The feminist institution is being forced to leave its current premises due to redevelopment – but you can help it thrive in its new home.
In October, London’s Feminist Library announced that it was facing permanent closure. The building in which it currently resides is up for redevelopment, and the people behind the iconic institution were told they would have to find new premises by spring 2019.
Luckily, they were able to do just that, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that has so far raised over £40,000. The Feminist Library is now preparing to relocate to a space in the Sojourner Truth Community Centre in Peckham – fittingly named after the famous African-American activist and abolitionist.
The success of the crowdfunder enabled the Feminist Library to extend its fundraising target from £30,000 to £48,000. But the extended crowdfunder ends on 31 March at 8pm, and the Feminist Library is currently a little under £5,000 short of its target.
In a statement, the organisation said the additional £18,000 will be used to make the new Library “an even better resource and community space”, featuring an exhibition space, sound system for live events, and “new archival boxes for our precious periodicals collections to protect them better for future generations of feminists”.
Helping the Feminist Library thrive in its new location will preserve “a valuable community space and unique archive collection,” Emma Thatcher, a member of the Feminist Library management collective, tells stylist.co.uk. “The Feminist Library is such an important resource, for London, for women, for everyone!
“It contains our history: thousands of books and magazines which show how we fought for our rights and how we found our voices, individually and collectively,” Thatcher continues. “It needs to be protected so it can inspire future generations.”
The Feminist Library first opened its doors in London more than 40 years ago. Back then, it was known as the Women’s Research and Resource Centre, and served as a hub for second-wave feminists involved in the Women’s Liberation Movement who wanted a space to gather, learn and create.
Over time, the Feminist Library has moved to gradually larger premises across London: in Islington, in Clerkenwell, on the Embankment, and then to Southwark, its current home. Its catalogue includes everything from books about female prisoners to Seventies pamphlets about abortion rights and novels by African women authors, and it also has a sister bookshop packed with feminist fiction, non-fiction and zines.
The Feminist Library’s new premises in Peckham are 50% bigger than the current site in Southwark, meaning it will be possible to showcase some of the feminist artwork in the Feminist Library archives, including posters, flyers and pamphlets, as well as other ephemera collected over the past four decades.
The new space at the Sojourner Truth Community Centre is being designed and fitted out by a team of feminist architects, designers and makers, many of whom are volunteering their time for free.
“We’re a design team working together collaboratively, which I love, because it’s a group of really powerful, strong women and non-binary people coming together and designing a future space for the Feminist Library,” spatial designer Lucy Sanderson told stylist.co.uk in October.
Find out more information and donate to the Feminist Library’s crowdfunding campaign here.
This article was first published on 18 October 2018 and has been updated to reflect the extended crowdfunding target.
Images: Eliott Reyna / Unsplash