History of the Paris Library

 

History

Founded in Hanoi in 1903, the EFEO (French School of Asian Studies) library bears witness to the manner in which the organisation's centres of interest have evolved over time. During the Indochinese period (1900-1957), the School's mission was to collect all printed books and manuscripts relating to French Indochina and to acquire all important publications on East Asia. The library added to its collections by means of regular purchases, gifts and exchanges, but it also acted as a depositary for books it printed itself. In 1944, the EFEO's Hanoi library contained approximately 80,000 volumes (including manuscripts), half of which were in European languages. At the end of the colonial period, agreements concerning the way in which the EFEO's collections should be shared between France and the three new nations of the former Indochina stipulated that works in European languages should be kept by the School, while works in local languages should go to the new countries. The most important local language manuscripts were then microfilmed. Later, several thousand books, most of them on Southeast Asia, were sent to France to form the core of the School's Parisian library, opened in 1968 at the same time as the Instituts d'Extrême-Orient, which later became the Maison de l'Asie.

Today, the EFEO library contains approximately 100,000 monographs and over 1,700 periodicals (700 of them current). Its collections also include several thousand rubbings and photographs. The library has evolved to keep abreast of the development of new fields of research which now cover a large part of Asia. Historical collections covering Japan and China, and South Asia have been added to those on Southeast Asia. While policy concerning the accumulation and study of documents has remained faithful to the School's core disciplines (archaeology, epigraphy, ethnology, and religions), emerging fields have not been neglected, as is witnessed by joint research programmes run with institutions possessing similar collections (the Collège de France, the Bibliothèque des langues orientales). The exchange of publications with Asian, European, and American universities and research centres constitutes an important part of the acquisitions process.

EFEO libraries outside Paris

EFEO's Paris facility is at the heart of a network of libraries maintained in a number of the School's Asian centres. At present, the centres in Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kyoto, Pondicherry, Siem Reap and Vientiane possess significant libraries created for and by researchers working on site. The holdings of these libraries feature in the University Documentation System (SUDOC) and the BULAC catalogue. The collections generally respect the specific research interests of the Centre. Buddhism is well represented in the collections at Chiang Mai and Kyoto. Pondicherry possesses major collections in the fields of Sanskrit and Tamil philology, and South Indian archaeology and epigraphy. Siem Reap plays a central role in the activities of the Angkor Conservation Office, while Hanoi has recently made substantial additions to its collections on ethnology and the peoples of the Indochinese peninsular. Jakarta focuses on the social and religious evolutions of the region. The EFEO's Vientiane Centre boasts the only research library in Laos.

 

EFEO News
Paris EFEO/ASIES Seminar
Paris, France, 24 February 2020
Alain Arrault (EFEO) speaks on: "Écrire l'histoire en Chine" [Writing History in China] as part of the PSL-EHESS-EPHE-EFEO Master in Asian Studies, the general theme of which is Telling and writing history.

From 10:30 to 12:00, opened to all
Maison de l'Asie, 22, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, Grand salon, 1st floor
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Exhibition ''Kalash, the last animists of the Hindu Kush''
Paris, France, 21 February 2020
A new photographic exhibition "Kalash, les derniers animistes de l’Hindu Kush" [Kalash, the last animists of the Hindu Kush] by the photographer Xavier Nory is set up from 10 February to the end of May 2020.

Photographs by Xavier Nory, report made in the village of Krakal, Bumburet valley (Pakistan) in January 1986 and from September 1987 to January 1988 and from May to September 1988.

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New publication

Arts Asiatiques 74 (2019)

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Preserving and enhancing Laos heritage: signing of a new project in Champassak and Savannakhet
Vientiane, Laos, 10 February 2020
On February 10, 2020, at the French Embassy in Vientiane, the Director of the EFEO signed an agreement with the French Development Agency for a project to preserve and develop heritage in the provinces of Champassak and Savannahket, in the presence of the Lao Vice-Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism. READ MORE
Director's visit to the Chiang Mai Centre
Chiang Mai, Thailand, 06 February 2020
Le directeur de l’EFEO a signé le 6 février 2020 le renouvellement du MOU avec la Chiang Mai University, avec son président, en présence d’Yves Goudineau, responsable du Centre EFEO de Chiang Mai.