A new library dedicated exclusively to texts written by women is opening in Vancouver in February.
The Vancouver Women’s Library was founded by Bec Wonders, em laurent, and Andrea Wheeler, three readers – two of them also students – who were inspired by women-run bookstores and presses, the talented women they say they encounter on a daily basis, and by the current paucity and historical denial of women’s spaces.
“Vancouver is filled with amazing women, and we want to provide them with a space that invites them to come as they are, that facilitates communication with each other, and is free from patriarchal and capitalist control,” the library’s founders said in an email to Quill & Quire. “A women-centred network is key to foster the community of literary women in Vancouver and to celebrate the unedited voices and experiences of women.”
The library, located inside the Bakery Gallery on Franklin Street, offers titles ranging from feminist non-fiction classics like Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth and Simon de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to contemporary memoir, poetry, and fiction by authors like Margaret Atwood, Eimear McBride, Rebecca Solnit, and Carmen Aguirre. Essay collections and more academic texts on intersectional issues round out a broad and growing catalogue of books that will be accessible with a flexible donation-based membership.
The endeavour has received much support from the community to date – the library’s collection was built with donations from personal libraries and the University of British Columbia’s Women’s Centre.
When the library opens, hours will be limited to Saturdays and Sundays, but the founders hope to expand into full-time hours, a larger space to accommodate more texts, and programming that will include workshops, reading circles, and more.
The library’s Feb. 3 opening party will feature readings and performances before doors are opened to the public the weekend of Feb. 4–5.