Space to inspire women

2015-10-27 06:00
Chief librarian Beryl Eichenberger loses herself in a book at the Women’s Zone Library Hub, a space in the Artscape building which houses books on women’s interests and by women authors.

nicole mccain

Chief librarian Beryl Eichenberger loses herself in a book at the Women’s Zone Library Hub, a space in the Artscape building which houses books on women’s interests and by women authors. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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Books for, by and about women.

This is the aim behind the Woman Zone Library Hub, where books will be kept to inspire and educate women. The book topics will cover a vast range of women’s interests, skills and achievements.

“What we’re all about is embracing,” says chief librarian Beryl Eichenberger. “That means embracing cultures, religions and race. At heart, we’re all the same.”

Thought to be a first for Cape Town, if not for South Africa, the library has taken its lead from the Glasgow Women’s Library, which has a 21-year history, includes lending facilities and collections of artefacts and is run entirely by volunteers.

Based on the ground floor of Artscape, the library is currently only a reference library and doesn’t lend out books.

But it is a safe, welcoming space to read, learn and source information, Eichenberger says.

“We’re giving people who haven’t had an opportunity to access books that opportunity. We’re bringing women together,” she says.

It’s a project of Woman Zone, a movement designed to bring together all women from the Mother City’s cultural kaleidoscope, share stories and experiences and highlight their achievements, and is run by volunteers. The 600 books in the library have been catalogued and categorised by an experienced team of former librarians, Eichenberger says.

“We encourage people to come here during their lunch hours and read. We’ll bookmark the page you were reading and record it, so that next time you can carry on,” she says.

The library hub is designed as a centre where women can come not only to read but to hold small workshops, book launches, poetry readings or meetings and is the regular venue for a book club and beauty therapy training, Eichenberger says.

But she hopes the space will grow even more.

“This is a unique space devoted to women’s interests. It’s a space to come and mix with others, to bridge the cultural divide, discuss, share and learn,” she says.

The library is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 11:00 to 14:00, or by appointment.


For more information email library@­woman­ or visit Women Zone CT on Facebook

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