The Women's Library

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About the library

The Women's Library holds the most extensive collection on women's history in the UK. The majority of materials cover women in the UK but there are some international materials. It covers a wide range of subjects: women's rights, suffrage, sexuality, health, education, employment, reproductive rights, the family and the home. The collections contain scholarly treatments of the subjects but also biographies, popular works, government publications and fiction.

Records for the collection of periodicals are also available which include suffrage periodicals, 2nd wave feminism publications and commercially published magazines from the nineteenth century 'English Women's Journal' to currently published magazines such as 'Marie Claire'. There are also records for journals from women's organisations, networks and campaigns.

Records available on Copac include those from some of the special collections. The Cavendish Bentinck collection has been donated by 'outstanding women of their time' and shows the contribution women have made to literature and learning and the position of women throughout history. The Josephine Butler Society Library was built to support the campaigns against the state regulation of prostitution in the 19th century. It includes the society's campaign literature and business papers, works on sexology and psychology and works on the trafficking and slavery of women.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availability on Copac? Yes. The Copac local holdings display will tell you if a document is currently on-loan, reference only etc. as well giving you local location details.

Can I obtain items via Inter Library Loan? No - the collections are reference only and the library does not participate in the Interlibrary loan system.

Can I visit the library to view materials? From 1 August 2013 until the completion of the new reading room, The Women's Library service will operate from LSE Library's existing Archives Reading Room. Access to The Women's Library @ LSE will be free and available to all those who need to use the collections for their research.

How do I find primary source material held at this institution? Visit the Women's Library's contributor page at the Archives Hub for information.


The Women's Library at LSE data on Copac

Example record from the Women's Library at LSE:

Title: A vindication of the rights of woman : with strictures on political and moral subjects / by Mary Wollstonecraft.
  Published: Dublin : printed by J. Stockdale for James Moore 1793

You can browse all the titles on Copac starting with the above title.