Is Glasgow Women’s Library connected to the other public libraries in Glasgow?
We have strong links with many other libraries, (especially the Mitchell Library which is our big sister!) but we are a charity separate from the mainstream library system and an independent organization with our own structure.
What is GWL’s ‘Lifelong Learning’ programme?
Glasgow Women’s Library view of Lifelong Learning is – all the possible ways women of all ages and backgrounds can learn whether from attending courses, events, activities and also from each other! All the staff, Board members and volunteers are lifelong learners and we are committed to each of our visitors, enquirers, participants and volunteers getting the most from their contact with us. Learning for us (and for you!) can be getting a qualification, being part of a group visit with us to the Parliament, a museum or somewhere you have never been before, finding out how to use a map or discovering about women’s history, getting more confident about paying bills, watching and discussing a film together or learning how to become a tour guide! There are no limits on what women might want to discover with us and how we can help you do it!
In our Learning Policy the Learning Team have come up with the following definition:
Learning at Glasgow Women’s Library is about increasing women’s confidence, skills, knowledge and understanding and in this way nurturing their desire to learn more.
Do I need to live in Glasgow to be able to access the library materials, courses and activities?
Women from anywhere in Scotland are welcome to access our materials, courses and activities – and you don’t have to live within travelling distance of Glasgow to participate. We can come to you through our National Lifelong learning programme which offers informal workshops and learning sessions to women across Scotland. For more information, contact Morag Smith.
More and more we hope to be able to have visitors use our online resources and input their ideas and get involved with the our broader Library community through website book reviews, comments, the website survey, etc . Why not tell us what you would like to see on the GWL website of the future?
Do you offer any training?
Yes. We have developed a range of bespoke training that we are happy to deliver to groups and organizations, from Reading and Writing for Wellbeing to Developing a women’s walking group. Contact Adele Patrick to find out more about what is on offer or explore our Inspiring Resources.
Free training is also on offer to our volunteers and learners.
Can you help me find a job?
Glasgow Women’s Library is not a regular advice centre or employment agency but one of our aims is to help women find pathways to employment. Many of our learners and volunteers have gone on to paid work linked to the support, training and networks we have provided. If we cannot help directly we will try to connect you to other organizations and support services that may be able to help.
Do I have to become a member of the Library to use it or receive information?
No. Use of the Library and most of our courses, activities, events and learning programmes are free. It is also free to be added to our mailing list. We make it clear in our publicity when there is a fee or payment required. We want everyone to become a borrower so they can enjoy our fantastic materials. Becoming a borrower is free and easy to do and we ask you to this before booking onto courses.
How can I get involved in Women’s Library activities?
There are lots of ways to get involved.
If you want to find out about events, activities, courses, projects or anything else that is up and coming then check out the What’s On pages, call the Library on 0141 248 9969, or pop in to visit us to pick up our programme of events and talk to a member of staff.
When you visit, call, or visit make sure to give us your contact details if you want to be emailed, mailed or called about all the upcoming activities we are planning. Or why not become a borrower to make booking for us and for you as simple as possible?
We are always on the look out for volunteers and current opportunities are always posted on our website.
If you want to get involved in our Literacy programme or BME project then please let us know and we can welcome you aboard!
Some women are involved in the Library who live too far away or for other reasons cannot visit us. Your views, ideas and support is just as welcome as regular visitors. Why not become part of our book reviewing team?
You can also get involved as a supporter. It costs £5 each day to support each learner to access all that we have to offer and we have no funding for core costs: by becoming a Friend of the Library for just £5 per month, you can help support us to continue with our work and to grow as an organisation.
The Learner Forum is the best way to feed in your ideas and energy into our Learning programme.
Can I access books if I’m taking a course at the library?
Yes, you can use our reference collection. For some courses, we will have a collection of reference books specifically for use by women taking that course. You will also be able to borrow relevant books from the lending collection but you will need to become a borrower. The Library staff can show you how.
Do you have books that I can use to help me with my learning?
Yes, the library has a great selection of books, covering topics such as feminism, women’s history, violence against women, lesbian women, women travellers, women in politics, employment and education. There are also lots of fantastic fiction, short stories and poetry to inspire and enjoy.
At the moment, not all of our books are accessible, but there are still lots of books to enjoy. Please come into the library for a look or email the Librarian, Wendy Kirk, for more information. If we don’t have the books that you’re looking for, we can try to find out who does.
Have you got a crèche?
Unfortunately, no, we don’t have a crèche. We are able to support women with childcare in some circumstances (e.g. there are childcare support costs available for women undertaking some of the taught courses we host) so let us know if this would be a barrier for you getting involved.
What is the adult literacy and numeracy service at GWL?
Glasgow Women Library Adult Literacy and Numeracy Service supports women to understand, read and write words and numbers. Women sometimes want support with all areas of literacy and numeracy. Others need help with just one aspect, for example writing job application forms, being more confident about studying or writing their own diary. Most women can manage words and numbers, but lack confidence with this. It is up to you what you would like to learn and practice.
Most of the learning courses, events and activities we programme are aimed at all women regardless of their confidence in their literacy skills: if you want to know more about what is involved in any event we are advertising just ask us.
How can I get help with words and numbers?
You can contact Glasgow Women’s Library yourself or have someone do it for you. This may be a friend or family member or a worker that has been supporting you. Contact Dawn Fyfe at the Library by:
Telephone: 0141 248 9969
Post: 15 Berkeley Street, Glasgow, G3 7BW
What will happen next?
The ALN Development Worker, Dawn Fyfe, will arrange to meet with you to have a chat about what you need. This can be at the library or somewhere you feel more comfortable. After this meeting you will be allocated a tutor who will contact you and arrange a time that suits you for support with your words and numbers.
How often will we meet and how long will I need to attend?
Women usually met with their tutor once a week. This can continue for as long as you feel you need support. A review will take place every 6 weeks to check you still need support.
Every learner in Glasgow Women’s Library ALN service has reviews to make sure you are getting the help you want. This is also a good way to look at how far you have come in your learning. Every learner has an Independent Learning Plan. This is a way to make sure you are in charge of you learning. You will set your learning goals, decide how you want to learn and when you fell it is time to stop meeting your tutor.
How much does the ALN service cost?
It is FREE!
What do I need to bring?
You only need to bring yourself and a wish to learn more. We will even pay your fares!
GWL has a BME women’s project. What does BME mean?
BME means Black Minority Ethnic. It is the term used by a number of public bodies in the UK to describe a person from a visible ethnic minority.
English isn’t my first language, can I still get involved?
Yes, you can take part in the Library activities even if your first language isn’t English. The Library also offers ESOL English classes from beginner’s level to the intermediate / upper level and we encourage women to start by signing up to the classes. At the same time you can take part in other activities of the Library. Our team is very supportive and although we may not be able to provide translation for all the activities (due to limited funding) we will try and assist you in any way we can. Nevertheless we encourage you to get in touch and tell us about the kind of activities you are interested in and we will try our best to accommodate you. What’s worked well in the past is that women who don’t feel confident with their English often bring along a buddy who can converse in both English and their community language. Syma Ahmed, the BME Development worker, speaks Urdu and Punjabi.
Who do I speak to about BME activities?
The person to contact is Syma Ahmed, the BME Women’s Project Development Worker. She works within the remit of the lifelong learning programme to provide a range of activities ranging from arts and crafts projects, film screenings & discussions, group outings/visits to learn about Glasgow and women’s history, recording and celebrating BME women’s history and many other such activities that help BME women further themselves in learning and gain a better quality of life. Women from any background can take part in the BME activities. As well as activities at GWL, Syma can also advise you of other BME organisations and Support Services that can cater for your specific needs and assist with your learning.
Does it cost anything to do courses or attend events at GWL?
Generally no. Most of the programmes we have on offer are free. When we do have to charge for an event or course we make this clear in our publicity or when we are talking to visitors about our programmes. You will be asked when you become a borrower whether you require a concession – this is entirely at your discretion, and you can change your details at any time if your situation changes.
Can I gain a qualification or certificates at GWL?
Yes. Some of the courses we run are in partnership with colleges and universities. Some courses (e.g. the Introduction to Social Science and Care, delivered in partnership with Stow College) are certificated, and some (for example, our Introduction to Family History course) provided students with credits towards their future qualifications. In contrast, many of the opportunities on offer at GWL are focused on informal and integrated learning where women will gain uncredited but important skills such as confidence building, and a growth in experiences, knowledge and skills.
Are all your activities and courses for women only?
No. GWL are funded to provide high quality specialized learning programmes and events for women, however some of our activities and events are mixed. For example, we welcome men on most of our public women’s heritage walking tours and men can come along to many of the book launches and other events in our calendar. Mixed and women only events will always be clearly marked.
Can men join and use the Library?
Yes. The Library is open to all and many of our members and Friends are men! Our key aims include increasing public knowledge and understanding of women’s history, lives and achievements, and providing information on a range of women’s and gender equality issues to all.
We do ask men to be aware that some of the events and courses taking place at the Library are women-only (see above), and to contact us before visiting to check that the collection can be accessed.
We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about the Library, our work, and how you can get involved. If there’s something you can’t find out here or by searching the site, send us a message using the form below.