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Lending service for exhibitions

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) brings together unique and precious heritage materials, made up of the heritage collections and the circulating universal collection, as well as archival collections.

In keeping with its mission to further the outreach of Québec's published and archival heritage materials in order to promote the development and optimal use of its collections, BAnQ allows materials to be loaned for exhibitions. BAnQ, which is also responsible for preserving Québec's heritage materials, requires those borrowing materials to respect the rules for handling such materials and to ensure display and safety conditions that will guarantee the preservation of the materials loaned.

Information about the lending service for exhibitions


Request to borrow materials for exhibitions

Museum representatives are invited to submit their requests to borrow materials using the remote reference service's online form. They must enter their name, the name of the institution that employs them, and the title and call number of the items concerned by the request in the relevant text fields.

A BAnQ representative will contact the individual designated to confirm receipt of the request and start the process that will lead to the signing of an agreement concerning the loan of works or materials for exhibitions.

After evaluating the request and the condition of each item, BAnQ reserves the right to refuse the loan if displaying the item could endanger it or if the item is still available on the market in a commercial edition.

Although there is no charge for loaning materials, certain fees do apply, such as fees for transporting, insuring or reproducing the materials.


TopReproduction service

BAnQ offers a high quality reproduction service. We encourage the institutions borrowing materials to make the most of it, particularly if they cannot satisfy the preservation rules provided below. Requests must be submitted using the online reproduction request form.


TopChoice of materials

Institutions wishing to submit a request to borrow materials are invited to use the tools made available to them to select the items to be displayed or reproduced. The Iris catalogue, Pistard and the digital collections available on BAnQ's portal can be used to identify the works or items included in the institution's collections.

A librarian or archivist can provide help with using the search tools, while ensuring that the request is reasonable.


TopTime required for processing loan requests

From the time that BAnQ has a final list of the items to be loaned, the time required to process loan requests will be as follows:

Number of items to be loaned

Processing time

1 to 5

4 months

6 to 14

8 months

15 to 20 (maximum)

12 months

BAnQ does not guarantee that it will loan all of the items requested if the processing time is shorter.


TopMandatory authorizations

Published heritage

Heritage collection and

Universal collection

When signing the loan agreement, the borrower agrees to respect the copyright legislation and to obtain the various authorizations from the copyright holders, specifically those required to reproduce or display the materials borrowed.

Archival heritage

Archive collections

The applicant shall submit its request for authorization to display the item(s) in writing to BAnQ, which will transmit it to the creator or his/her assign so as to obtain written consent.

BAnQ cannot be held responsible for the time required to obtain this consent.


TopPreservation rules to be respected

BAnQ's materials cannot be displayed for more than 180 days. 

  1. The borrower must provide permanent surveillance and protection systems in the room where the materials will be stored temporarily as well as in the exhibition room. This surveillance must be intended to prevent any risk of breakage, fire, theft and vandalism. The windows in the exhibition room must be locked.

  2. The atmosphere in the exhibition room must be controlled adequately for most of the library materials loaned: the temperature must be between 20°C ± 2°C and the relative humidity must be 50% ± 5%. Any fluctuations must remain within these limits and must be spread over a minimum period of 24 hours. If the atmosphere in the exhibition room does not comply with these rules, the materialsmust be displayed in air-conditioned showcases.

  3. The lighting level for the materials loaned must not exceed 50 lux, for fragile items and colour items, and 150 lux for the other materials. The borrower shall refer to the specific recommendations provided in the written evaluation accompanying the materials. The UV level must not exceed 75 microwatts per lumen. Depending on the situation, filters must be installed on windows or lamps. The materials must not be displayed in front of windows that allow the direct light of the sun in or in display units equipped with lighting systems that give off heat.

  4. All of the exhibit materials used to make the display units, supports and frames must be clean, stable and acid-free. The exhibit materials must be made at least three weeks before the materials are installed so that glue, paint and varnish have had time to dry and no longer give off any harmful products. In the event that this work is delayed or harmful products are given off, the borrower must install a vapor barrier. The display units and stands must be large enough to provide the required support for the materials loaned and to prevent any risk of damage. The loaned materials must by insulated from the bottoms of showcases and from stands by means of an appropriate, quality material (acid-free paper or cardboard or even a Mylar® type polyester film). No intervention that could generate dust or harmful products must be undertaken in the space where the loaned materials are located (temporary storage area or exhibition room).

  5. Before handling any item, the borrower must refer to the specific recommendations provided in the written evaluations accompanying the materials. Clean gloves must be worn by those handling the materials.

  6. Materials, whether they are bound or not, must not be forced when opened. Unless there is a specific recommendation in the corresponding written evaluation of the item, a bound item must not be opened at an angle greater than 150°.

  7. The mountings designed by BAnQ that accompany the loaned materials must not be removed or modified. With the exception of the polyester or polyethylene that serves to hold the pages of the loaned materials in place, no material may be added to the materials (the borrower will make sure that he/she adjusts the tension to prevent any risk of damage). Self-stick notes (ex.: Post-It® notes), adhesive tape, paper clips, staples, clips and elastic bands must not be allowed to come into contact with the materials.

  8. The borrower must not clean, restore, or transform the item borrowed in any manner whatsoever, without written authorization from BAnQ. Any change in the preservation conditions, and any incident or accident that damages a loaned item must be reported within 24 hours to the BAnQ representative at preservation@banq.qc.ca. A written report of the incident must be provided along with the original written evaluation. The borrower must never intervene in any manner whatsoever to repair the damage or the deterioration caused without the written authorization of BAnQ; meanwhile, he/she must take any useful means to preserve the item, such as removing the damaged item from the exhibition.

  9. At the request of the BAnQ representative, and as soon as possible, the borrower must provide a report on the safety, the environment and the facilities of the premises where the materials will be stored or displayed.

  10. When returning the materials, the borrower must use the packaging in which the materials were received, since some were made to measure. Any external protection materials (ex.: plastic films) that have been damaged too much to ensure satisfactory packaging when an item is returned can be replaced by materials of the same nature. The borrower will not allow the use of staples to hold the external protection.


Certain other conditions may apply depending on the type of item borrowed and its physical condition.

For more information about request for borrowing materials for exhibitions, please email preservation@banq.qc.ca