March 2, 2016
UPDATE: Protestors hope to save London’s Feminist Library
by Taylor Sperry
A few weeks ago, we reported on the rent hike that threatens to evict London’s Feminist Library from Westminster Bridge Road, where it’s been offering crucial literature from the Women’s Liberation Movement and supporting research, activism, and community groups for more than 40 years.
For Broadly, Mari Shibata writes that around a hundred women gathered outside the building where Southwark Council—which is raising the library’s annual rent from £12,000 to £30,000—was holding a budget meeting.
One by one, women came forward to read lines from books they’d brought to the protest and to explain what the Feminist Library has mean to them and to their community. Natalie Thompson, a historian at the University of Wolverhampton, told Broadly, “Without a doubt, I would not have been able to write my book without using the unique archival resources of the Feminist Library;” Zahra Swanzy, the founder of feminist zine Road Femme, said, “If we can’t save this library, not only will the presence of my work disappear with it, there won’t be a space for like-minded peers to be emotional and to heal just like I did;” and Maryam, a woman from Iran, addressed a responsibility to “save the archives that document the history of women . . . on behalf of women who couldn’t realize that elsewhere in the world.”
In a recent blog post, Southwark MP Neil Coyle writes, “I am in the process of investigating how best to secure a future for the library.” “It would be a huge shame,” he closes, “to lose such a valuable resource.”
Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.