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



Du 3 juillet au 7 août inclus, la Bibliothèque ferme le lundi. Nous vous accueillons le reste de la semaine avec nos horaires habituels.

Located on the second floor of the Bastions building in an extension of the Salle Bonivard, the Salle Senebier is reserved for readers wishing to consult manuscripts, archival documents and books printed before 1850 or conserved in the library’s rare books storeroom.

Salle Senebier, Bastions

The room is named for the pastor and librarian Jean Senebier (1742-1809), who published in 1779 the first printed catalogue of the library’s collection of manuscripts. Member of several academies and learned societies, and contributor to the Journal de Genève, he carried out research in meteorology, physics and plant physiology. He also published a literary history of Geneva in 3 volumes (1786), which featured the biographies of intellectuals of his day.

Numerous works are freely available on the Salle Senebier’s shelves. On the one side, you will find several catalogues of manuscripts that are conserved in other libraries and archives. On the other, dictionaries, biographies and genealogies, and books on the history of Geneva, the history of books and codicology, as well as editions of historical sources (i.e., correspondence, private journals, diaries, etc).

To consult an item not available on the shelves, you need to do the following:

— fill out a reader form, indicating in particular what you are looking for, and show the librarian a valid ID, as well as any letter of recommendation or other document justifying your search.
— read the legal provisions and regulations for consulting and publishing library materials, especially those touching on personality rights and copyright (available in the Salle Senebier).
— submit a consultation request, filling out one slip per item (green for manuscripts, white for rare books) and printing clearly the precise call number in full, as well as your name and address. Requested items are distributed twice a day. Request slips must be submitted no later than 9:30 am and 2 pm for morning and afternoon delivery respectively. Requested items are brought out within the following half hour. No items will be delivered on Saturday mornings.
— tell the librarian on duty, when you return the requested item, whether you have finished with it or would like to consult it again later and when.

To maintain an atmosphere favorable to study and to preserve our rare books and manuscripts, we ask you to respect the following:

— please leave all your personal belongings (jackets, bags, books, laptop cases, etc.) at the entrance to the Salle Senebier, or in one of the lockers for that purpose in the Salle Bonivard.
— thank you for turning off your mobile phone, for not eating or drinking in the reading room, and for not talking or otherwise disturbing your fellow readers.

Only pencils are allowed for taking notes. These rules must be followed when consulting one of our rare books or manuscripts:

— never run a pencil or your finger over the pages
— never press down on a rare book or manuscript, or use such items as a prop while writing on something else (portable lecterns for that purpose are available)
— never remove individual items from a box, file or binder
— never alter the arrangement of pages or items in a file or sheaf of papers
— never add marks or annotations to a requested item

According to their fragility or state of conservation, original documents may be replaced for the purposes of your consultation by digital, paper or microfilm copies (2 microfilm readers are available on the first floor of the Bastions building, in the room located between the reading room and the catalogue room).
Certain collections are subject to special restrictions.

Legal and regulatory provisions

Researchers should be aware of the following rules and recommendations covering the consultation and use of manuscripts and archives (see French website): (see French website):

Rules and guidelines for consulting and reproducing manuscripts and rare books in the Salle Senebier of the Bibliothèque de Genève (access to the text of the rule, in French, LC 21 633).

Readers are allowed to take a few research-related photographs but must sign an authorization form to do so, and strictly on the condition that the photos—no flash photography permitted—do not damage the document in any way and do not disturb the quiet of the Senebier Reading room.

The Salle Senebier is also equipped with outlets for plugging in your laptop (adapters are available by request), as well as WiFi and a public computer terminal.

Archivists are on hand to answer any of your research or library-science questions.

Promenade des Bastions 8
1205 Genève

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

We recommend that you inform us of your upcoming visit at mss.bge(at)ville-ge.ch