Project information

Renovation of La Médiathèque, the French library

Until 2016, the Institut francais du Royaume-Uni is working on a major renovation project of the multimedia library. The aim is to enhance the various areas and specialised collections, upgrade the equipment and put in place a library tailored to the needs of current and future users.


Charity information: The Friends of The French Institute

The Friends of The French Institute logo
  • Need


    In the digital age and with the rise of social media, La Médiathèque must transform to adapt to more technologically savvy and demanding audiences. The Institut francais du Royaume-Uni must also protect its Art Deco heritage and renovate its listed grade II reading room.

    We are extremely close to the £1.7M target.


    The renovation is happening between 2014 and 2016. 3 steps are scheduled:
    1- Renovating the Art Deco Reading Room, a jewel of cultural heritage that has been restored and embellished in 2014.
    2- Turning the Children’s Library into an innovative centre for language and educational resources designed for 0-12 y.o. and families. It became the Bibliothèque Quentin Blake in 2015.
    3- Creating a hub for study and discovery with technological equipment. This last step is scheduled for Summer 2016.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    The renovation of the Art Deco reading room


    » Having gathered French-speakers, Francophiles and heritage lovers around the first step of the project, we feel tremendously thankful.

    > restoration
    > installation of furniture in line with a 'comfortable reading-room' style
    > audiovisual equipment
    Objective: double the amount of visitors and events per year

    Aim 2

    The enlargement and modernisation of the children's library


    » The Bibliothèque Quentin Blake came alive in Summer 2015, thanks to the help of kind donors with a shared interest in educative purposes.

    > adaptation of the library to the needs of families & school groups
    > implementation of the latest learning technologies
    Objective: triple the number of Children's Memberships

    Aim 3

    The creation of a hub for study and discovery


    » We aim at involving donors keen to encourage creation and discovery of French films and music online through new technological equipment.

    > creation of a hub dedicated to cinema, music and French learning
    > development of a study area for work and research
    Objective: double the number of French learning resources

  • Impact


    The preservation of this unique architectural heritage combined with the development of innovative resources will meet the new needs and practices of the public. This ambition is at the heart of our project.
    We aim to create a new multi-media library, fully adapted to spread the love of French language & culture amongst future generations.


    We will achieve this project step by step by 2016, securing funding before launching each phase of the works.


    Several events are organised to inform donors of the progress of the project and visits of the site will be offered to see first-hand the different phases of renovation work.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £1,700,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £480,000 Listed Reading Room Renew and reinstate the original Art Deco features; set up discrete audiovisual facilities - DONE
      £660,000 Children's Library Create a new floor for pre-teenagers; comply with the building standards of accessibility
      £560,000 Hub for Learning & Discovery Upgrade and optimize safety, accessiblity and space; lay out furniture and specialised equipment

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Individual donors through the Trust 'Friends of the French Institute' £1,700,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Institut francais du Royaume-Uni
    17 Queensberry Place
    London SW7 2DT


    In 2013, 120,000 users and 3,000 members enjoyed their visit at La Médiathèque, 70% of them being non-French. Hopefully, in a near future, many more will benefit from its collections and service.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Friends of the French Institute Trust supports the Institut francais by financing various cultural activities. It was created in 1998 in order to help the Institut raise funds and allow it to carry out its mission: to promote French culture in the United Kingdom, encourage cultural exchanges, and offer a large programme of cultural and educational activities both for children and adults.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    HE Sylvie Bermann

    French Ambassador to the United Kingdom

    Mr Francois Croquette

    Cultural Counsellor and Director of the Institut francais du Royaume-Uni

    Mr Marc Mourre

    Chairman of the Trust 'The Friends of the French Institute'

    Ms Mailis Renouard

    Head of Development at the Institut francais du Royaume-Uni