Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Laurence Engel, president of the Bibliothèque National de France (BnF), today announced a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the BnF to provide digital content for a new online space for collections relating to shared French-American history. The initiative will also be supported by other U.S. organizations, including the National Archives.
During the special visit to the Library, President Macron and his wife, Brigitte, viewed a display that included treasures from the Library of Congress and National Archives that will be part of the international collaboration, which highlights an extensive tradition of close cooperation between the United States and France.
Through direct digital access to complete books, maps, prints and other documents from the collections of the partner libraries, the new bilingual website will focus on the cultural and historical connections between France and Northern America and, more specifically, the United States during the 16th through the 19thcenturies.
This digital space, which revitalizes a previous initiative called “France in America,” is part of the missions of the Library of Congress and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to make their resources available to ever-growing audiences and to preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.
“The Library of Congress is thrilled to continue these mutual efforts with the National Library of France to collect, preserve and provide access to the rich cultural heritage of France and French-Americans,” said Hayden. “Together we have a substantial collection of materials reflecting the deep historical and cultural connections between France and the United States, as well as materials documenting and celebrating French-American life.”
“Since the epic story of the New France, our two nations share also a common history,” said Engel. “The future website, a joint initiative of the Library of Congress and the National Library of France, will associate prestigious American institutions such as the National Archives to bring it to life for the benefit of all.”
“The National Archives is honored to be celebrating the important historical ties between our countries by sharing our unique French-American documents in this exciting international venture,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero.
As a key part of this collaboration, Bibliothèque Nationale de France will create and host the website, which is part of its collection “Shared Heritage,” while the Library of Congress will select and make available high-quality digital scans of relevant materials from its collections.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France is one of the oldest national libraries in the world tracing its origins back to a medieval royal collection and benefiting from one of the earliest legislation regarding Legal Deposit, promulgated as soon as 1537. Its collections are global and as such reflect France’s position in the world across the centuries, the humanist tradition and the Enlightenment. Visit collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at www.bnf.fr as well as discover Gallica, the digital library, at gallica.bnf.fr.
The National Archives serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, so people can discover, use and learn from this documentary heritage. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers and Presidential Libraries, and online at www.archives.gov.