Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Your generous contribution to The Vancouver Women's Library has helped us grow beyond our wildest dreams. In February 2017 we started inside an art studio with 80 women-authored books.
A lot has happened since then...
Our dreams became a reality thanks to you
We apologize for the glacial pace in sending this email. You have been with us since February and we are so grateful for all of the support.
Thanks to your donations and efforts, in words and resources, we have been able to operate The Vancouver Women's Library for six months now. This is all because of your generosity, belief, kindness, and love. Because of you and your belief in supporting an independent, grassroots feminist project we have grown, and we will continue to grow.
We moved to a bigger, better space
In the beginning, we were situated in a 100 ft2 artist studio, shared with other artists and artisans. Our space was not wheelchair accessible, our shelves were built with cinderblocks and there was barely any room to move. Despite the size of our project, women in Vancouver were excited about what it represented: a space for women to think freely, to build community, to share in their passion for literature. A feminist space. In a world where women's bookstores, presses, and feminist public spaces are far and few, the VWL offered a potential for women to gather.
And together, we did a lot with it:
We have moved on from the traumatic event of the library's opening, although we are still dealing with the repercussions. As many of you know, during the evening of our launch women were held hostage in their own space. The response from our community (you!) both near and far has been incredible. Our new space is a beautiful storefront in East Vancouver, housing an upward of 2000 books, many of which were donated by our community members/supporters from all over. We have built shelves and tables, purchased benches, coffee machine (for our free café), we have a private bathroom and a backroom for storage (which we hope to renovate in the near future).
Many women showed interest in volunteering and quickly became community librarians.
We began as two young women, attempting to build something from the ground up. We did not anticipate this kind of expansion when we began as a tiny project. Now, we are collaborating with many other women, especially those who have been with us since day one: women who have stood by us in the face of attack and who continue to share their labour, ideas, friendship and care, many taking on leadership roles. In addition to our core women, we have many new volunteers who are eager to get involved and evolve their role, bring ideas to fore and keep our doors open to the public.
You've helped us organize and facilitate many events!
As a community space, we will continue to foster an accessible (free or by donation), low-barrier and inclusive space, for all women in the greater Vancouver community to organize, collaborate and build unity.
Women learned about their Hormonal Health
Emma filled the library with curious women during her workshop on holistic hormonal health. She is a lesbian holistic birth and postpartum Doula, based in Vancouver, B.C. working through her business to educate and guide women through their hormonal and reproductive lives and beyond.
Terri Strange gave drop-in Tarot readings
All the way from Portland, OR, Terri Strange has filled the library with many women and witches.Terri is a radical lesbian feminist, witch and Youtuber. She has been reading tarot for 5 years and practicing magick most of her life. Her work is eclectic and draws from working with various incarnations of the dark goddess. Her reading style focuses on uncovering personal mysteries and understanding the unconscious motivations that drive us away from our purpose.
We hosted weekly film screenings
Our spring/summer film schedule was envisioned and programmed by the cinematic mind of Yaz Ebrahi. Films vary from documentaries to dramas, all with the purpose of highlighting women's achievements in global cinema.
Stick n' Poke Flash Tattooing at the Library
Our first guest tattoo artist was the talented Stéphanie Chevrier who adorned many women with her work! She is a nature lover who gathers much of her inspiration from the beauty of the West Coast. She was initially drawn to the gentle practice of machine-free tattooing as a way to explore different mediums of creating and to make her art more accessible.
Women came together for textile workshops
Subversive Stitch was a two-day collective quilting workshop for the purpose of exchanging knowledge on stitching, embroidery, and weaving. While listening to recorded texts from the library’s archive, together we will construct a quilt inspired by female authors for use in the library. This project is still ongoing!
We couldn't believe our eyes when we received a handwritten letter from Margaret Atwood!
A sight for sore eyes: hundreds of fiction books, all written by women, adorn our women-made shelves. The library is constantly expanding and more bookshelves are coming home to adequately hold and display women's words.
A first iteration of the many genres of women's writing. We are continually working with our collection, expanding genres as needed!
Why Do You Need A Women's Library?
These proclamations are quickly filling the walls of our bathroom.
We finally have a couch! A long time coming: bookwomen can now finally put a leg up while sipping coffee, reading a book or simply chatting with women.
Moving Forward: What Are Our Plans?
We plan to host a Neighbourhood Open House / Rummage Sale this August to further get to know and invigorate our neighbouring communities!
We wish to expand our collection to include multilingual materials, particularly languages represented in our immediate surroundings.
Opening an online shop for tote bags, pins, extra copies of books, tshirts, women's goods, and more!
We hope to begin online content production, such as a blog, as well as launching a Facebook page this month.
Starting a chess club for girls, and other after-school activities such as homework tutoring or other mentoring programs, including self-defense workshops!
A regular reading series/group for intellectual agitation is already in the works!
We are working on the process of structuring ourselves as a Co-operative. If our community has any ideas/insights to share, we would be so grateful.