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 library’s rare books collections cover all works published before 1850, including those that entered the collection thanks to the legal deposit law. Monographs, periodicals, bills, notices, placards, and sheet music amount to over 150,000 volumes. Rare books also include all special, invaluable works published after 1850.

Uraniborg, dans: Joan Blaeu (1596-1673), Géographie, qui est la première partie de la cosmographie blaviane, Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu, 1667, 12 vol. in-folio. BGE Fa 40/1.

History

As the oldest of the city’s cultural institutions, the Bibliothèque de Genève is both heir to the collections originally put together to serve the needs of the collège founded by Calvin in 1559, and repository of all published materials generated by the legal deposit, the law instituted in 1539 following the city’s embrace of the Reformation. The legal deposit was a way both to keep an eye on the local output of printed works, and to gradually amass a print legacy. Officially opened to the literate public in 1702, over the centuries the library has indeed accumulated collections that are increasingly encyclopedic in their scope.

The early collection took shape notably with the acquisition of books from the libraries of Jean Calvin, Pierre Martyr Vermigli, and François Bonivard. The collection then grew thanks to targeted purchases, as well as donations and bequests in kind or in money by former teachers and students of the collège, executive members of the library or the Company of Pastors, scholars, figures from the world of politics and society, temporary guests of the city, foreigners who were made bourgeois de Genève (that is, citizens of the city), and authors of every stripe. In the 18th century, acquisition policy also opened up to the sciences and the new ideas of the age. Growth of the collection has proved to be exponential:

Year  Volumes
1572    554
1702    3,502
1717    6,374
1720    7,028
1729    9,670
1829    30,280
1873    70,000

The distribution of the collection by language reflects the gradual inversion of the relative importance of French and Latin:

16th c.: titles in French 25%, titles in Latin 75%
17th c.: titles in French 48%, titles in Latin 52%
18th c.: titles in French 80%, titles in Latin 20%
19th c.: titles in French 97%, titles in Latin 03%

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