Libraries and the Great War

The First World War caused incalculable damage to France's cultural heritage, including its libraries. Their staff were called up to fight, collections were broken up as dedicated librarians struggled to save what works as they could, and countless works were looted or simply destroyed. The war also had an impact on reading practices and the understanding librarians had of them. Peacetime, as Eugène Morel gladly noted, offered the opportunity not only for reconstruction, but also for an indispensable modernisation of professional practice.