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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Don't Close The Women's Library


London School of Economics bid will close The Women's Library 

On 13 September, a London Metropolitan University committee meets to decide the fate of The Women's Library collection. There is currently only one bid, from LSE, which will close the purpose built Women's Library building and move the collection making it inaccessible to the wider community. 

Supporters of The Women’s Library, feminists, and historians will be demonstrating at 1pm tomorrow at London Met University to call for a re-opening of the bidding process.

Dr Laura Schwartz of the Save The Women's Library Campaign said, "Without immediate intervention, The Women's Library will be sold off by London Met to the only remaining bidder - the LSE - who will move the collection out of its current purpose built building. We would encourage LSE to resubmit a revised bid for the library however it is crucial if the collection is to remain accessible that the collection and staff remain in The Women’s Library Building". 

By transferring the collection to the 4th floor of an academic library in central London, the LSE bid effectively closes The Women's Library. The Women's Library building is a ten year old purpose built building funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. London Met would be required to repay over £4 million to the Heritage Lottery Fund if the collection moves out of the building. In addition, the transfer makes the collection inaccessible to the wider community who currently use the library. It would also limit the outreach work and exhibitions which presently take place at The Women's Library.

“The process by which London Met has conducted the ‘bidding process’ for the irreplaceable Women’s Library is a national scandal that merits an enquiry".
Professor June Purvis, University of Portsmouth

"The collections need to be in a thoroughfare, as they are in their present premises, not in a closet."
Marina Warner, CBE, feminist historian

 "I hope that this magnificent purpose designed building for The Women Library by award winning architects Wright and Wright finds a future which keeps it all together including the dedicated staff and collection. There has got to be a solution out there? It would be most regrettable if it all gets lost after so much effort and enjoyment of its success"
Angela Brady, President Elect, Royal Institute of British Architects 

Laura Schwartz of the Save The Women’s Library campaign continued, "In 1976, feminists voted to house the collection at the City of London Polytechnic (now London Met University) to ensure the collection was kept together and to make it accessible to non-students. A decision by the Fawcett Society to give the Library to LSE was overturned, due to fact that LSE planned to throw away some of the books and to incorporate the rest into its own cataloguing system, making some of the more obscure references to book chapters of interest to feminists, impossible to find"


  • Meet 12pm at Holloway tube, Sept 13th
  • Sept 22nd Mass Rally to Save The Women’s Library, outside London Met, 4-5pm.

Address for TWL visitors: The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University, Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT; nearest tube Aldgate East, Aldgate or Liverpool Street; open Mon to Fri 9.30am-5.30pm, Thurs until 8.00pm



Follow us on twitter: @saveTWL

The Women's Library, established in 1926, is one of the world’s foremost archival, library, and museum collections related to women’s history. A recent partnership with the Parliamentary Archives saw several of The Women's Library's items inscribed into UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. The library is housed in a purpose-built building in East London and is part of London Metropolitan University. The collection can be consulted in its reading room Tues-Fri 9:30-5:30 and is open to all. Bring ID to register for access.
The Save The Women’s Library campaign was initiated by London Met UNISON and is led by its members at the library in collaboration with the library community. We recognise the worth of The Women's Library and want to work alongside its supporters to ensure it continues to thrive. We are campaigning to: * Keep the collection intact * Retain its expert staff and access to all  * Remain in the dedicated building on Old Castle St. 

1 comment:

  1. Moving and breaking up the Women's Library re the LSE proposal is totally unacceptable. The fight goes on. Another meeting at Freedom Tuesday 6pm. BE THERE!


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