Three Decades of Changing Minds: Marking 30 Years of Glasgow Women’s Library

Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) celebrated its 30th anniversary in September 2021. As we now enter our fourth decade, we are thrilled to be recipients of a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a two year project to interpret, safeguard and share our own 30-year heritage, and enable us to ‘look back to move forward’.

Shelves and tables in the 109 Trongate premises, 1990s
Glasgow Women’s Library’s second premises at 109 Trongate, 1990s

Since 1991 GWL has grown from an unfunded, grassroots group into a renowned heritage resource: delivering thousands of events, supporting thousands of volunteers, and in a sequence of spaces that have impacted on many hundreds of thousands of people locally, nationally and internationally.

Glasgow Women’s Library is a unique organisation that aims to increase the knowledge and understanding of women’s history, lives, and achievements in all their complexity and diversity. As the UK’s sole Accredited Museum dedicated to women’s history, and a Recognised Collection of National Significance, we also house an extensive lending Library and deliver innovative programmes of public events and learning opportunities.

As GWL’s origins and earlier work become increasingly historic, and public interest in them as a model grows, this project – Three Decades of Changing Minds – will ensure that our institutional knowledge and own heritage is not at risk of being lost and is made available for wider public benefit. It will involve many people, including past and current volunteers, while bringing GWL to new audiences. Raising awareness of key change-making milestones in our history, it will inspire the work of both established and emerging heritage and cultural projects, and will help GWL to respond to the increasing ‘ask’ of our organisational ‘elders’ to share knowledge about who we are and how we function.

The key components of this project include:

  • The recruitment of an additional Archivist to augment our current Collections Team to appraise, catalogue, digitise and make accessible GWL’s organisational records.
  • The recruitment of a Project Coordinator to lead the project.
  • A fully revamped and redesigned website to enable wider sharing of our history, and to take us into the future.
  • A series of online and in person events and displays, encouraging visitors, volunteers, donors, partners and our whole team to be active in discovering, taking ownership of, learning from and sharing our institutional knowledge.

Three Decades of Changing Minds will publicly mark 30 years of a ground-breaking organisation that has informed and responded to equalities agendas. It will illustrate the core values at the heart of GWL, and encourage wider ownership, awareness and participation.

“The story of Glasgow Women’s Library is an inspiring one that we want to share with others. We are proud that from the grass roots we have given rise to a unique, values-led institution that has grown into an influential model for the museums, library and archive sector.  Glasgow Women’s Library has prioritised conserving, promoting and showcasing the hidden histories of others but this grant will ensure its own heritage is safeguarded and made accessible. Our heritage speaks to many of the key challenges, not just of the past 30 years, but of today and the future, whether about whose culture is represented or how people can make cultural organisations their own. Taking time to reflect is often a luxury many organisations feel they cannot afford but this funding will enable us to do just that.”

Dr Adele Patrick, Co-founder and Director of Creative Development, Delivery and Engagement, Glasgow Women’s Library.

We are now seeking two new team members to join our dynamic team, and take this project forward: a Project Coordinator, and a Project Archivist.

Made Possible with Heritage Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players

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