Please see the letter below, about the Women’s Library, an important public resource for many historians of the family…
Many of you will have heard that The Women’s Library in London is facing closure and transfer of its collections, or being reduced to operating a skeleton service. London Metropolitan University have decided to attempt to find a new home, owner or sponsor for its holdings, and will reduce the service to one day per week if such a sponsor cannot be found by the end of 2012.
At the time of writing, nearly 5,000 people have signed a petition – set up by a concerned member of staff at the University – to save The Women’s Library in its present form (thanks go to everyone who have already signed). Its current home, opened in 2002, is purpose-built on the site of an old wash-house in East London, and received a RIBA-award for its design. It was opened due to the huge efforts and commitment of the Library’s Friends and supporters both inside and outside the University, and a £4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. As well as housing the collections and operating a Reading Room service, the building is a cultural centre hosting exhibitions, talks, education projects and community events.
The Library was originally founded in 1926. The collections, now officially Designated as ‘collections of outstanding national and international importance’, were saved from dispersal by London Met’s forerunner City of London Polytechnic 35 years ago, and this February it should have been celebrating ten years in its new home. In the lead-up to a major suffrage anniversary in 2018, now is the time to be building on the Library’s successes, fundraising for, and celebrating this important asset – not shutting it down or restricting public access.
London Met UNISON have initiated a campaign to save the Library, and are seeking testimony from its users about the Library’s importance. You can find out more on their blog, follow the campaign on Twitter, and add your name to the petition on the Care 2 website. There is also a ‘Save The Women’s Library’ group on Facebook.
The campaign has so far received coverage in The Guardian, Museums Journal, and Islington Tribune.
You can find out more about The Women’s Library on its website, and Wikipedia page. Its supporters scheme is The Friends of The Women’s Library.
Please help spread the word about the threat to this key resource for our subject.