French and Francophone
8. French resources in the UK
We cannot list all the libraries in the UK holding French resources. So before checking one of the larger libraries on this page, always search the catalogues of your University library first, and those which are in your neighbourhood. University libraries tend to have different specialisms depending on the research interests of the lecturers and researchers associated with the institution, so collections may vary considerably. Be creative when doing your research and use COPAC to locate your materials.
The British Library
The British Library is one of the world's greatest libraries. It holds over 150 million items from every age of global civilization. You can search the catalogues and order copies of some documents online. Access is free but you need to get a reader's pass. Photocopying, microfilming, photographic and digital services are available but be warned: charges are very high. If you can copy the materials elsewhere, then do so. See the special webpages dedicated to the French Collections of the British Library, including Francophone resources.
Bodleian Library at Oxford
This is the main research library of Oxford University, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library, having a stock of 6 million volumes. Admission open to members of Oxford University is free, and to other bona fide scholars on production of a suitable letter of recommendation and proof of identity. Graduate students affiliated to universities and colleges funded by the higher education funding councils of the UK or the Republic of Ireland are exempt from payment.
Cambridge University Library
This library has more than 5 million books and more than 1.5 million serial volumes. For vacation access only your student ID is required, although during term time and for the section Manuscripts & Rare Books you have to produce a letter from your supervisor. Students from foreign universities are subject to an administration charge of £10 for six months.
The Taylor Institution Library (Oxford)
The Taylor Institution Library is devoted to modern languages and has a total stock of over 500,000 volumes - it is the largest specialist library in its field in the UK. Its collection concentrates on the literary and philological aspects of continental European culture, but also contains much background materials in fields such as history and philosophy.
John Rylands University of Manchester Library
Holdings of specialized library collections, including manuscripts, early printed books, and rare materials.
University of London Library: Senate House
The University of London Library is one of the major academic libraries of the United Kingdom. Access is free for all postgraduates (although you have to show proof of identity and get a card). However, lending rights are only given automatically to University of London students and staff. Anyone else has to pay a fee (there are various different categories). Photocopying (also onto CDs) is available at a reasonable rate.
Institut Français du Royaume Uni (London)
The Médiathèque of the Institut Français holds the largest free-access collection of French material in the UK – feature films, documentaries, music, poetry, novels, comic books, children's books and much more. There is unrestricted public access to all multimedia collections. Books, videos, CDs, CDroms and comics are available and the subscription fee is £20 for 6 months and £30 for 1 year.
The National Art Library - Victoria and Albert Museum
NAL is both a major reference library and the Victoria and Albert Museum's curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book, with a special collection of prints, drawings and paintings.