The National Library of France, BNF for the intimate, Bibliothèque François Mitterrand for the picky ones, is one of the most important national libraries in the world with its 40 million books and printed matter and its 1.3 million annual visitors . He really is a beautiful baby.
Its surprising architecture, not badly controversial since its birth (placing precious works in glass towers is especially an excellent idea if you want to cook them , and on the banks of the Seine if you want to drown them), however, allows it to welcome readers in large spaces opening onto a magnificent interior garden.
As a documentary tool, it lacks nothing (there is even soap in the toilets and escalators that work most of the time). Finally, a trifle all the same: it does not have wifi . Yes Yes. The largest library in France, second in Europe behind the British Library , does not have this system which allows visitors to access the Internet without reserving in advance one of the few stations equipped with an Ethernet socket, when any neighborhood establishment, in Dijon or Romorantin, has gone wireless for ages …
We may find that it is useless anyway, that we come there to read paper books, to utter any stupid argument according to which the wifi is only a gadget but, to cut it short, we will answer that anyone doing research now needs access to the Internet and that makes life easier. It’s like that. And that the wifi makes it even more practical and avoids running cables everywhere or walking around with your own (which some recent computers and tablets actually refuse).
And why is there no wifi at the BNF? Because the local unions are against , that they assure that it is bad for the “electro-sensitive” and that they will fight to the death to avoid seeing their members crossed by the evil waves.
Backed by the “works” of a handful of specialists who, in the past, would have explained that the earth was flat, they managed to bend management for years, which nevertheless decided to deploy a network of wifi terminals next September – probably because she finally realized how ridiculous the situation was. The threat of a strike is therefore already brandished for the start of the school year and we are impatiently waiting to see who will win, the 1.3 million users or the few Luddits of the FSU. The bets are open.
We are also impatiently awaiting a survey on the proportion of trade unionists who do not use, outside of their working day, a PC connected to an ADSL box, a cell phone, a microwave oven and a television remote control. To these, we hope that the Ministry of Culture, if it decides to hold on, will provide protective aluminum caps as a year-end gift. It would be nice to say the least.