A couple of French libraries

By Rachel

So I wasn’t intending to do another library post. I wasn’t actually thinking I would be going into any more libraries. But…you know how it is, you go for a walk and lo and behold there’s a library – and it looks kind of cool. Can’t NOT go in.

So it was in Caen. On our walk around the port we happened upon the Alexis de Tocqueville Library. Amazing gallery/art exhibit space on the ground floor (during our visit the gallery had a photo exhibit of the May 1968 riots – fascinating). Great open spaces on the first and second floor. Interestingly, despite how open it was it did not seem loud. Obviously they are using some sort of sound dampening methods, just not sure what they were. I loved how they made quiet reading and study areas sort of like modules in the open space. The building itself has loads of windows, so perfect for its location. Pippa and Rowan’s comment: “Why does everywhere else have nicer libraries than we do?”

Now we are in St Malo and I’ve come across another library but it is on the other end of the spectrum in so many ways. The library is in the former Hotel de Ville of Saint-Servan (Saint-Servan joined St Malo in the 1960s). Gorgeous building, fantastic location. However the library essentially serves as a reading room for the main library located elsewhere and is only open a total of 6 hours a week. The affect of local support on public libraries….

DSCN3690

Night and day.

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