Libraries: Where the world’s memory is stored - BBC - Culture.
Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (Sainte-Geneviève Library), Paris, France.
Although we know it is probably older, documentary information about this library first appears in 1148. It was founded as a monastic library, survived the calamitous years of the Revolution intact (although the abbey it was a part of was dissolved and turned into a school), and now serves as the Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne university library. The library’s holdings expanded with the dissolution of other religious institutions and from confiscation of aristocratic collections.
The new abbey church, built in the 18th Century, has been turned into the famous Panthéon, the national hall of fame. The current library building was created by the architect Henri Labrouste and opened in 1851. The majestic reading room is like an Industrial Age cathedral; the iron-frame construction brings to mind the other great public cathedrals of the period, the railway stations. In a modern arrangement, desks for readers are at centre stage, with the book stacks standing in graceful attendance. Gas lighting was employed in a monumental hall for the first time.http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180704-libraries-where-the-worlds-memory-is-stored