cpd25 visit the Feminist Library
Review by Rachel Telfer, cpd25 Coordinator
On the 6 July 2016 cpd25, the staff training and development programme of the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries, arrived for a tour of the Feminist Library on Westminster Bridge Road. This was the second time that the Feminist Library had kindly opened its doors to a cpd25 library tour. Back in May 2016 there was such a high demand for places on our first tour that it was decided a second visit in July should be organised and what a worthwhile visit it was!
The collection was incredibly impressive in both size and content, made up of women’s liberation literature and an array of fiction, zines and journals. It was also particularly interesting for the library professionals in our group to hear about the unique classification system created by Wendy Davies.
Sarah O’Mahoney kindly talked us through the ‘herstory’ of the collection. She explained the workings of the current library and the challenges facing the collection and its current home on Westminster Bridge Road.
What impressed me most during the visit was learning about all of the activities the library is involved in, from general day to day library services to educational outreach and supporting generations of important campaigns. All of these achievements are the results of the hard work of volunteers.
Our organisation, the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries, relies heavily on the knowledge, contribution and enthusiasm of volunteers from the library sector, especially for its cpd25 programme. We understand the importance of volunteers in the success and running of a project and the work being done at the Feminist Library, which has been wholly volunteer run since 1988, is no small feat.
cpd25 visits comprise library staff from university, specialist and museum libraries who are members of the M25 Consortium. For our members, cpd25 visits create opportunities to see alternative library collections outside of their usual academic remit. It also provides a learning platform for those who are eager to know more about non-academic libraries and the potential they have for supporting university staff, students and researchers. Many of the group spent time after the visit browsing the shelves and enjoying what the library has to offer.
If you are a library professional or just a member of the public with an appreciation of women’s history and current campaigns for equality, I would highly recommend you take the time to visit this distinctive collection of treasures.
The collection is an invaluable resource for researchers and an important beacon in society highlighting women’s development and continuing to document ‘herstory’. cpd25 looks forward to visiting the Feminist Library again in the near future when it has found what we hope to be an ideal new home for a special and irreplaceable collection.
cpd25 is the staff training and development programme of the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries, a collaborative organisation that works to improve library and information services within the M25 region and more widely across the East and Southeast of England. cpd25 organises training events and library tours for library staff throughout the year. Library tours are for member institutions of the M25 Consortium only, but training events are open to the public. Further information can be found at this link http://www.m25lib.ac.uk/