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> RESOURCES > Libraries

Libraries and Documentary Resources

ENS Libraries website

Libraries: Documentary laboratories

Les bibliothèquesThe primary mission of the ENS libraries is to accompany students through the duration of their research-based training at the ENS. This mission is accompanied by a vocation to assist research, at the graduate level and beyond, with information culled from high-level, general collections that include several exceptional, specialized archives in mathematics, classical sciences, and German philosophy.
For mathematicians as for researchers in the humanities and social sciences, the ENS libraries amount to genuine "laboratories," where the open-stack shelves allow direct access to millions of documentary resources.

Cross-Disciplinary Research and Scientific Innovation

Direct access to library shelves has been a major asset of the ENS libraries since the 19th century; and, even today, the library system is still one of the only open-stack collections in France. Thanks to these freely accessible collections, readers with budding research themes and ideas can freely explore subjects beyond their disciplinary boundaries. The Library shelves are organized on the basis of thematic classification that allows readers to orient themselves in the collections and to discover new titles. Beyond its intellectual fecundity, direct access to primary sources and other resources saves researchers valuable time.


Through their involvement in several partner networks - National Network of Mathematics Libraries, FRANTIQ (Classic Studies Federation and Resources), Documentary Group of the Quartier Latin, Paris-Universitas - the ENS libraries are open to a number of external graduate students and researchers. Since the beginning of the 2008 academic year, the ENS has partnered the new CADIST "Classical Studies Program" to benefit from its holdings on Epigraphy, which is managed by the inter-university library of the Sorbonne.

ENS Documentary Resources:

  • 800,000 documents in all disciplines (sciences, humanities and social sciences) and 2,800 current periodicals;
  • continually expanding electronic resources: 25 bibliographic databases and several thousand periodicals, dictionaries and e-books;
  • 9,000 sq meters of public space and services:
    in other words, one of the largest, directly-accessible and multidisciplinary collections at the national research level;
  • heritage collections and prestigious legacies (Cuvier, Simiand, Bouglé, Canguilhem holdings, etc.), and archival collections (Kastler, Dorival, etc.), for 20th century intellectual history;
  • international influence: 70% of titles are foreign; publication exchange networks with more than 400 international academic partners in the humanities and mathematics.

Documentary Network

La bibliothèque

Since its inauguration in 1847 in the presence of Victor Hugo, the ENS library has expanded considerably. Since the end of the 19th century, the collections have spread out through the three ENS campuses. A shared network catalogue virtually recreates the original unity of the collection. This virtual catalogue also allows for dialogue with other networks.

The Catalogue

The online Catalogue is accessible at

  • currently contains listings of 9 of the 12 ENS libraries collections;
  • since 2006, it is part of the University Documentary System (SUDOC);
  • continues to be enriched by digitilization of paper catalogues, with 3 library collections still to be integrated (Biology, Chemistry, TAO).

Current project :

  • implementation of distance access to electronic resources and an electronic resource management system with the help of the City of Paris.

ENS Libraries

General Libraries:

Departmental Libraries :

Mixed Unit Libraries :


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