The HEC Montréal library has always been an essential part of HEC Montréal's teaching and research mission. Its reputation as a “jewel” stems from the beauty of its spaces, its documentary resources, particularly its numerous databases, and the scope and quality of its services.
The founders of HEC Montréal viewed the library as “a pedagogical instrument” that needed to be developed rapidly from the outset. However, the library was initially hindered by budgetary constraints. Under the leadership of Patrick Allen, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Library from 1956 to 1975, the library took off, in parallel with the phenomenal expansion of HEC Montréal’s programs and activities.
In 1970, the library moved into the new building on Decelles Avenue and continued to thrive, becoming one of the largest management libraries in the world.
Similar to other university libraries, the HEC Montréal library has faced complex challenges linked to the digital revolution. The library has responded by embarking on a process of organizational transformation, updating its services and procedures to become both an attractive setting and a privileged environment for learning, culture, study and research. Beyond the necessary adaptation and integration of new technologies, the library has designed a service offering focused on research data and knowledge management.
To be effective, a research data service requires an appropriate ecosystem. This is why LACED (The Computing and Data Mining Laboratory) and the Mathematics and Statistics Help Centre (MSHC) were integrated into the library. In terms of knowledge management, two major initiatives stand out: the Portail Coop, the world's largest digital library on cooperatives and mutuals; and the Réflexion institutional repository, HEC Montréal's open-access portal to scientific production. The development of a portal to disseminate the prestigious Collection publicitaire Pierre-Savard, comprising over 40,000 advertising messages from the former Centre d'archives publicitaires, is also part of this initiative.
In the fall of 1996, HEC Montréal inaugurated a new building at 3000 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine. One of the reasons for the building's construction was a pressing lack of space. The library is located at the very heart of the building, occupying the entire second floor, with a surface area of over 5,000 square metres and a seating capacity of almost 800.
Since the opening of the Côte-Sainte-Catherine building, HEC Montréal’s customer base has grown considerably. The need for more space, combined with the desire to get even closer to the business community, led HEC Montréal to build a third building downtown, the Édifice-Hélène-Desmarais. From the outset of this project, the presence of a library was seen as one of the keys to the success of the new site.
Although the Bibliothèque Francine-Roy is primarily virtual, a human presence is essential. Considered a crossroads for learning and access to knowledge, this branch strives to enhance the student experience and to be an important meeting point between producers and consumers of management knowledge. It aims to serve as a lever for the various research units, contributing to their success and efficiency by focusing on support for action research and acting as a focal point for the “students-researchers-organizations” triad. A team of librarians and documentation technicians provides a watch service and advanced documentary research. It contributes to knowledge transfer by organizing events, and offers services to HEC Montréal graduates and the community.