My Experience at the Glasgow Women’s Library

Ella has spent a week volunteering with us. In this post, she describes her time at the GWL.

I’m an avid book reader. Always have been, always will be. There is nothing I enjoy more than reading books – well, actually, buying books is pretty enjoyable too. Anyway, books are my world. So when my school said I should complete a week of work experience, of course I wanted to do it in a place surrounded by books.

After searching high and low for ideas, I was recommended to try the Glasgow Women’s Library. At the time, I had absolutely no idea who they were. But I was open to the suggestion. Upon looking on their website, scrolling through pages and pages of information, it was settled. I would apply to volunteer. Looking back now, aren’t I glad I did!

Before my first day, I was warned there would be no heating as the boiler was needing replaced. That’s fine, I thought, I’ll just wrap up warm. We live in Scotland, after all. How bad could it really be? Well, bad it was. The whole building was freezing! But I wasn’t going to let the cold temperatures stop me from having a good week. Wearing my warmest clothes each day, including three pairs of socks layered over each other, I prevailed through. (It also helped being wrapped in a blanket, and hugging a hot water bottle while I was in the office.)

I want to be a fiction writer later in life, so Gabrielle set me up with some great writing tasks. Over the course of the week I was to write blog posts for the website (this one included). To some that might not sound interesting, but to me it was great. Anyway I could practice and develop my writing, I was up for. So, I blogged. I made posts about the books I loved and recommended; I advertised the new books the library had to offer; I even wrote a book review.

I didn’t just write blog posts though. I also got to shadow two volunteers at the front of house. The library was quite quiet that day, so one of the volunteers showed me how the library catalogues their books. This was certainly an interesting thing to learn. And it’s also a different system from other libraries!

On my second last day, I attended the Story Café – an event where women can come and listen to stories, have a chat with one another and have a nice afternoon. It was also Book Week Scotland so the theme for this Story Café was ‘Blether’. A comedian, Lubna Kerr, shared some of her comedy and stories about her life. Two poems were also read out, one in Urdu and one in English. The Urdu poem was translated by the poet’s daughter every-so-often during the reading, so people like me who do not speak Urdu could enjoy the poem. But I thought that was quite a nice idea, having this women read out her own poem in her language. It shows the inclusive-ness of the library, as it doesn’t limit anyone, for any reason. And hey, I learned a little Urdu poetry!

Later that evening there was another event, a creative writing competition called ‘Bold Types’. Shortlisted entrants who had made it to the final round read aloud their works in front of the judges. I, wanting to be an author, found this event amazing. Poems and short stories were read aloud, and feedback was given afterwards to each writer. It was great to hear other writers share their work, and I must say each entrant wrote something truly entertaining.

This week has been a great week. I’ve met and had a chat with many lovely women, and I’ve experienced a delightful dynamic with the people who work at the GWL. This is an experience that I will never forget. The GWL is a fascinating place. And not to mention the wonderful group of women who work and volunteer here. Friendly and inclusive, I never felt like I wasn’t welcome. The work they do here is amazing, celebrating and encouraging women from all over. I highly recommend stopping by the GWL and see for yourself just what it is all about. You’ll never regret it.

As my week at the Glasgow Women’s Library comes to a close, I know for certain I will miss the people of GWL, however not the cold temperatures! And although I am leaving the Glasgow Women’s Library today, I’m sure I’ll be back. Maybe in the future my books will feature on their shelves…

One Comment

  • Posted 22nd November, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I am convinced your books will one day feature on the GWL shelves! You write so well Ella! Thank you for taking everything in your stride this week and for bearing with us. See you soon, Gabrielle x

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