The Manuel pratique du bibliothécaire (Practical handbook for librarians), edited by Léo Crozet and published in 1932, was the first in a series of professional training manuals for librarians. Written as the Association des bibliothécaires français (ABF) was preparing the Algiers congress of 1931, the handbook played a role in a campaign aimed at persuading high-ranking political authorities of the need to modernise premises and librarianship practices that were hopelessly outdated. How best to overhaul working practices totally given over to cataloguing, labelling, and shelving collections? How best to take account of readers’ needs and give them a genuine place in the library? How should money be spent to acquire works rather than just recording and cataloguing existing holdings received from donations and deposits? The handbook was intended as a guide for professionals setting out to introduce modern working practices in their libraries. What remains of its influence today?