I’m not sure whether I saw it on Facebook or Yelp but somehow last week I heard that Glasgow Women’s Library would be throwing a free book party in celebration of World Book Night. Um, yes please? Sign me up.
When I got my ticket I still thought that the Women’s Library was based at Glasgow’s Mitchel Library. Well, it was once, but it’s moved around a lot in the last 25 years since it was first set up. It now has it’s permanent premises in Bridgeton near the Eastern end of Glasgow Green. I had further to walk than I’d expected (I should probably have got on the train but I was already going to be in the city centre for Ladies Who Lift so I was basically half way there already).
Glasgow Women’s Library is a grass roots charitable organisation and the only one of it’s kind in Scotland. As a lending library its focus is on women writers, feminism, the suffragette movement, LGBTQIA+ stories, and so on. However, it also has a carefully curated collection of artefacts and archive materials. It runs literacy programmes and works to improve adult education – empowering women is one of the key aims of the library and that empowerment is achieved through learning.
That all sounds wonderful to this hippy feminist. Yet somehow I’d never made it to the library. In the past this was because of its restrictive opening hours – it used to only be open when I was at work. It’s now open late on Thursdays and it opens on Saturdays too, so I can visit more often. I’ve signed up for a library card, so I have a feeling that this will happen.
On this occasion when I showed up I was greeted by a friendly, but quiet women who asked me to make a note of my name for their records and then I was ushered to an empty seat among a group of women who were already waiting for the event to begin. I was offered tea and cake. I was offered a free copy of Too Good to be True by Ann Cleeves as well as a mysterious “lucky dip” book – I got Where You Find it by Janice Galloway – and I was given an information pack, mostly about other Library events.
Soon we heard a series of readings from library volunteers and guests. I’m hoping that they’ll put the titles online soon, I know the first reading was from an Amy Tan book but I don’t remember which one and I immediately forgot the other titles (I was not prepared to take notes). They seem to have a relatively active tumblr, so I’ll keep an eye on that.
After the readings we had a quick book quiz, with a bunch of tulips and a bundle of books handed out to the winner (not me: I only got about 10 our of 15 questions right). Then people were free to chat, to have a look at the exhibits and books and to sign up for membership if they hadn’t already. When I signed up I was told I was allowed to borrow books that same day if I wanted to but, having already been given two books I thought I’d better at least try to read those first. Even so, I’m already looking forward to going back.