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Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice Back in the Fold of BAnQ

The Incubator: A New Model of Civic Space in the Heart of Montréal

Montréal, January 31, 2016 – Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is proud to have been tasked by the Québec Ministry of Culture and Communications and the City of Montréal with reinventing the Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice. BAnQ will establish its Incubator there, a cornerstone project with two major yet complementary components: a library for teenagers and an innovation and creation hub focused on new technologies.

A fantastic acknowledgement of BAnQ’s history, this new undertaking was unveiled as the institution celebrated the merger of the Archives nationales and the Bibliothèque nationale, on this same date, resulting in BAnQ’s inception.

“It is with great pride that BAnQ accepts this mission to give a new vocation to the Saint-Sulpice library, a highly significant building in the history of this institution, and more generally for the cultural and intellectual history of Québec,” declared Christiane Barbe, BAnQ Chair and CEO.  “I am particularly delighted that the joint action of the Québec Ministry of Culture and Communications and the City of Montréal will enable us to undertake a project that will counter the school dropout phenomenon, promote the integration of young new arrivals through socialization and inclusion, and reduce the digital divide associated with socioeconomic or generational factors. ” 

The Incubator: A library for teens and a fablab

In an architectural and technological context that combines the old and the new, BAnQ will establish a library for teens and a fablab under the same roof. This social, artistic and technological innovation space will give teenagers pride of place while also welcoming citizens of all ages and from all walks of life.

A group of men and women.

From left: Carlos Leitão, Minister of Finance; David Birnbaum, MNA for D'Arcy-McGee; Hélène David, Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister Responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language; Christiane Barbe, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec; Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal; Manon Gauthier, Responsible for Culture, Heritage, and Design, the Space for Life, and the Status of Women, City of Montréal; and Richard Bergeron, City Councillor and Member of the Executive Committee, City of Montréal. 

The teen library will offer young people varied collections of fiction, music, comics, video games, board games, and much more. It will also offer a programme of activities focused on their interests.  It will set out to meet their needs through a series of free-flowing open zones where they will get to try out new technologies, using leading-edge equipment to undertake their own projects.

The fablab, for its part, will be a start-up type community work and creation place intended for a diversified public: teenagers, as well as adults, organizations, start-up businesses and people of all kinds, from the simply curious to those with an innovative streak. It will provide access to hard-to-come-by leading-edge technologies and will allow entrepreneurs and innovators to manufacture low-cost prototypes. In a collaborative atmosphere, it will foster intergenerational mentoring and promote the sharing of knowledge through the use of digital media and new technologies. It will also make an exceptional contribution to improving digital literacy,

By giving teenagers a library that is designed for them, by making leading-edge technologies available to both teens and a diversified public, and by creating synergy between these various publics, the Incubator will carve its niche within the heart of the community and will drive the inclusive role of the public library.

It will make a name as a new model of civic space intended to promote the autonomy of all the participants by giving them the means they need to acquire and update, throughout their lives, essential digital skills for the 21st century society. The wealth and diversity of the technologies and activities offered will, in this way, become a vector that will initiate a unique social, cultural and scientific dialogue that will directly reinforce the potential of new generations of citizens.

In addition to restoring to its rightful status a building that has played an important role in the history of Montréal, the Incubator project will also play an essential role in driving sustainable urban development.


Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice

Inaugurated in 1915, the Saint-Sulpice library was one of the first public French-language libraries in Montréal. Its collections made up the holdings of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, which was founded in 1967 and later grew into BAnQ. The building is known for its Beaux-Arts architecture and houses, among other things, a significant decorative piece, above the main entrance, which asserts its resolute focus on education and the sharing of knowledge: a sculpted stone cartouche, displaying a bas-relief of an open book.

About BAnQ

As the largest cultural institution in Québec in terms of its attendance and diversified missions and an essential pillar of the knowledge society, the mandate of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is to offer democratic access to culture and knowledge. To this end, it brings together, preserves and promotes Québec's and Québec-related heritage materials, and also provides the services of a major public library. BAnQ carries out its mandate in 12 facilities which are open to the public: the Grande Bibliothèque, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal and BAnQ Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie in Montréal; BAnQ Gaspé, BAnQ Gatineau, BAnQ Québec, BAnQ Rimouski, BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, BAnQ Saguenay, BAnQ Sept-Îles, BAnQ Sherbrooke and BAnQ Trois-Rivières.