kid playing in library

City of Carpentras

City of Carpentras: Discover how bibliotheca’s solutions have transformed the Inguimbertine museum library

The Inguimbertine library-museum was built in the city of Carpentras in 1745 by Bishop Inguimbert, the Bishop of Carpentras. The building has held a public library and museum collection since 1886. The library has been one of the 54 municipal libraries ranked as the most important in France since 1897. In 2002, the museum collection was named “Museums of France” under the Museums Act. The Inguimbertine hosts 250,000 volumes, including 100,000 historic items, 3,000 manuscripts, 4,000 periodicals, 1,000 paintings, 300 sculptures, and 1,500 other works of art.

Today, as part of the Carpentras 2020 project, the Inguimbertine Library and museum has been transferred to the historic Hotel-Dieu. The Hôtel-Dieu, established as a hospital for the poor, was completed in 1762, under Monseigneur d’Inguimbert. Classified as a historic monument in 1862, it continued to operate as a hospital until 2001.

After several years of preparation and more than two years of construction, the library of Inguimbertine at the Hotel-Dieu opened its doors on November 4th. We spoke with Jean-Philippe Marin, the manager of the RFID project.

What makes the Inguimbertine Library unique?

Inguimbertine is the only library-museum in France. In other French communities, libraries and museums operate in separate facilities, but in Carpentras, these collections are combined and housed in the Hotel Dieu, a historical monument. The Hotel Dieu is the former hospital of Carpentras, which was founded by Monseigneur d’Inguimbert in the 18th century. The library collection was transferred to the Hotel Dieu in November of 2017, and today 53,000 library items and hundreds of works of art rub shoulders.


Tell us about your relationship with bibliotheca

bibliotheca became the provider of the City of Carpentras and partnered with us since the beginning of the project. We partnered with bibliotheca again when we were ready to install our RFID system. They provided security gates, selfChecks, and RFID workstations.  

Why did you choose RFID technology?

Transitioning to RFID made it possible to simultaneously empower readers to check out and return items on their own and simplify the management of our collection. This new technology is consistent with our vision of a modern library – it promotes cultural sharing by simplifying the process for readers.

How did you decide where to locate the new technology?

We have chosen to distribute the selfChecks and other systems throughout the library in order to smooth the flow of traffic within the building. This led us to think about the different options for the self-service solutions and the best ways to incorporate them into the architectural project. For example, we had to decide where to best locate the smartShelf ™ within the building.

Where did you decide to locate the smartShelf ™?

We installed smartShelf near the library entrance. We decided on that location based on the constraints imposed by the presence of showcases in the museum layout as well as the flow of traffic, security, and the location of the other self-service devices.

library users using computers

Did you consider other solutions for returns?

Originally, we considered using a patron book-drop with sorter, but the building is a listed historical monument, and there was no space to accommodate an automated materials handling solution.

How have users responded to the smartShelf?

Users have quickly adapted to smartShelf and find the return process simply and easy to use. All returns are made via smartShelf except for very large works.

What is your overall impression on the automation of transactions?

Today almost all of our borrowing and returning is handled via self-service. We would not have been about to handle the amount of circulation we’ve experienced since opening without these new tools. The implementation of RFID has allowed readers to do their own checking out and returning which frees up library staff for other tasks.

What do users think?

Here is a comment from one of our users on the Inguimbertine Facebook page: “The library is absolutely beautiful, the means to borrow and return books independently is very practical and efficient, and the staff welcoming and adorable.”

 And your plans for the future?

There are two other projects underway to complete the library. First, we will create a second library entrance soon and second, we are increasing our digital services, in part by providing tablets for patrons to borrow. Lastly, as daily visitor totals increase, we are undertaking a project that will better inform visitors of real-time attendance at the library-museum, so they can best plan their visits.

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