The acquisition of the library’s book collection began in 1912 with the creation of the Laboratory for the production of colonial period plants..
The old book collection, which was created by Auguste Chevalier, was essentially about tropical and colonial-period agriculture.
The recent book collection is more centred on the history and geography of animal and plants resources, the way human beings use these resources and the know-how that is related to it, the transformation of natural systems by the human Societies, the representations of Nature: traditional agriculture, evolution of landscapes, domestication, cultivated plants, Ethnomedicine…...
The book collection has always been diversified according to the subjects tackled by our researchers and it is for that reason the library specialised on documentation about the relationship between Societies and the natural elements of their environment. However, our aim is to gather up a large and various collection of documents and make it available for researchers working on different specialities such as: Ethnology, Botany, Ecology, Agronomy, Linguistics, Geography, History, etc.
The Documentary Collection
The special feature of this specialised book collection is that it evolves according to our researchers’ main interests and, thereby, reflects the History of Ethnobiology unlike main libraries such as the Bibiothèque du Muséum or the Bibliothèque du Musée de l’Homme that are more encyclopaedic and considered as reference libraries on natural and social sciences..
Many of the documents of this collection are unique in France and even in the world.
The Colonial Journals Collections, which is also part of the Documentary Collection, is a large one: more than 1000 title on the French colonies but also British, Portuguese, and Dutch colonies.
The monographs are approximately 15000. You can also find some 5500 offprints (all in digital format).
The library is also enriched by the Legacy of different professors who have worked at the museum’s laboratory such as: Portères’ document collection, Barrau’s document collection, Gillet’s, and Pujol’s document collection.