Laurence Engel announces that she will not be reappointed as head of the National Library of France

President of the National Library of France (BNF) since 2016, Laurence Engel announced on Friday March 16 in an email to her teams that she would leave the institution on April 6 after the non-renewal of her mandate by the Elysée

Laurence Engel announces that she will not be reappointed as head of the National Library of France

President of the National Library of France (BNF) since 2016, Laurence Engel announced on Friday March 16 in an email to her teams that she would leave the institution on April 6 after the non-renewal of her mandate by the Elysée.

“The President of the Republic, through the Minister of Culture, informed me on March 4 that he wanted to give the BNF a new president,” Ms. Engel said in a consulted email. Friday evening by Agence France-Presse (AFP) and authenticated by a BNF official.

Through this change, the executive wishes to set “a new course in a new budgetary situation”, specified Laurence Engel. Contacted by AFP, the ministry did not comment and the Elysée did not respond immediately. The name of his or her successor has also not been revealed.

A departure “with regret”

The first woman at the head of the largest cultural establishment in France, Ms. Engel said she was leaving “with regret.” She was appointed to this position in April 2016, under the presidency of François Hollande. In eight years, she has successfully completed numerous projects, including the renovation of the historic site of the National Library of France, rue de Richelieu, inaugurated in 2022 after twelve years of work.

It is on this site that she opened the majestic Oval Room to the public free of charge, a reading room previously reserved for researchers, and installed a museum. “So that the BNF assumes its mission of welcoming all audiences as widely as possible,” recalled Ms. Engel in her email. It has also started work on a new site in Amiens, intended to house the BNF's newspaper collections and which is due to open at the end of 2029.

Former chief of staff of the former Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti, Ms. Engel was also a book mediator and head of cultural affairs for the City of Paris. This former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the National School of Administration, senior advisor to the Court of Auditors, was also president of the board of directors of the National Institute of Art History and president of the AFP financial commission.