The Institut Pasteur's library
1887 From his earliest plans for the Institut Pasteur, architect M. Petit envisioned a library, which would be located on the first floor of the building, in a great hall designed in the Louis XIII style.
1888 (Nov. 14) Opening ceremony of the Institut Pasteur, held in the hall intended for the "Grande bibliothèque" ("The Great Library"). From its creation, this large room was divided to accommodate different activities : the "Salle des actes", for meetings of the Institut Pasteur's board of trustees and general assembly ; the "Salle des bustes", adorned with statues depicting six of the Institut Pasteur's major supporters (Alexandre III, Baron de Rothschild, Comte de Laubespin, Madame Boucicaut, Madame Furtado Heine, Don Pedro II) ; and the "Salle d'honneur", where lectures were delivered for the general public.
1890 The catalogue of library holdings was created : 459 books and pamphlets in the fields of medicine, surgery, veterinary medicine, parasitology, hygiene, natural sciences and agriculture. The library had also acquired some 19 periodicals, eight of which were free of charge.
1891 Following the request of the board of trustees, a committee charged with evaluating holdings and finances supervised the library and presented a yearly report to the general assembly. Two major donations, from Louis Pasteur (who provided the majority of his personal scientific library, which according to the bookseller Gauthier-Villars, reached some 750 books and pamphlets in the fields of chemistry, medicine and biology) and from J. Reiset, a member of the Institut de France, (who donated some 200 scientific volumes in his will to express his admiration for L. Pasteur's scientific work) provided the major holdings in the library. Pastorian scientists E. Roux, A. Laveran, E. Metchnikoff, E. Duclaux, L. Martin regularly contributed to the library's collection by donating their own periodicals.
1895 On Oct. 3, the library was turned into chapel when L. Pasteur died.
1899 With 4169 books and 242 periodicals in its collection, the Institut Pasteur's library was recognized by the scientific community as one of France's top medical libraries.
1900 The Institut Pasteur's area was enlarged, with the construction of a building for E. Duclaux's Institute for physiological chemistry. This new building contained a small library specializing in chemistry.
1913 Cl. Regaud joined the faculty of the Institut Pasteur, having been appointed as head of the radiophysiology laboratory. This laboratory was located in the newly created Radium Institute, following an agreement between the University of Paris and the Institut Pasteur. The building contained a new library, specializing in cancer research. By this date, the Institut Pasteur's library thus maintained a collection that spanned three different sections.
1914-1918 During First World War, most of the library's activities were suspended, when the Institut Pasteur was assisting the war effort by offering clinical and other practical services (hospital, service of chemistry).
1916 When E. Metchnikoff died, according to his final wishes, his ashes were enclosed in a porphyry urn, which remained preserved in the library.
1918-1930 After the war, the library continued to expand its collection : it was enriched with some 500 volumes donated by both the American Red Cross Society and the Rockefeller Institute ; researchers from the Institut Pasteur (such as A. Calmette, L. Nègre, A. Besredka, C. Delezenne and M. Nicolle ) regularly donated their ashes were enclosed in a porphyry urn, which remained preserved in the library.
1918-1930 After the war, the library continued to expand its collection : it was enriched with some 500 volumes donated by both the American Red Cross Society and the Rockefeller Institute ; researchers from the Institut Pasteur (such as A. Calmette, L. Nègre, A. Besredka, C. Delezenne and M. Nicolle) regularly donated their books to the library ; moreover, the library collected donations from researchers working outside of the Institut Pasteur (such as E. Brumpt and Jules Rehms) ; in 1927, neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot donated thousands of publications and scientific titles and works to the library.
1931 The A. Calmette's tuberculosis laboratory moved to a new building located along rue Falguière ; a new library, specializing in tuberculosis was created there. In addition to the existing Grande Bibliothèque (main library), the biological chemistry library, and the cancer library, the library was thus enlarged to include a fourth section, named the "BCG library", all located in different parts of the Institut Pasteur.
1934 The first catalogue cards were drawn up and indexed so that sources could be searched by subject or author.
1936 The "Grande bibliothèque" was expanded to two upper floors of the great hall to accommodate its growing collection ; the requirement for additional accommodation was presented to the board of trustees, which approved the creation of a committee to guide and provide technical support and advice to the project of building a new library ; these efforts, however, could not proceed because of the outbreak of war, but the commitment was nevertheless sustained : it would be another fifty years before a new library was constructed.
1939 Part of the main library collection from the "Grande bibliothèque" was transferred to the Garches annexe of the Institut Pasteur, located in Jouy-en-Josas, giving rise to a new section, the "Garches library".
1945 After Second World War, when the Institut Pasteur had been forced into isolation, a new impetus was given to the library development : the major goal of the library was to serve the needs of researchers with as little delay as possible, by providing easy access to scientific resources. The library catalogue of existing periodicals was created, printed and made available to readers ; it included some 1100 periodicals, written in various languages and published throughout the world.
1947 The library catalogue of the entire collection contained an estimated 55 000 volumes (including books and pamphlets). Throughout the fifties, the library's holdings steadily increased, acquiring an average of 900 volumes per year.
1951 The library catalogue of national and international meetings, indexed by date and subject, was completed, offering readers access to 500 additional volumes.
1960-1970 During the sixties, the main library found itself facing considerable challenges because many research laboratories and departments had created their own specialized libraries (including those for yellow fever, molecular biology, biotechnology). The main library "Grande bibliothèque" was renamed "Bibliothèque Centrale" ("central" library). By organizing professional research meetings, it developed relationships with University libraries, the "Bibliothèque Nationale" and other libraries of scientific institutions in France and abroad.
1972 Closure of the BCG library, which transferred its collection to the "central" library.
1986 Closure of the biological chemistry library, which transferred its collection to the "central" library. As the Central library's holdings grew, it required additional space for expansion : since the century-old building was too small to accommodate the current library collection, some holdings were taken out of circulation and stored in three stockrooms ; it was determined that a new building was needed.
1987 The Duchess of Windsor's major legacy enabled the construction of a new library building, equipped with computer resources to support scientific information research.
1994 The library moved its holdings to the newly constructed building, the "Centre d'information scientifique". An advisory board of librarians and scientific representatives from the Institut Pasteur was created to coordinate the implementation and construction of the building. The new library's purpose was to preserve and promote information resources and to make them accessible for all users.
1994-2010 The library continued to catalogue, preserve and promote the documentary heritage of the Institut Pasteur. Donations from former Pastorian researchers ( G. Ramon in 1997, A. Lacassagne in 1998, P.-L. Simond in 2000, R. Dujarric de la Rivière in 2004, J. Monod, R. Latarjet, Ed. Sergent in 2007 and R. Dedonder in 2010) steadily enriched the collection. The library also purchased books concerning historical and contemporary studies on the Institut Pasteur. The library now contained holdings of 6000 books published prior to 1935, 2070 scientific titles and works, more than 2000 offprints and 1300 thesis in sciences, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.
2000 Because of its multimedia capacities, its increasing audio-visual collection and digitization of resources, the library was renamed the "Médiathèque scientifique of the Institut Pasteur".
2010 The Multimedia library of the Institut Pasteur contributed to a program initiated by the French National Library ("Bibliothèque Nationale") to advance the digitization of the Annales de l'Institut Pasteur.
2011 Consolidation of the Multimedia library and the Archives of the Institut Pasteur (established in 1987).
Sandra Legout (the Multimedia library of the Institut Pasteur)
Service des Archives de l'Institut Pasteur