Printed Materials Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1534 Glasgow Women's Library: Printed Materials Collection
  • Dates of Creation
      1900 - present
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English , French , German
  • Physical Description
      100 metres

Scope and Content

The collection consists of feminist fiction and non-fiction books and other printed materials such as reports and reference material. These cover the areas of biography, crime and general fiction, music and the arts, poetry, women's health, ecology, history, sexual politics, feminist politics, feminist theory, literary theory, lesbian politics and theory, women of colour, and range from academic works to popular lifestyle-centred works. The fiction includes classic feminist fiction, dime novels, through to girls' annuals.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Glasgow Women's Library was established in 1991. It grew out of the women's arts-orientated project, Women in Profile (1987), to ensure the visibility of women in the programming of the Glasgow, European City of Culture year (1990). Since 1991 a large number of women contributed to the growth and success of the Library. The collection was largely donated and was developed primarily through the long-term support of members and volunteers. By 2009 Adele Patrick, a Library founder, was the Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator whilst Sue John, a volunteer in 1993 had become the Director of Strategic Planning. KEY DATES significant landmarks in the Library's history include: 1991 Library's first base on Hill Street, Garnethill, Glasgow opens. No paid staff. 1993 Library launches its first publication, Women, HIV/AIDS: a bibliography, edited by Rosie Ilett (shortlisted for a Library Association award in 1994). 1994 Due to increase in collection and users, the Library relocated to large, city-centre premises at 109 Trongate (4th and 5th floors).
Incorporates as a Company. Begins volunteer training programme. 1995 First funding for a Library wage (a part-time salary shared by three workers). The London-based Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (LAIC) relocates to the GWL's 5th floor. The Library celebrates its 500th member. 1996 Monthly free lawyer's surgeries begin (ongoing). First GWL banner and first monthly GWL Newsletter (ongoing). 1997 Civic reception for GWL's Women at Work database. 1998 1000th GWL member. 1999 Comic Relief fund the GWL LIPS project, two workers employed. GWL embarks on research and publishes a report for Glasgow City Council on 'Poverty and Social Exclusion of Lesbians and Gay Men.' 2000 GWL awarded charitable status. 2001 A motion in the new Scottish Parliament congratulates GWL on its work. 2002 Glasgow City Council funds a Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator post at GWL. 2003 Glasgow Community Learning Strategy Partnership fund an Adult Literacy and Numeracy Development Worker post at GWL. GWL acquires a third floor (1st floor at 109 Trongate). A cohort of sessional tutors are trained and employed and two staff join the team to provide outreach support to lesbians over 25. GWL establishes a Women's Community Garden. 2004 Scottish Arts Council fund GWL's first Writer in Residence. 2005 Learning Connections funding allows ALN Learners to publish a book of their writing, launched in May 2005.
Offer of new location within the Mitchell Library. (Relaunch early 2010)
Website re-launched.The Library's first Librarian, Wendy Kirk, is appointed.
First large scale documentation project launched supported by Scottish Community Fund and Awards for All (ongoing) 2006 GWL moves to temporary premises at 81 Parnie Street. 2007 Dedicated Black & Minority Ethnic Women's Project is launched. 2008 The Library is awarded a major grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The £410,000 grant will fund the creation of the first ever Women's Archive in Scotland.

Access Information

Access by appointment (in 2009 the Library was relocating to Mitchell Library and access was limited)

Other Finding Aids

For more details contact the Library.

Archivist's Note

Collection Description based on a previous description by the Genesis project 2002. The updated description Jan 2009, was created using information from The Glasgow Women's Library. Submitted to the Archives Hub as part of Genesis 2009 Project.


Donations are encouraged.

Geographical Names