The digital library of the Mont Saint-Michel

An exceptional collection…

The heritage library of Avranches preserves 205 medieval and modern manuscripts, and 1254 printed books coming from the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel in addition to some thirty works listed in various institutions in France and abroad. The preserved documentary collection remains exceptional, despite losses and dispersion.

… for the History of the monastic library

Books play a key role in the religious life of the benedictines, either they be a support for prayers and meditation, or they record the memory of the abbey during its major events as well as its daily aspects. The surviving books of the scriptorium and the abbey's library are thus the essential ressources to understand the history of the monastic community of the Mont, through its liturgical practices and its spiritual, intellectual or material concerns.

… for the History of the public libraries

During the Revolution, the books of religious congregations were nationalised. To ensure that the nation's litterature studies were fully recorded, the confiscated collections were gathered in the « literary trusts » which from 1794, became public libraries to serve as an educational tool for the citizens. The books of Mont Saint-Michel therefore became part of the new history. Their future in Avranches illustrates the history of the municipal libraries in an exemplary manner, since the utopian project which led to their creation till the contemporary policies based on the conservation and enhancement of the written heritage.

… accessible from the digital library of the Mont Saint-Michel

The digital library of the Mont Saint-Michel is part of a research collaboration scheme between the University of Caen Normandie, The National Center for Scientific Research and Avranches for the study and the development of the heritage ressources preserved in this town.

The website (partner of the Equipex Biblissima) allows to consult the descriptive notes of the works, both manuscripts and publications, coming from the Mont Saint-Michel ; it also gives access to the digital fac-similes of manuscripts. Several access points have been put forward to address initial as well as specific research needs. The website will be gradually enhanced by the results of ongoing research.

 

 

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