Feminist Library crowdfunds for new Peckham home

Feminist Library crowdfunds for new Peckham home

The Feminist Library has launched a £30,000 crowdfunding campaign to enable it to move premises to a community centre in Peckham, south London, from its Westminster home of 30 years.

The volunteer-run archive is being forced to leave the building on Westminster Bridge Road where it has been housed for three decades due to a redevelopment of the site. It has found a new, larger home in Sojourner Truth Community Centre in Summer Road, Peckham, and is fundraising to meet the costs of the move. The money raised will go towards fitting out the new space, moving the thousands of books, and the legal costs of moving a library with member rewards including afternoon tea in the new library and a personalised shelf space.

The crowdfunder was launched on Tuesday (16th October) with an accompanying e-newsletter and specially designed logo (above), raising almost £5,000 in a matter of hours.

On the “urgent need to move”, the e-newsletter reads: “We need to leave our current premises in Westminster Bridge Road in Spring 2019, as the building is due for redevelopment. We have no choice but to move and so urgently need to make the new building fit for purpose. Without this money the Library may have no option but to close, after 43 years of operation.”

“The Feminist Library has survived for over four decades by the goodwill and passion of our dedicated volunteers and supporters, and with next to no external funding. We are now counting on the community’s support to make this move happen.”

Rewards for supporting the  £30,000 campaign include a special edition ‘move’ tote bags for £25 as well as “VIP” tickets to the grand opening for £50 or champagne, cake and tea at the library (£80). There are various paintings and limited edition prints for sale, including from the feminist activist poet and artist Astra Blaug as well as the chance for people to have their name engrabed on their own shelf, for £500.

The Sojourner Truth Community Centre spans 1,500sq ft, “which is 50% bigger then our current cramped premises,” according to the newsletter and is “at heart of the local community”, as well as being wheelchair accessible.

“It will give substantially increased shelving space, office space, and a kitchen to provide food at community events,” the e-bulletin reads. “This will enable us to build on our priceless collection and expand our vibrant community programme, as well as new exhibition space to showcase feminist art and archive materials.

“The Sojourner Truth Community is a listed building, which will mean security for the Library for years to come. We will be sharing the building with a number of other community organisations, including a couple of women's groups.”

It was also revealed that there is a “feminist design collective” featuring architects, designers and makers lined up to work on the project, donating their time for free to make the new space possible.

The library focuses on the Women's Liberation Movement literature that also supports related research, activist and community projects. Its collection features 7,000 books, 1,500 periodical titles from around the world, archives of feminist individuals and organisations as well as pamphlets, papers, posters, and ephemera. Two years ago the Library faced eviction from the Westminster Bridge Road building after proposed council rent hikes, but protests led to a reprieve on that occasion. 

In July, a number of publishers and the team behind The Women’s Prize gave book donations to the library to celebrate Feminist Book Fortnight and the collection’s 43rd birthday.

The crowdfunder will run until 10th December with the library receiving all pledges made.

For more information, visit the crowdfunding website or follow #feministlibrarynewhome.