Last week we had a lovely visit from a group of graduate library students from the University of Missouri. They’d been touring around different places in the UK, exploring the role of libraries in social justice. They’d been to places like Derry and Belfast, and the next stop on their grand tour was us – yikes! After hearing about us through the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), their professor Jenny was really keen that they came to GWL to find out about the work we do. They all arrived with big smiles, big cameras, an eagerness to learn, incisive questions, and a willingness to drink lots of tea and eat shortbread. It goes without saying they fitted into GWL perfectly.
We spent a lovely few hours chatting about feminist approaches to librarianship, grassroots activism, how collecting and preserving women’s history can be a political act in itself, and how books can change people’s lives. They absolutely loved looking through some of our archive gems such as our fanzines, knitting patterns, badges and Suffragette collection.
It was so refreshing and heartening to meet a group of students who are so passionate about libraries and their role in social justice and equality. And it was great to find out about how libraries are viewed and valued in the States.
Jenny said they were blown away by GWL and how special, inspirational and welcoming it was. She described it as a real highlight of their trip. When you work somewhere every day, sometimes you get so used to it you can fleetingly forget how special it is. It was lovely to have a wee reminder.