Glasgow Women's Library: 27 Years of Changing Minds

Glasgow Women's Library

A brief history of the UK's only Accredited Museum dedicated to women's lives, histories and achievements.

Women in Profile was set up in 1987 with the aim of ensuring the representation of women's culture during Glasgow's year as the European City of Culture in 1990.

From Women in Profile, Glasgow Women's Library was born. On 21st September 1991, GWL opens its doors for the first time in a small shop front in Garnethill.

This image shows the interior of the GWL premises in Garnethill.

The GWL collections grew through the sheer generosity of users, members and supporters. All the objects in the GWL Collections are donated, making them unique, special and diverse. This anti-suffrage postcard was created circa 1908 and was donated to GWL by a visitor.

GWL makes its first move in 1994, relocating to 109 Trongate in Glasgow city centre to accommodate increased collections, learning activities and user numbers.

As well as growing our collections from donations by individuals, the GWL collections have also grown with the relocation of entire collections to our stores.

This mug was produced by the London-based Lesbian Archive and Information Centre to raise funds for the organisation. The entire LAIC Collection relocated to GWL in 1995.

In 1996, GWL starts to produce a quarterly newsletter.

In 1999, GWL is commissioned by Glasgow City Council to produce a report looking at 'Poverty and Social Exclusion of Lesbians and Gay Men in Glasgow.'

In 2001, GWL's innovative Lifelong Learning project receives funding for the first time, enabling the organisation to provide a resourced, expanded range of learning opportunities, events, courses and activities for women.

Donations to the GWL collections continue to increase. This coin was produced in 2003 to commemorate the foundation of the Women's Social and Political Union in 1903.

In 2006, GWL relocates to temporary premises at 81 Parnie Street. The collection is put into storage, as can be seen in this digital image.

IN 2008, GWL launches the 'Women on the Shelf' fundraising initiative, which enables individuals and organisations to sponsor a Library section, shelf or book and dedicate it to a woman of their choice.

In 2010, GWL achieves full accreditation as a Museum by the Museums Libraries Archives Council.

It's a long way from the small shop front in which the organisation began...

In 2010, GWL move to 15 Berkeley Street, the former Anderston Library space in the Mitchell Library.

In 2013, GWL finally relocates to a permanent home in Landressy Street, Bridgeton.

GWL continues to receive donations of collection items that document the lives, histories and achievements of women.

In May 2018, it is announced that GWL is a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018.

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