|On 14 July 1988, François Mitterrand announced the construction and the expansion of one of the largest and most modern libraries in the world, intended to cover all fields of knowledge, and designed to be accessible to all, using the most modern data transfer technologies, which could be consulted from a distance, and which would collaborate with other European libraries. Surprisingly, the library does not maintain a wireless network. In July 1989, the services of the architectural firm of Dominique Perrault were retained. The construction was carried out by Bouygues. After the move of the major collections from the rue de Richelieu, the National Library of France opened to the public on 20 December 1996. It contains more than ten million volumes.
The new complex consists of a large esplanade and four identical L-shaped towers, whose form recalls the shape of an open book. This architecture was controversial. Many considered it too costly, and not very suitable to the storage of book collections. Wooden shutters had to be added to prevent the sun from spoiling the books. Those who work in it are not happy with the extremely long distances they have to walk to reach basic functions. It also features a landscaped garden pit at its center that cannot be enjoyed except with one's eyes, and several of the trees need to be supported with rope to prevent them from falling.
Additionally, despite being a library financed at great cost to the public and located in a neighborhood dominated by social housing, none of the material in the library is accessible by the public without paying a fee. Those wishing to visit the library for a single day will be required to pay a fee of 3.30 Euros. Admission to the reading rooms in the research library is restricted to those over the age of 18 and proof of "academic, professional or personal research activities requiring access to the collection" is required. Readers’ cards are issued "after an individual interview with a librarian."
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