The Women's Library is the oldest and most extensive collection of women’s history in Europe, and a key part of the UK’s national heritage. It was founded in 1926 as the Library of the London Society for Women's Service, a non-militant organisation led by leading suffragist Millicent Fawcett, and has evolved into Europe's leading source of documents relating to every aspect of women's lives.
A unique and internationally renowned collection that holds Unesco-recognised documents, the collection is recognised for its rare and historic materials concerning the foundations of the rights of women. It developed from the suffrage movement and now includes over 60,000 books and pamphlets, and over 3,500 periodicals and press cuttings. In addition it includes 500 personal and organisational archives and over 5,000 objects such as posters, photographs, badges and banners.
In 2012, London Metropolitan University made the decision to relinquish these collections, and following a competitive bid process, LSE was delighted to have been selected as the new home of The Women's Library.
The Women’s Library @ LSE will continue to shed light on over a century of women’s struggles for equality, enriching the already significant collections relating to the lives and experiences of women that are currently housed in the LSE Library.
LSE is committed to maintaining public access to these important collections, ensuring the integrity and unique identity of The Women's Library.
The relocation project to rehouse The Women’s Library Collection is now underway, with the reading room service having opened in August 2013. LSE has also welcomed existing Women's Library staff, and will further develop public access through an ongoing programme of exhibitions, digitisation projects, and outreach activities.
The building project to create a new Reading Room, Exhibition Area, and Teaching and Activity room for The Women’s Library @ LSE collection is now underway.
“I am delighted LSE has been chosen to provide a secure home and future for The Women’s Library. This is a truly inspiring collection of women’s history that deserves to be maintained and made accessible for future generations and we look forward to welcoming all who are interested in this fine collection to The Women’s Library @ LSE in the future.”
Director of LSE Library Services, Elizabeth Chapman
If you are interested in learning more about The Women's Library @ LSE, please visit The Women's Library @ LSE
Image: Women’s Freedom League banner, 1908
© Mary Evans Picture Library/Women’s Library @ LSE