Save the Feminist Library from eviction
Southwark Council are threatening to evict the Feminist Library on 1 March from the building on Westminster Bridge Road, London, that has been its home for 30 years.
The council has given notice that the rent on the Library’s space in the building, a building which has housed a variety of community groups alongside the Library for the past 30 years, will be raised from £12,000 to £30,000 a year – and council officers are refusing to negotiate.
The Feminist Library has an incomparable collection of over 7,000 books, 1500 periodical titles from around the world, archives of feminist individuals and organisations, pamphlets, papers, posters, and ephemera.
It supports not just archiving work, but publishes its own zines and supports independent producers and artists.
It is also a registered charity, and completely self-funding.
The space supports and encourages research, mutual support, activism and community projects, with well over 20 different groups having used the events space just in the past calendar year, a number of them national and international.
The Feminist Library is volunteer led, and has always been; is intergenerational, a significant custodian of our feminist heritage, and looking to the future; and its approach is intersectional –providing a space for different feminisms to co-exist.
On 10 February, Southwark Council Cabinet approved a report that ‘highlights the need for a thriving VCS (Voluntary and Community Sector) that mobilises community action and makes best use of community resources, skills, knowledge and spaces’.
How can treating the Feminist Library in such a way be consistent with approving this report?
Dr Laura Schwartz, Associate Professor of Modern British History at the University of Warwick, has said: ‘”The Feminist Library is a wonderful cultural resource that needs to be defended at all costs.
“Generations of my students have used it for their academic research, as well as informing themselves about the continued oppression of women in our society and how to fight against it.
“The Library is now the only archive in London where a wide array of feminist publications are truly accessible to the general public and available on the open shelves.
“It also provides one of the few spaces in central London where women and feminist activists can come together to meet and organise for a better world.
If the Feminist Library is evicted from its current premises, Southwark Council will not only be guilty of cultural vandalism but also of silencing women.”
Please join us in calling upon Southwark Council to work with us to save the Library.
Please sign this petition asking Southwark Council to:
Withdraw their notice to evict the Feminist Library on 1 March – the first day of Women’s History Month;
Enter into negotiations with the Feminist Library to gradually implement the proposed threefold rent increase; and
Work with the Feminist Library to keep it open as a community space, in line with the aims of the Voluntary Sector Strategy, announced on 10 February.
To find other ways to help, click here.
To learn more about the Feminist Library – and to donate to the Emergency fund – click here.
To keep up to date with the eviction story, go to the Library’s facebook page.