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4 | 2022
Récit et médiation des collections. Comment on raconte l’histoire des bibliothèques

Narrating and mediating collections: how to tell the story of libraries
Edited by Fabienne Henryot

“Narratives fundamentally contribute to the development of societies, cultures, and identities. Deprived of this ability to tell themselves what they used to be, what they are and what they could be, identities would be divested of the power to transform their reference points embedded in language and in the whole symbolic field” [Saillant, Lachance, 2012, p. 7]. The same can be said about public libraries, institutions which have been seeking scientific, political and social legitimacy since their emergence in the middle of the modern era.

What is the link between these narratives about libraries and history, which is in itself a form of narrative [Chartier, 1994], especially when mediation affects heritage collections that are part of various temporalities? What are the invariable and the distinguishing elements of these narratives? What does narrativity bring to mediation? What part do imagination, feelings and emotions play in it?
Aside from any value judgement on the gap between mediation and erudition, we would like with this issue to bring to light, thanks to various case studies, the process that gathers the elements of this history, simplifies it and re-uses it in the public sphere.

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