The Sélestat humanist library – an unusual remit

The humanist library in Sélestat echoes the history of humanism in Alsace. The collection started in the medieval period: one of its most striking holdings is the personal library of the sixteenth-century scholar Beatus Rhenanus. The library was a popular tourist destination in the nineteenth century. The transfer of the reading development remit and the archives to an inter-community structure places the heritage library in the unusual institutional and political position of a library-museum whose remit, while not yet fully outlined, will certainly include conserving and promoting its valuable holdings and developing a programme of cultural mediation and outreach.