3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

March 15, 2008 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on March 15, 2008.

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3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:


Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us




Digital libraries, Drancy


Wonderful libraries are available now, in the Paris "banlieue": the following group of small towns, located out near one of the great landmarks of Early Aviation, Drancy with its difficult past... So this is how one suburb approaches it, in Paris: coping with their history, simultaneously providing one of France's best bets for resolving their current "guerre des banlieues" -- keeping the culture both strong & open --

Communauté Le Bourget-Drancy
Présentation des médiathèques

[tr. JK:]

1 main central médiathèque
5 neighborhood médiathèques

* "Books, bandes dessinées, periodicals, dvds, cd-roms, to use and for borrowing"

* "Access and services free of charge to all"

"The Bourget-Drancy networks is a public cultural service, a necessity in the exercise of democracy. It guarantees to citizens an equality of access, of every person, to reading and to documentary resources, as part of its general functions. It is under the authority of the town mayor. Its task is to promote the creation, provide for the conservation, and to maintain, the collections in its charge, as provided by law.

"The network offers a union catalog of the collections of the médiathèques du Bourget-Drancy, which permits the search and retrieval of all the available documents, wherever they are located. An inter-library loan service, enabling the borrowing of any document, is available as well."

* Médiathèque Georges Brassens
- Superficie: 3000m2 ouverts au public
- une collection de 65,000 livres, 8000 DVD et 6500 CD...
- 34 professionnels de l'information à votre service,
- des ordinateurs connectés à internet accessibles au public,
- trois espaces: un espace jeunesse de 0 à 14 ans au rez de chaussée, un espace documentaires adultes au 1er et un espace fictions adultes au 2ème étage,
- un auditorium et un parking de 100 places chacun en sous-sol.

* Médiathèque Economie
- Superficie: 420m2
- une collection de 18,279 livres et 928 DVD,
- 2 professionnels à votre service,
- 2 espaces: un espace adultes au rez-de-chaussée et un espace jeunesse à l'étage,
- 30 places assises et 3 ordinateurs connectés à Internet.

* Médiathèque Bois de Groslay
- une collection de 17,082 livres et 627 CD sous forme de textes lus et de musique,
- 2 professionnels sont à votre service,
- 2 espaces: un espace adulte au rez de chaussée, un espace jeunesse et une salle d'animation à l'étage,
- Un ordinateur connecté à Internet pour le public
- 30 places assises pour pouvoir consulter sur place vos documents.

* Médiathèque Gaston Roulaud
- une collection de 14,439 livres et des CD
- 2 professionels
- 2 espaces: un espace adulte et un espace jeunesse au rez de chaussée
- 20 places assises
- le public est tenu informé des animations qui se tiennent à la médiathèque centrale Georges Brassens

* Médiathèque le Bourget
- des livres, des CDROM et des CD de textes lus, de la musique et des contes,
- 7 professionnelles à votre service,
- au rez-de-chaussée un espace jeunesse et un espace adulte,
- la connexion Internet n'est pas encore disponible,
- 30 places assises,
- un ordinateur acessible au public pour la consultation du catalogue,
- des animations : un club de lecture pour les adultes, un jeudi par mois et l'heure du conte les mercredis et samedis pour les enfants.

* Médiathèque Avenir
- Superficie: 300m2
- Collections : 14,439 livres, 709 CD
- Rez de chaussée: un espace jeunesse avec un coin adolescents et un espace adulte
- Animation: des séances de contes sont organisées une fois par mois.
- La médiathèque reçoit aussi un illustrateur.
- Deux visites de classes sont organisées le mardi après-midi .
- La visite des maternelles se tient le vendredi matin, le mercredi matin pour les centres de loisirs.


Importantly, too, the links listed in the website's left column lead to valuable and very interesting digital library resources:


-- and at this last, one can find the following, at URL,

Well, I can think of no better way of doing a "digital library" study of modern French culture in the Digital Age -- of its similarities to, and significant differences with, US and other cultures -- no the entire globe does not "use English"... -- than by examining such a sitothèque, providing as it does excellent evidence of what is on the minds of folks in France -- so,

-- and, among the many very interesting links provided, using the above list, one finds here the following --

!... What must it be like, to be a young librarian in suburban France, now, having to cope with not only the considerable challenges of the present, but also the looming presences of a very long and sometimes very difficult past? Drancy was the point of departure to the death camps, for the Jewish population of Paris during the second World War: a major railhead, with large buildings in which to hold large populations pending "shipment" -- the "cattle-cars"... terrifying, soul-destroying...

I'm not sure how I'd do it, myself -- how anyone would, anywhere else -- that is the point made eloquently by Hannah Arendt, now so long ago, about the "banalization" of all this. So the French, bravely or so I personally believe, confront it well, now, after that long period of postwar denial: as Tony Judt puts the old problem into its new context, in a thoughtful piece in the February 14 New York Review of Books,

-- but, he continues, addressing specifically our modern "Axis of Evil" fears --

So perhaps nous autres now worried over "Axis of Evil" and "Terrorism" and so on can learn once more from the French: that it's neither denial nor merchandising -- instead of either, how to recognize evil so as to deal with it effectively, as it does and forever will come back to haunt us again, from time to time.

Here a small French library in a Paris suburb perhaps shows the rest of us, then: neither denial nor obsession but something in-between, something moderate but still effective -- always to remember and deal with it, effectively, every time it comes up, but never allow it, or allow others to use it, to run our lives.


And a more general Note:

The banlieue is where the action is, these days, in Paris. Somewhat, at least...

It is where most of the Parisian French themselves are: where they live, and increasingly where they work, as in all of our largest "global" cities -- Paris' "urban region" now containing over 12 millon people -- also where they attend school, do their shopping, read their journaux, form their ideas, live, love, die.

In modern gigantesque Paris, as in Greater San Jose (aka The San Francisco Bay Area, current population 7+ million), and in Boshington (55m), Greater London (7m), the Randstad (10m), Tokyo Region (43m), Greater Shanghai (well over 20m already and growing fast...), it's all about the 'burbs, too -- as it has been famously in the Southern California Sprawl for some time.

Just look at the above places using Google Earth, now, to believe this: staggering immensities -- satellite imagery tells the story best -- urban growth and sprawl unimagineable a generation ago...

So the 19th century image of the urbane man-about-town -- acquainted with all there was to know of Le Tout Paris, content to flâner sur les grands boulevards, and bavarder dans les cafés, and frequent a weekend soirée or two in the center-city salons and parcs, really "knowing" Paris -- that wasn't true even then.

Paris life left Paris for Drancy, and for L'Haÿ-les-Roses, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Garges-les-Gonesse, Neuilly-sur-Marne, Palaiseau, long ago. The French part of it did, anyway... What remains at the Paris city-center has less to do with France, nowadays, than it does with Boshington and those other gigantesque global cities, or at least with their city centers.

So to understand France, in the Paris region, one must look to Drancy: 65,000 people -- 75% born in France, 25% born somewhere else -- long ago the manor estate of the Roman Derencius, and before him of another named Terentius -- a place of terrifying WWII memories, at times still emerging from that -- of earlier more glorious memories, too, of the earliest years of modern aviation -- quasi-industrial now, out near the old Le Bourget airport, small houses, big shopping centers, pretty parks -- and trying its best to defy the "France Qui Tombe" and "Nouveau monde, Vieille France" nightmares of the déclinists, working hard at becoming modern while remaining relentlessly French.

How to accomplish that last, achieve that balance? How do the Parisian French, at any rate, accomplish it? France is a land of ideas, particularly in its Parisian part: one can hardly do better than begin with a look at its local libraries.


Jack, kessler@well.com

Sent from my iPhone -- The Future will be Handheld






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Last update: March 19, 2008