The Library is a unique resource in Scotland, housing a huge collection of materials by, for and about women.
An accredited museum, lending library and archive, the Library holds a rich and diverse collection of books, artefacts and archives exemplifying the lives of women, charting their historical and contemporary achievements and contributions, all donated by users, supporters, members and publishers.
Glasgow Women’s Library is the only Accredited Museum dedicated to women’s history in the whole of the UK, and in December 2015 we were also designated as a ‘Recognised Collection of National Significance’.
Our collection of books, museum artefacts and archives, like our wide array of public events, is open to all.
What will you find at the Library?
The lending library collection contains books on a broad range of subjects relating to women’s lives and experiences, and a wonderful selection of fiction and poetry by women writers.
The archive and museum collections contains diverse and rich collections of books, archive materials and objects (including posters, banners, photographs, artworks, t-shirts, postcards and badges) from the nineteenth century to the present day.
Find out more about:
A BSL Introduction to Our Collections
Find out how to access our library, museum and archive collections and what you might find as you begin to explore them in this short BSL introduction. More information about GWL in BSL, including an in-depth exploration of our collections, is available on our BSL video page.
Search our catalogues
Each section of the Library has a separate catalogue, where you can search for specific items or different topics. You can also log into the Lending Library Catalogue with your borrower’s card to see your borrowing history and renew books online.
Please be aware that the archive and museum catalogues are a work in progress, and currently contain only a fraction of the Library’s collection, while new books are added to the lending library catalogue all the time. We’re working on a way to enable you to search the museum and archive catalogues together – you can try this custom search here, but if it doesn’t give you any results, please try the individual catalogue searches as well! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact the Library.
Access to the Archive and Museum collections
The archive and museum collections store is accessible by appointment only.
Please contact us to arrange an appointment to access the archives, giving at least 3 weeks notice. We receive a high volume of research requests and our capacity for researchers is limited, though we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone.
Please note that the archive and museum collections will be closed to researchers in December 2023 and January 2024 to allow us to carry out essential work. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our collections – please contact us. We aim to answer research enquiries within 15 working days. For enquiries that require more than 30 minutes we recommend that you enquire about our research service. You’ll find more information here.
Whether you have a specific research request, have something in particular that you wish to see, or are more generally interested in our collections, please contact the Library.
Reading Ideas and Archive Gems
The collections team is dedicated to opening up the library collection to as wide an audience as possible. In Reading Ideas, our librarian Wendy Kirk and her volunteers, along with library users, pick out books old and new to inspire and challenge you.
In From the Archive, our archive team explore some of the fascinating and unique items to be found in the archive collections.
We’re also looking for your book recommendations – let us know what books have inspired you!
Add to our collection!
Donations are always very welcome, as the entire collection has been built up with donated material. Find out more about how to donate books and other materials to the GWL collection.