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


A large part of the Bibliothèque de Genève’s collections is shelved in special storage areas and such items have to be requested from the Circulation desk. There are, however, two open-access areas in the Bastions and La Musicale libraries.

Une sélection d’environ 38'000 ouvrages récents est proposée à la salle Saussure, aux Bastions


Located on the ground floor of the Bastions building, the Salle Saussure reading room offers a selection of some 38,000 recent works, most of which are in French. Although all fields are represented, the emphasis is on literature (studies of classical and modern literature, classical literary texts), history, philosophy, and religious studies.

Constantly updated, the materials shelved in these areas also offer readers a selection of the latest work from the world of French-language publications.

The publications are presented thematically according to the Dewey decimal system. The older works are regularly replaced by more recent publications.


The Salle Saussure reading room was opened in 1999 to provide easier access to a range of recent publications. Because space was limited, it was decided that the shelves would not accommodate modern literary texts, which can be easily found in the catalogue under the author’s name or the title. Studies devoted to individual writers, however, are freely available on the shelves, as are collections of often quite specialized articles. And in order to reconcile the wish to provide readers open access, on the one hand, and the library’s mission to conserve its collections, on the other, the Bibliothèque purchases two copies of all Genevensia materials on the shelves, one of which is held in the library’s secure storage areas. For the same reason, we do not offer open access to lavishly illustrated books or fragile brochures.

The reading room takes its name from the Saussure family, which has given Geneva a number of scholars and intellectuals, including the geologist, glaciologist and inventor Horace-Bénédict (1740-1799), the chemist and naturalist Nicolas-Théodore (1767-1845), the Central American entomologist Henri (1829-1905), and the great linguist Ferdinand (1857-1913), who did so much to renew the discipline.

Open-access classification – by subject | by the Dewey decimal system

La Musicale

At La Musicale, the music-oriented branch located on the first floor of the Maison des arts du Grütli, readers can find on the open-access shelves some 18,000 pieces of sheet music, classified by musical genre and instrument.

La Musicale, au premier étage de la Maison des arts du Grütli

All genres of music are represented and are divided into 8 sections according to the system of musical classification developed by French public libraries, PCDM (Principes de classification des documents musicaux):

0. Generalities and educational works
1. Music with Afro-American influences
2. Rock and related genres
3. Classical music
5. Various musical genres
6. Music for film and musicals
8. Songs and international popular entertainment
9. World music

In section 0, you will find learners’ manuals, exercises, and collections of pieces, classified by instrument, as well as music theory.

0.641 AACL = Collection of easy pieces for violin

In sections 1 to 9, items are arranged by musical genre followed by the name of the musician. Certain categories are further subdivided by musical instrument. Section 9 is classified by country and geographic region. Sections 4 and 7 are not used.

2 HEND = Rock, Jimi Hendrix
8.5 BRUE = French pop song by Patrick Bruel
3.0673 MOZA = Classical music for horn by W. A. Mozart
9.99 PIAZ = Argentina, tango by Piazzolla

Getting your bearings in the open-access shelves

Ask for help from a librarian or consult the subject list:
list of open-access subjects PCDM index

Certain items are not freely available to the public, such as performance materials for orchestras, but are shelved in the library storage areas. You can borrow such items by submitting a request to a librarian.