The Bibliothèque acquires, conserves, and makes available to the public the traditional supports of learning, viz., manuscripts, printed books, images and visual sources generally. The Bibliothèque is mindful of the complementarity of paper documents and those from the new digital technologies. It takes advantage of those technologies, moreover, to enhance its collections and make them available to as broad a public as possible. As for acquisitions (purchases, donations, exchanges, legal deposits), the Bibliothèque is allowed complete freedom, neutrality, and curiosity in terms of culture, ideology, politics, and religion. In particular, it conserves documents from a number of controversial schools of thought. And to ensure the most complete range of services and an optimal availability of general and scholarly materials, the Bibliothèque situates its own development at the heart of a network of cantonal, regional, national, and international cooperative ties. The Bibliothèque’s missions are driven by a strong conviction that knowledge, study, and research play a decisive role in affirming fundamental human values, be it the dignity of the individual, defense of democratic freedoms, the openness of our minds, or tolerance.
The Bibliothèque de Genève occupies four different sites in iconic places within the city.
The central Bastions site (next to the University buildings, facing the Reformation Wall), the Musée Voltaire in Les Délices, the Musicale in the Grütli Theater and the Centre d’iconographie on the Boulevard du Pont d'Arve.
In addition there is the historical library of the Villa La Grange, (the only existing 18th century library in Geneva,) which is managed by the Bibliothèque de Genève.