Last Month London Met University announced plans to sell off the Women’s Library. If a new home is not found by December 2012 the University will run the library as a skeleton service, opening only one day a week.
Women in education and other feminists know what an incredible resource this Library is for activists, students and researchers alike. It holds one of the most important collections in the world, charting the history of women’s struggles past and present.
The Women’s Library fought for many years to have its own building, which provides an important centre for feminists to research, meet each other, and encounter new ideas. Library staff (with their special knowledge of the collections) play a crucial role in helping feminist researchers, curating exhibitions and collecting contemporary feminist zines and campaign material.
In deciding to sell this collection off, the Vice Chancellor of London Met is showing what little respect he has for women’s history and heritage. He is continuing his and the rest of management’s policy of reducing humanities courses at London Met (last year over 70 courses were closed including history and Caribbean Studies).
This is part of a wider attack on women in education – subjects where we are concentrated as teachers and students are seeing budgets decimated; £9k fees will hit us harder as we already take longer to pay back our fees and loans; our access to education is being further limited by nursery closures and course restrictions. London Met is a widening participation university with one of the most working-class and ethnically diverse student bodies in the UK – education is a right not a privilege! NCAFC Women are committed to free education and linking up with workers’ struggles to fight against funding cuts and to defend our history.
London Met UNISON has initiated a campaign to Save The Women’s Library, led by its members at the Library. They recognise the worth of The Women’s Library and and want to work alongside its supporters to ensure it continues to thrive. NCAFC Women will be linking up with the campaign to:
• Keep the collection intact
• Retain its expert staff
• Remain in the dedicated building on Old Castle St
• Include workers and library-users in any negotiations or new proposals – for open, democratic organising
What can you do?
• For more information visit the women’s library blog where you can sign the petition.
• Please also write to Malcolm Gillies, Vice Chancellor of London Met, expressing your concern: firstname.lastname@example.org (a model letter from NCAFC Women will be on this blog soon)
• Write to the campaign saying what the Women’s Library means to you email@example.com
• Watch this space for next steps in the campaign and keep up to date with the campaign on or Facebook