LSE buys Women's Library

The London School of Economics has successfully bought the Women’s Library, despite fears from campaigners that the move would damage access to the collection.

Activists have been protesting against the sale, which will see the library archives moved from its current home in Aldgate, in London’s east end.

The LSE is buying the collection from London Metropolitan University which can no longer afford to maintain the collection; it said that under its control researchers and students will continue to have full access to the unique accumulation of women’s social history.

Professor Craig Calhoun, director of LSE, said: “It is of vital importance that strong historical collections are maintained and I am proud that LSE has been able to step in to keep the Women’s Library open. There are numerous synergies between the Women's Library collection and LSE's existing holdings. Combined, they will undoubtedly make one of the best international collections for the support of research on women's lives and gender issues.”

However, a spokesman for the Save The Women’s Library Campaign said today: “Moving the collection out of its purpose-built premises on Old Castle Street will limit and reduce access to this powerful collection. Access is more than opening times, and we find it hard to see how current plans will accommodate the vibrant exhibitions, education and events programmes that have opened up this collection to the wider public over the past decade. The closure of this building would be a step back for women’s equality, as well as an enormous waste.”

They said they would seek talks with the LSE to try and prevent the move.

The library was originally established in 1926 as a repository for documents and material relating to women’s history in the UK. It moved to its current site, a converted East End wash house, in 2002.