London feminist library threatened

This video from England says about itself:

13 March 2015

The Feminist Library of London is celebrating its 40th anniversary. At a time when feminism seems to be enjoying resurgence, we try to find out whether feminist libraries are still important or not.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Feminist Library on verge of eviction

Friday 19th February 2016

Council doubles rent on eve of Women’s History Month

THE Feminist Library issued a last-minute plea against eviction yesterday — ironically on the first day of Women’s History Month.

Southwark Council, in south London, is demanding £30,000 a year rent — up from £12,000 — and has threatened to close the library down on March 1. The library has been on the site for almost three decades.

The volunteer-led charity, which holds one of the biggest collections of feminist literature in Britain, has launched a 38 Degrees petition, that has nearly 4,000 signatures,

meanwhile, as I looked, 10,351 signatures

to get the local authority to reconsider its decision to impose an extortionate rent rise on the self-funding charity run by volunteers.

Volunteer Una Byrne had said that because of the lack of affordable properties in London, it’s crucial that the charity can collect enough funds to stay put until somewhere suitable is found.

The library said that the building it occupies was “never intended to be a place of commercial venture” and that it goes against its purpose for the council to charge market-level rents.

The building was acquired in 1983 by the Greater London Council (GLC) ethnic minority committee for a resource and planning centre to tackle racism in the capital. The GLC was abolished three years later.

Earlier this month, Southwark Council approved a report that “highlights the need for a thriving voluntary and community sector that mobilises community action and makes best use of community resources, skills, knowledge and spaces.”

Ms Byrne added: “We cannot understand how treating our organisation in such a way is consistent with approving this report.”

The Feminist Library holds exhibitions and community events as well as keeping more than 7,000 books, archives, 1,500 periodical titles, pamphlets and posters on the women’s rights and liberation movement.

It has also launched a campaign and a special appeal for supporters to donate to its emergency fund in order to be able to challenge the council.

Other feminist organisations that have been forced to close include Lambeth Women’s Project, Peckham Black Women’s Centre, and the London Irish Women’s Centre.

SOUTHWARK COUNCIL’S threat to shut the Feminist Library down on March 1 is rather ironic, considering that date marks the start of Women’s History Month. We’ll be forced to close us unless we agree to an immediate rent increase from £12,000 to £30,000 a year — more than double. The council’s actions could end a unique archive with a 40-year history. As a practically unfunded, volunteer-run feminist organisation, we cannot afford such a steep increase in our rent: here.

5 thoughts on “London feminist library threatened

  1. This kind of stuff is getting way out of hand. I watched a 37 minute video regarding the same type of threats in many areas, it was very educational.


  2. Saturday 4th June 2016

    posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

    A FEMINIST library earmarked for closure was given a further six months by its council landlord yesterday after continuous protest from local residents.

    The Feminist Library in south London has been threatened with closure since Southwark Council decided to nearly triple its rent last year.

    But, thanks to thousands-strong petitions and demonstrations, the institution, which has been open for 30 years, can now stay at its Westminster Bridge Road premises until the end of October.

    Library volunteer Sarah O’Mahoney said the group did not want to leave their “home,” but said: “There seems to be no alternative.”

    She added: “We have a struggle ahead to find somewhere suitable, but we are determined to succeed in the fighting spirit of the feminist movement.

    “We look forward to a new chapter, and we hope that Southwark Council will carry through with its offers of support.”

    The council, which recently “regenerated” the borough’s Elephant and Castle area at a cost of £3 billion, has not provided the international archive with premises below the local average market rent of £18,000 a year.

    Beverley Robinson, who chairs the nearby Aylesbury estate’s residents group, said she “recognised the challenges” faced by the Feminist Library.

    “None of the Aylesbury leaseholders will be able to remain in the area under the terms we are being offered by Southwark Council,” she added.

    “We therefore understand the plight the Feminist Library is enduring.”

    A summer benefit event for the Feminist Library is being held on July 2 to raise funds for new premises.

    Writer Ali Smith will show her support for the archive by reading passages from her new book Public Libraries and Other Stories at the event, which will mark the start of Anti-Gentrification Week.


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