This is the official blog of the Feminism Society of Royal Holloway University of London.To join our mailing list or submit an article, feel free to email To pay your society membership please visit

Monday, 9 July 2012

Rhul Fem Soc @ Save the Women's Library public meeting

On July 6th a number of RHUL FemSoc members attended the Save the Women's Library public meeting along with many other supporters and friends of the Library. Since finding out that the Women's Library was facing potential closure, RHUL FemSoc have been trying help raise awareness in support of the Save the Women's Library campaign and it was wonderful to finally meet campaigners that we had only spoken to previously via online social networking.
Before the meeting we had received the news that London Metropolitan University, who are the current owners of the library, had released the selection criteria and the list of organisations who are preparing to bid for the library.

The list of bidders consisted of:
  • Senate House, University of London,
  • Manchester City Council;
  • London School of Economics & Political Practice, University of London
  • Bodleian Libraries, Oxford University
  • Warwick University
  • York Saint John University
  • University of York.
Some members in the audience who were from these institutions asked what they could do to ensure the bids from their institution coincided with what was best for the library. It appeared that while having the criteria as outline was useful, not knowing how much weight was being put behind each section meant that this was difficult to answer. I believe that this highlighted the problems of transparency between the library and the university.

The meeting also consisted with further campaign updates and enlightening speeches on the history of the Women's Library from staff members. Along side this, there was much discussion revolving around the fact the majority of organisations bidding were part of the elite Russell university group and that it was important that this precious collection of marginalised history remained in reach and available to people from working class backgrounds.

Jade Lori Baker, from NUS Women's committee and NCAFC, spoke on how the sale of the library was a part of a wider picture, a picture where the coalition government’s cuts to education were creating a two tier, class dividing, education system, which is seeing universities like London Met resulting to such measures and the more affluent universities prospering. There were also some opposing opinions and some individuals suggested that the Library was a national treasure and it didn’t matter what type of university owned it, just as long as the collection was kept well and in public reach.

Overall, I believe that the general consensus in the room was that the Women's Library is more than an academic asset, its a vital resource for activism and a place that has conducted essential outreach work which has helped many members of the community. Whoever takes custodianship of the library needs to see it as the historical public treasurer that is, keep the collection in the building along with the experienced staff and continue to provide opportunities for widening participation.

Royal Holloway Feminism Society is a proud supporter of this campaign and will continue help make sure that the Women's Library collection stays where it is and continues to inspire future generations.

Help us save the Women's library by spreading the word, sharing our video, signing the online Save The Women's Library petition; writing to Malcolm Gillies, Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University and joining the campaign! For more information please visit

No comments:

Post a Comment

When commenting, please remember that whilst this blog welcomes constructive discussion on feminism, we also aim to maintain a safe blogging space for our members and readers and therefore shall not publish abusive or discriminating comments or tolerate harassment.