Over 100 campaigners gathered on Wednesday (24th February) to protest the eviction of London's Feminist Library from the building that has housed it for 30 years.
Following the news that Southwark Council is threatening to close down the Library unless it agrees to an immediate increase in its rent, the Library launched a petition that has garnered more than 14,000 signatures.
The petition asks the council to enter into negotiations to gradually increase the rent and to work with the Library to keep it open as a community space. Representatives of the library handed the petition to councillors at a Southwark Council meeting last night, while a demonstration was held outside the building.
The demonstration included speeches and protesters reading aloud from feminist literature by Alice Walker, Zadie Smith and Sylvia Plath as part of World Read-Aloud Day.
Sarah O’Mahoney, trustee of the Feminist Library, told The Bookseller that it was a “really positive event”.
“We all felt really energised”, she said. “It was great to feel the support from everybody. The support from the media and people on Twitter was great too. We've had a positive response from Southwark Council as well. Now moving forward, we'll be working together. We feel very positive about the future.”
O’Mahoney added: “The reading aloud encompassed what we’re all about: men and women coming together to celebrate equality. [The Library] is a place where people come and feel nurtured and respected, it’s quite unique in the UK.”
The initial eviction was due to take place next Tuesday (1st March) but this date has now been extended to the end of April as a “gesture of goodwill”.
Members of the Library will be meeting with councilors today (26th February) to discuss arrangements going further.