Monday, 16 April 2012

Women's Library Under Threat – Campaign and Petition

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.

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