The Feminist Library houses a large collection of Women's Liberation Movement literarure, and represents many of the strands and groups present in the women's movement. The lbrary has been sustained for over 40 years by the goodwill, passion and commitment of many individual women, and many of the items it holds are unique, such as a transcript of the first Women's Liberation Confrence, held in 1970.
Why are libraries important?
Libraries, and in particular the Feminist Library, allow access to material that inspires and encourages another generation of activists and campaigners, and create a calm space to read, research or join an event. We are the guardians of herstories – women’s voices and words held within the pages of journals and books that might otherwise have been lost.
Beyond viewing the collection, why else do people visit your library?
As well as coming to view and research the archive, people come to the events that we host. We run zine making workshops, film nights, cycling workshops, feminist yoga, life-drawing classes, and book launches and talks. We run tours for students, schools and academic institutions, and groups such as Fourth Wave hold their meetings here.
What does a week at your library look like?
No week is ever quite the same. We have meetings to look at new donations for collection, researchers coming in to borrow journals for a book, Feminist Yoga on Thursdays, and this Saturday and Sunday we will be at a Feminism in London event. We also have a Peruvian film night coming up as part of our Latinx Feminista Festival.
What are your regular visitors looking for at the moment?
They look for materials to support their own feminist campaigning; inspiring images for zine making and art exhibitions; space to have zine launches and talks; information about events going on in London and the rest of the UK; a place to come and talk about feminism. They also come to volunteer and be part of our wonderful collective helping to keep alive and push forward our desire for equality in the world.
The first ever Libraries Week ran from the 9-15 October. To find out more about the campaign and how your library got involved, visit their website.