The Feminist Library has won the right to stay at their London home for a further six months, after reaching an agreement with Southwark Council.
Over 16,000 supporters signed a petition to overturn the original agreement, while the library organised a demonstration outside the council’s offices and a hundred volunteers read aloud from feminist books. The council has since confirmed that it will allow the library to stay in the building until 30th October 2016.
As previously reported by WeAreTheCity, the Feminist Library was facing eviction from their home of 30 years on Westminster Bridge Road, London. The council were threatening to close the library unless they agreed to pay £18,000 rent, on top of the £12,000 service charge the library said was previously agreed.
At the time of the eviction, councillor Fiona Colley, cabinet member for finance said, “For the past seven years the Feminist Library hasn’t paid any rent for its premises. Whilst we recognise and appreciate the work that’s been done by the library, we have a very clear duty to ensure our assets are being managed responsibly, and that we are being fair to other tenants who are paying open market rent.”
Also speaking at the time, a spokeswoman for the library said, “Many libraries, women’s organisations and longstanding community projects have been forced to close in the current climate of austerity, including Lambeth Women’s Project, Peckham Black Women’s Centre, and the London Irish Women’s Centre.”
The Feminist Library are now ‘working hard to find the right premises.’ Writing on their website, they said, “We are unique in that we serve as a library and a meeting and event space, striving to be accessible to all. This is central to our ethos: opening up our resources so that knowledge is not privatised or accessed through an economy of capital; but rather shared freely amongst all.”
“We are the current guardians of our Feminist Herstory, so we will be relentless in our search for a new, secure home for the Library.”
The library is still campaigning to raise further money for their Emergency Fund, which will help the organisation find a new home and cover the costs. They are also organising a Summer Benefit to help fundraising efforts on 2nd July 2016.
The Feminist Library was created in 1975 to house feminist literature, research and archive material, including a large collection of Women’s Liberation Movement resources.
To find out more about the Library and how you can help, click here.