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The Library of the National Circus School is home to one of the most important circus arts collections in North America. A centre for specialized materials and research, the Library houses and curates the exceptional Jacob William Collection. These resources make it possible for industry professionals, students and educators, researchers and anyone who loves the circus to conduct in-depth research in the full spectrum of circus arts.
The Library's collections encompass more than 10,000 items in French, English and other languages. Among the materials can be found books, rare and antique books, children's books, audio-visual material, periodicals, performance and festival programs, information on artists and companies, posters, post cards, photographs and soundtracks.
These collections trace the history of the circus in Quebec and around the world, from inception to the present day. Materials on related arts and sciences such as theatre, dance visual arts, scenography, circus architecture, literature, anatomy and physiology form an integral part of the collection.
A mission to create
The Library of the National Circus School has a primary objective to acquire, preserve, organize and make available information on the circus arts throughout time and to develop an academic collection that will both support and contribute to the educational mission of the National Circus School. Secondarily, the Library seeks to respond to the research needs of the circus arts community as a whole.
An ongoing history ...
The National Circus School moved to the Cité des arts du cirque in 2003. This, along with the construction of Tohu, a specialized performance space, helped attract the prestigious collection of circus arts historian Pascal Jacob and collector Christian William to Montreal. The collectors' rich and varied array of materials, which includes more than 15,000 prints, posters, paintings, sculptures, drawings, toys and costumes, were first bequeathed to Tohu. A selection of more than 100 of these priceless items is permanently on view along the hallways. In 2004, with new facilities and the legacy of the Jacob-William Collection, the National Circus School announced the creation of a library dedicated to the circus arts. The Jacob-William Collection, composed of Pascal Jacob's monographs and other materials, and the materials of Christian William, came to enrich the collection already extant at the School. The result is a collection that truly represents the diversity of circus arts everywhere. In years to come the Library aims to expand the services it provides members by elaborating a thesaurus specific to circus arts and completely digitizing the collection, which will insure that materials are not only preserved but disseminated to enrich and enhance other collections.