It was my pleasure to visit the library (La Mediatheque) at the Institut Francais in South Kensington yesterday, and to meet Anne-Elisabeth Boxtorf, the head librarian. The Institut Francais opened in London in 1910, moving to its present location in 1939. As well as a cafe and a cinema, the Institut has a lending library comprising a large collection of French language and cultural material, available to Institute members (annual fee £45).
The library facility is extremely pleasant, and contains a wide range of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, videos and CDs.
Additionally, and perhaps less well known, are the archives, comprising documents from 1910 through to 1945. These papers are stored in several grey box files, shown towards the center of the image below. The papers are listed in an inventory, currently in a Word document, and the library is hoping to work with us in the Department of Information Science on a project to transfer the inventory to a web-based database, with digital images of the documents indexed using an appropriate meta-data format. Hopefully, this will involve some of our dissertation students next summer, or student volunteers throughout the year. Any City students interested, please let me know. Meanwhile, francophiles, do go and see the lovely library.