Glasgow Women's Library is much more than a home for books
Far removed from the hushed tones and staid atmosphere sometimes found in a traditional library, talking and interacting with one and other is positively encouraged in the Glasgow Women's Library as Councillor Soryia Siddique, Chair of Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, found out when she visited recently.
Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and Glasgow City Council, through the Integrated Grant Fund (IGF), have given funding to the Glasgow Women's Library, the only place of its kind in Scotland, over several years.
Recent IGF grants have gone towards providing a librarian who runs outreach activities; specialised literacy and learning programmes, events and activities, including targeting women in priority groups and supplying specialised resources and expertise to Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) women in Glasgow in a safe, welcoming environment.
Following their relocation to Bridgeton about a year ago, after drifting from temporary premises to temporary premises, staff and users of the service couldn't be happier to have found a permanent home and are already a well-liked and well-used resource in the local community.
Celebrating their 25 anniversary in September 2016, the library is a vibrant hub with meeting space, training, ESOL (English) classes and activities such as Story Cafe - a weekly drop-in event where fiction is read aloud, followed by food, chat and laughter.
As an accredited museum it also houses an array of artefacts, displays and exhibitions, many of them created by library users themselves that celebrate the history, the lives and the achievements of women all over the world.
Councillor Siddique said: "The Glasgow Women's Library is a fantastic resource in our city and you only have to look at their breadth of activities and the fact that they have more 100 volunteers to see how popular it is. I was amazed to see so many artefacts from their historical archive and interested to learn about active projects on helping women from BME communities overcome barriers to get involved in the Scottish creative industry, their work on engaging with people who have experience of hate crime and seeing what we can learn from the lives and work of the suffragettes and applying it to our modern day society. They really use the library as a base for a whole myriad of projects and take an active role in the local community too."
Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager at the Library, Dr Adele Patrick said: "What we offer allows people to think of libraries in a new way. We very much want to widen the appeal for people and aim to provide a warm welcoming environment for people to share, learn and become involved, if they want. For many of our service users it's about building their confidence whether it be in reading, speaking English, interacting with people and from small beginnings we see women become involved in more and more of our activities that interest them and help then to grow. In some the change is immense - they look healthier, happier and are more self-assured with many more tools to change their lives for the better."
For more information on Glasgow Women's Library visit http://womenslibrary.org.uk/