Saturday, 24 September 2016

Save The Feminist Library!

A note from Joelle... 
The Feminist Library
Libraries are SO important, and hundreds have closed in the last five years under Government spending cuts. Many in the City, however, have been forced to close due to the local councils selling off land to luxury property developers. This is the case for The Feminist Library in Southwark, London.

Last week, I was invited down to the premiere screening of 'The Feminist Library' - a new short film by Anais Charles.
The film was shot as a series of interviews with women who have  had a connection with the library, both, past and present. 
The film comes after news last year that Southwark Council was to sell off the building that hosts the library and turn it into yet another block of luxury flats that never get bought and add fuel to the London houses crisis wildfire.
The Library has been around for over 40 years and is home to both famous and rare books, documents and journals, mainly from the Women's Liberation Movement era in the early 1970s.
When I heard last year the famous Feminist Library was facing closure last year, I couldn't quite believe it.I was naive to think that they had enough supporters and volunteers to keep it from harm, but that just isn't the case. So I knew I had to show my face at this screening to support and donate.
I can't lie to you, the building is in an awful condition. So much so, that as soon as the film commenced, a mouldy curtain in the corner of the room fell off its rail. This cannot be a healthy condition for the volunteers and the books, and it's shocking that they have had to put up with an unsuitable building and audacious rent costs.

As a book-loving Feminist, it is really sad to hear about the library potentially becoming homeless, with all those archives potentially being lost. Not to mention all the future friendships and relationships between the volunteers being no more if the library was forced to close. Because the truth is, the history of the British Women's Liberation Movement is not common knowledge. Yes, we may know about the Suffragettes in the early 1990s, but the history of British women after that seemed to have been pushed aside in favour of the American side of history.

There was a discussion after the film and it was time for questions. It was very refreshing to see that the majority of questions to the panel were in fact, men. The diversity of the room was great too, as Feminism, both here and across the pond has been under fire for ignoring the views of women of colour and certain religions/social classes. The bringing together of all of us young, older, black, white, Asian, female, male, etc. is what this library is all about - community. And it will be a great shame if it is lost due to greedy councils and investors.

The bottom line is that the really important books and documents in this special archive may be lost and inaccessible, which is pretty devastating. This is women's history - herstory, that deserves to be shared, discussed and respected.

Feel free to donate HERE to help the Feminist Library stay on their feet for as long as possible!

The Feminist Library
5 Westminster Bridge Rd
(until October 2016)

I will update this page once a new home for the library has been announced.


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