7 Days Remaining

Saturday 4th
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

A FEMINIST library earmarked for closure was given a further six months by its council landlord yesterday after continuous protest from local residents.

The Feminist Library in south London has been threatened with closure since Southwark Council decided to nearly triple its rent last year.

But, thanks to thousands-strong petitions and demonstrations, the institution, which has been open for 30 years, can now stay at its Westminster Bridge Road premises until the end of October.

Library volunteer Sarah O’Mahoney said the group did not want to leave their “home,” but said: “There seems to be no alternative.”

She added: “We have a struggle ahead to find somewhere suitable, but we are determined to succeed in the fighting spirit of the feminist movement.

“We look forward to a new chapter, and we hope that Southwark Council will carry through with its offers of support.”

The council, which recently “regenerated” the borough’s Elephant and Castle area at a cost of £3 billion, has not provided the international archive with premises below the local average market rent of £18,000 a year.

Beverley Robinson, who chairs the nearby Aylesbury estate’s residents group, said she “recognised the challenges” faced by the Feminist Library.

“None of the Aylesbury leaseholders will be able to remain in the area under the terms we are being offered by Southwark Council,” she added.

“We therefore understand the plight the Feminist Library is enduring.”

A summer benefit event for the Feminist Library is being held on July 2 to raise funds for new premises.

Writer Ali Smith will show her support for the archive by reading passages from her new book Public Libraries and Other Stories at the event, which will mark the start of Anti-Gentrification Week.