Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris

The American Library in Paris


With its long and deeply involved history in France, The American Library in Paris has served as a cultural and artistic icon since the 1920s. Today, it is Europe’s largest English-language lending library, and hosts countless programs, events, and speakers, intent on fostering a passion for reading and an appreciation for history to all who enter the Library’s walls.

An International Beacon of Light

Despite changing locations several times, The American Library in Paris has remained a consistent presence on the international stage. In the decades since its founding, The American Library in Paris has consistently embodied its motto: Atrum post bellum, ex libris lux, or: “After the darkness of war, the light of books.” The Library was originally established in 1920, following World War I, to collect wartime books sent to American soldiers and allies who fought during the war. Then, during World War II, the Library fought to remain uncensored and even established an underground lending service to Jews whose access to libraries was revoked under the Nazi regime. Since then, the Library has remained a hopeful symbol of American and French relations, as well as a reminder of the past century’s deeply complicated history.

The Best and Brightest of Minds

The American Library in Paris has been, and continues to be, a welcoming site for many of the most influential writers in the English literary canon. A few of these past high-profile members have included writers Mary McCarthy, Samuel Beckett, and Richard Wright – American authors who, at one point, moved to France. Today, the Library continues to attract not only established individuals, but also members of a new generation of up-and-coming readers and writers. These aspiring authors, or literary connoisseurs, come to the Library to find companionship in monthly book groups, inspiration in speeches given by famous literary figures, and recognition through initiatives such as the Young Authors Fiction Festival. Through this variety of programs, the Library keeps the influential spirit of the written word alive for generations to come.

GRoW Support

For many years, we have been heavily supportive of the American Library in Paris. Since 2008, we have supported the Library’s Evenings with an Author program, which has been a central tradition of the Library since the 1930’s.  It is through this program that the Library brings well-established speakers from all different backgrounds and relationships with literature to address audiences. Over the years, we have supported the continued existence and technological developments of this longstanding tradition, as well as various other programs intended to sustain and expand the Library’s role as a vibrant cultural link between the United States and Europe.

To learn more, visit The American Library in Paris.


Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris

Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris

Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris

Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris

Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris

Photo courtesy of The American Library in Paris


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