Under the Act respecting Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, publishers, as a rule, must deposit, free of charge, copies (usually two) of all works published in Québec within seven days of their publication. This requirement is called legal deposit. Publishers who contravene the requirements of this Act with respect to legal deposit are committing an offence and are liable to a fine.
Legal deposit enables Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) to collect, preserve and promote Québec's published heritage materials in its entirety. As a result, BAnQ is the keeper of an exhaustive memory of Québec, since everything published on its territory must be entrusted to the institution.
The two deposited copies serve different purposes: the first copy is stored in ideal preservation conditions; the second is made available to the public for on-site reference use at the Grande Bibliothèque or at BAnQ Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, depending on the type of document.
Once a publication is deposited, a bibliographic description of it is prepared and included in the Iris catalogue which lists all the published or digital works that are part of BAnQ's collections. The description is also added to the Bibliographie du Québec (in French only), a monthly publication available free of charge on BAnQ's Web portal. It records all the works deposited and is used by librarians and staff members of documentation centres and bookstores.
BAnQ publishes a number of other bibliographies, inventories and catalogues listing the deposited materials. The institution also highlights its collections through exhibitions and the digitization of certain works.
Lastly, a copy of each deposited publication is retained in BAnQ's holdings and preserved for future generations.
Publishers must write the following inscription on materials deposited with BAnQ: Legal deposit - Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and the year of publication.
Example: Legal deposit - Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 2014.