Découvrez les bibliothèques de la Ville de Genève
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  • 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

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Whereas restoration focuses on cultural property as a unique and rare object, preventive conservation comprises a group of measures that can be applied either to the individual object or to much more extensive series (collections of objects or books, archives, paintings, etc.) by addressing their environment. Indeed, whatever the support, cultural property ages inexorably.

Traitement de nettoyage à sec sur un négatif sur plaque de verre, Fonds Borel-Boissonnas

Conservation has the following objectives:

– slow the phenomenon of aging in objects (for example, through deacidification).

– prevent their deterioration, which can occur under the effects of internal or external factors (climate, light, dust, insects, mold, flooding or fire, etc.).

The aim is to obtain the best conservation conditions. For the staff tasked with taking care of such problems at the Bibliothèque, those conditions require precise technical expertise based on scientific research that has often been verified in the laboratory:

– knowledge of the different supports and materials making up the item
– knowledge of internal and external factors that cause deterioration
– knowledge of the means that are deployed to fight against those factors.

Conservation is also based on economic considerations: an ounce of prevention is by far much cheaper than a pound of cure. Restoration is indeed expensive; conservation is often preferable in order to prevent deterioration rather than repair damage done. To attain these objectives, the Preventive conservation and book facilities department has grown over the last quarter century. Made up of conservation technicians, the department is responsible for creating or maintaining conditions that favor conservation in every respect, be it binding, one of the most conclusive means of safeguarding content, packaging, labeling, monitoring the health of library items, training in how to use items, etc.

The Boissonnas project: from the single piece to the mass

The archives of the Boissonnas studio are an outstanding picture collection documenting a century of photography in Geneva, from 1860 to around 1990. With Frédéric, its most famous representative, the studio’s activities stretched from Switzerland to Greece, Russia to North Africa. The superlative quality of the images produced by this studio was recognized the world over. The City of Geneva understood the capital importance of the collection, acquiring it for 2 million francs in November 2011 and entrusting it to the care of the Bibliothèque, which has assumed complete technical and scientific responsibility of this trove of images.

The Boissonnas archives contain a huge range of supports and materials in every conceivable format, from negatives on flexible supports and glass plates, to autochromes, to the different types of silver-gelatin prints. The archives also boast albums, books, objects, and manuscripts. To ensure the long-term preservation of this rare collection, a vast preventive conservation taskforce was launched in 2013. The aim first and foremost of the treatment in this case was to preserve the photographic supports in keeping with the professional standards governing this type of operation. Work on refurbishing the negatives of the Borel-Boissonnas collection was initiated in October 2014. It involves 4 conservation technicians and restorers of paper documents and photographs. Temporarily conserved in over 357 specially designed transportation boxes, the 135,000 or so negatives of the collection are being dusted off, stabilized, and treated following a chain of operations that makes it possible to mete out piece-by-piece interventions or mass treatments.

Promenade des Bastions 1
1211 Genève 4

T: +41 22 418 28 00
F: +41 22 418 28 01

Nelly Cauliez
Curator, head of the Building administration unit
T: +41 22 418 28 94
P: +41 76 563 07 35

Emilie Vaudant
Chargée de conservation préventive
T: +41 22 418 28 18
F: +41 22 418 2801