Save The Women’s Library: Take Action

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to you to update you on recent developments with regard to the future of the Women’s Library, which is housed at London Metropolitan University.

The University has recently made the following announcement on the Women’s Library website:

The Women’s Library is seeking a new home

On Wednesday 14 March, London Metropolitan University’s Board of Governors announced that they will be seeking a new home, custodian or sponsor of The Women’s Library’s collections. If a new home is not found by the end of December 2012, the Library will move to opening hours of one day per week for a period of three years, with a further review at the end of that period. We will keep you informed of further developments, and we are in the process of contacting key stakeholders.

If you have any suggestions of potential custodians, or any queries, please email

This decision is, we understand, related to the difficult financial position of the University. The view of the Board of Governors is that the University is better able to ensure the long term future of the Library by seeking a new home, custodian or sponsor.

The Deputy Chief Executive of the University, Paul Bowler contacted Anne Summers-the Chairwoman of the Friends of the Women’s Library before Christmas to let us know that the University was establishing a small working group of Governors and Senior University Governors to review the arrangements for the housing and management of the Women’s Library and the separate special Trade Union Collection. The outcome of their deliberations was that they can no longer continue to maintain either of the collections in the way in which they have.

Paul Bowler has now established a small group to work on identifying potential custodians for the Women’s Library and Amy Gibson, the Women’s Library’s Development Manager has been transferred into the University’s Marketing, Communications and Alumni Department to work on this project. Anne Summers was invited to the initial meeting of that group and will be the key point of communication for the Friends on developments. Paul Bowler has also agreed to come the AGM of the Friends of the Women’s Library on the 28th June 2011 to bring us up to date with developments.

Following the announcement of the decision there have been a number of immediate responses including:

·         The establishment of a “Rudi’s Save Our Libraries Campaign” started off by a member of library staff at the University, which includes a petition on the care2 petition site which has attracted over 5,500signatures to date

·         The establishment of a Save the Women’s Library blog by the London Metropolitan University branch of Unison. This includes some good information about the library and makes a powerful case for trying to save all the elements that constitute the library i.e. the collections, the building, the events and activities programmes, and the expert staff that look after  and develop the collections.

As Friends of the Women’s Library , we are an independent and separate charity from London Metropolitan University, who support the continuation & independence of the Library as the outstanding museum & archive of Women’s History.

The position of the Library is very serious indeed so any help and/or support you can give is important , such as joining the Friends. A membership form can be downloaded from the Library website.

The contact details of the Friends are:

Dr Anne Summers (Chairwoman):

Maureen E Castens (Secretary):

Diana Dollery (Treasurer):


Letters can be sent to the Friends c/o The Women’s Library, 25 Old Castle Street, Aldgate, London, E1 7NT.


Best wishes,


Mary Kennedy (for the Executive Committee, Friends of The Women’s Library)















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