Explore Our Collections

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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.

The Entire Museum Collection of Glasgow Women's Library is Recognised as a Nationally Significant Collection Awarded by Museums Galleries Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government

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?

Lenthall Rd Workshop International Women's Day poster
Lenthall Rd Workshop International Women’s Day poster

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:

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.

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.

Access to the Archive and Museum collections

Due to a high volume of researchers already accessing the archive, and with our museum curator, archivist and librarian going on a knowledge-sharing trip to Book Bunk in Nairobi, the archive and museum collections will be closed to researchers from 11th October to 4th November. If you have already made an appointment with our archivist, that appointment will still go ahead, but no further appointments will be made until 4th November. Our stores will then be closed for our yearly reorganisation from 2nd December to 31st January.

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. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our collections and can help point you in the right direction with your research. We will aim to answer detailed research enquiries within two weeks; however, with the upcoming closures indicated, we will reply as soon as possible after 4th November. For research enquiries that require more than 30 minutes we will recommend that you pay for our research service.

Please be aware that our collections team receive a high volume of research enquiries especially during the academic year, but will aim to answer your enquiry as soon as possible.