Yvonne Oddon Research Library

One of the MNHN’s specialised research libraries, the Musée de l’Homme library is home to a major collection of works on biological anthropology, human ecology and ethnobiology as well as documentation on prehistory, a field it represents as a member of the French CADIST* specialty library network. In all, 30,000 books, 750 journals of which 130 existing – access to 11,000 digital journals and 150 databases – open access to 10,000 volumes.


The library is open to researchers, students, collection managers and exhibition designers. It also welcomes anyone who can demonstrate a particular interest for the areas covered.

The 200m2 reading room, located on level 4, has seating for 28 and four computer stations. The mezzanine and its storerooms on level 3 provide 465m2 or over one linear kilometre in storage.

*Libraries belonging to the CADIST network (centre for acquisition and diffusion of scientific and technical information) are national reference institutions in France. As such they also belong to the national network SUDOC (university documentation system) with its combined catalogue of libraries from institutions of higher education.

The library is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Tél. +33 (0)1 44 05 73 81

Key figures


  • 30,000 books, 800 journals and 30,000 off-prints
  • Free access to 10,000 books and the most recent editions of roughly 100 journals
  • Remote access to 12,000 digitalized documents


  • Seating for 28
  • 4 computer stations
  • Loan of documents and loan between libraries for MNHN personnel and students.
  • Shuttle service for documents from the MNHN’s central library
  • Free (mandatory) registration

Catalogue and website:

Yvonne Oddon (1902-1982)

Born in 1902 at Gap, Yvonne Oddon was a leading figure in the transformation of French libraries, as well as a French Resistance fighter. Following studies at the American School on the rue de l’Elysée, a school for library studies created after World War I in Paris, she was hired as the librarian for the Trocadero Ethnography Museum in 1929. Thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, she left for the United States in 1934 to enrich her know-how, returning to Paris the following year. In 1937, the Ethnography Museum became the Musée de l’Homme and moved into its new location. Yvonne Oddon redesigned the library of the new museum, imposing American standards for the architecture of the library (public access and classification systems). It proved to be a major turning point in the management of research libraries.

In 1940, she helped form the Musée de l’Homme network of the French Resistance. She was arrested in 1942 deported to Germany. She was liberated in 1945, but weakened by her experience, she didn’t return to her position until April 1946. Her name remains attached to Bach’s 1930 Guide du bibliothécaire (librarians guide), to which she actively contributed. Yvonne Oddon died in 1982.

Learn more about Yvonne Oddon