Montreal’s Grande Bibliothque opens its doors to the public on April 30 and May 1

The Bibliothque nationale du Qubec (BNQ) officially announces that the Grande Bibliothque will open to the general public on Saturday, April 30, 2005. Between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors are expected in the course of the opening weekend, which will give everyone an opportunity to make the rounds of the premises and discover the library’s resources.

The hours for the open house are from 10:00am to 10:00pm on Saturday, April 30, and from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday, May 1. The library will be closed on Monday, May 2. It is important to note that lending and consultation of books and other documents will not begin until Tuesday, May 3.

Starting on May 3, the Grande Bibliothque will be open Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00am to 10:00pm, and weekends, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The library will be closed Mondays, except for the news and new releases section located on the ground floor of the building, which will be open seven days a week until midnight.

The Grande Bibliothque will offer Quebecers unprecedented access, on site, over the Internet and by interlibrary loan, to their heritage and to contemporary culture from here and elsewhere. More than 4 million documents, including 1.2 million books, will be openly accessible in the new building. There are two main collections: the first, structured into thematic sections, will be largely available for loan; the second, the Qubec heritage collection will be for in-library consultation only.

The building, with a floor area of 33,000 square metres, will also house specialized services for a number of clienteles, notably children, business people, newcomers to Quebec, members of cultural communities and persons with visual or other impairments. The Grande Bibliothque will thus integrate major North American and European trends, acting as both a large centre for information services and a place of culture (exhibitions, activities, an auditorium, conference rooms, etc.).

The design and construction of the building was entrusted to the Patkau/Croft Pelletier/Menks Shooner Dagenais consortium of associated architects. The cost of the project, which was in line with all authorized amounts, totaled $141.6 million ($97.6 million for construction and facilities; $44 million for computer architecture, new acquisitions of documents and document processing). The construction work, from the demolition of the old Palais du commerce on July 2001 to the handing over of the keys to the building last December, took a little over three years.

More information on the new building can be found at