgli et Bagheera, signé François-Louis Schmied et réalisé par Jean Dunand.

In the case of rare books in modern languages, the Bibliothèque limits itself to the languages that fall within its general acquisitions policy. However, for certain authors who are especially important (e.g., Rousseau), the Bibliothèque collects publications in all languages.

Besides Genevensia, the Bibliothèque aims to acquire titles first and foremost for its two other centers of excellence (the Reformation and the Enlightenment), even if the books are not strictly Genevan. The principle does not apply, however, to areas where another local library fulfills the same mission (e.g., the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques for botany).

The Bibliothèque also makes exceptional purchases of non-Genevensia for completing some of its unique collections (e.g., the library’s collection of Bibles).

Before any decision is taken on purchasing non-Genevensia, a hierarchy is drawn up as a series of concentric circles, and proceeding from the smallest to the largest, there is what belongs to the Bibliothèque, then what is found in another Genevan library, in the network of Swiss-French libraries, in Switzerland, and finally elsewhere. The further we move away from the central circle, the greater is the need to acquire a title. On the other hand, the presence of some sort of substitute copy (digital file, microfilm, facsimile) in one of these concentric circles makes the acquisition increasingly less a priority. An assessment of the relationship between cost, interest in terms of cultural heritage, interest in terms of research and scholarship, and finally the potential audience for the item confirms, or invalidates, the decision to make the acquisition.

When it proves impossible to obtain a certain Genevan publication on the market, because of the item’s rarity or a price that is prohibitively high, the Bibliothèque will acquire a substitute copy in the form of (in order of preference) a digital file, microfilm or microfiche, or facsimile copy.

Promenade des Bastions 1
1211 Genève 4

T: +41 22 418 28 00
F: +41 22 418 28 01
info.bge(at)ville-ge[dot]ch

Thierry Dubois
Curator
thierry.dubois(at)ville-ge.ch
T: +41 22 418 28 43

Jean-Luc Rouiller
Library-science specialist
jean-luc.rouiller(at)ville-ge.ch
T: +41 22 418 28 65