The Steinem Sisters Collection: Feminism at TLCPL

Posted on June 14, 2018

by Rebecca S

An exciting new collection is available in the Humanities Department at Main Library!

Introducing – The Steinem Sisters Collection:

In December 2017, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) began working with the Steinem’s Sisters Collective to acquire their lending library when their previous home, the People Called Women Bookstore, changed ownership. The Steinem’s Sisters Collective Lending Library was formed in 2014. It was established to honor Gloria Steinem in her hometown and fill an information and community need. The collection includes a wide variety of feminist resources designed to sustain feminist thought, values, and culture by inspiring learning, spreading knowledge, and strengthening the local feminist community.

Housed in the Humanities Department at the Main Library, The Steinem Sisters Collection celebrates the lives and achievements of women; champions their historical, cultural and political contributions; and strives to provide a welcoming space for women of all walks of life to share their truths. The types of materials we collect are first and foremost “feminist materials” – which are those materials that uphold women’s rights and interests in defining and promoting political, economic, personal, racial and social equality. In partnership with TLCPL’s institutional values, the Steinem Sisters Collection seeks to be welcoming of all the complex and diverse voices that comprise the modern feminist movement; to be innovative in the programming we provide; and collaborative with community members and local women’s organizations in order to broaden the reach of the collection.

Steinem Sisters Temporary Location At Main Library

Above all else, the Steinem Sisters Collection is meant to be useful to our community, to reflect the diverse nature of that community and the way feminism intersects with the various aspects of identity.

Please visit The Steinem Sisters Collection at its temporary location in the Humanities Department at the Main Library. The collection will be accessible by request while the Main Library is closed for renovations and we will have a permanent and dedicated space when Main reopens in 2019!

In the meantime, please keep a look out for some exciting feminist programs we will be hosting throughout the system starting in September.

Why Feminism at the Public Library?


It is a simple word that can provoke a variety of passionate responses. With the introduction of the Steinem Sisters Collection at the Library, it is important that we investigate the question of why and how a public library can participate in critical librarianship in relation to housing a feminist collection and providing related programming.

I think this discussion could start with Dr. Angela Y. Davis who said:

Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. . . Feminism must involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialists, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.

Public Libraries and professionally trained librarians are in a unique position to be engaged in our community, by creating programs, providing access to archival materials and encouraging discovery. Where Davis reminds us that many forms of feminism can give us a way to name multiple forms of oppression, feminism can also liberate us, and provoke us to imagine and name possibilities. Librarians as gatekeepers hold the key to these possibilities for every individual who walk through our library doors.

Feminism can be, and has been, defined in many ways and from all different perspectives. But when I talk about feminism, I’m talking about a lens that makes visible, and gives voice to, the unique and intersecting oppression women experience due to the dominant patriarchal culture; and thus, by naming it and making that oppression visible, feminism in a public library setting allows for the transforming of culture so that women are humanized and treated with the respect owed to all of humanity.

Upcoming Steinem Sisters Collection Programs

Steinem Sisters Collection Opening Celebration

July 9 | 6:00 p.m. | Main Library – Huntington Room

Join us for a night of mixing and mingling as we celebrate The Steinem Sisters Collection! The Steinem Sisters Collection is a feminist collection that explores the lives and achievements of women; champions their historical, cultural and political contribution; and strives to provide a welcoming space for women of all walks of life to share their truths. This collection was made possible due to a generous donation by The Steinem’s Sisters Collective.

Talking Circle With Steinem Sisters Collective

An informal discussion of provocative topics related to feminism. All voices welcome.

Sep. 5 | 6:30 p.m. | Reynolds Corners Branch Library
Topic: What’s at Stake for Feminists in the 2018 Elections

The Steinem Sisters Advisory Board is hosting a Talking Circle on “What’s at Stake for Feminists in the 2018 Elections.” Brief comments by State Representative Teresa Fedor, the acting President of Toledo Area NOW, and leaders of local Indivisible groups will be followed by questioning, answering, and discussing, in the lively, respectful “talking circle” – a tradition encouraged by Gloria Steinem.

Nov. 7 | 6:30 p.m. | Reynolds Corners Branch Library
Topic: Women in Sports with the Toledo Troopers

The Toledo Troopers were a semipro tackle football team established in 1971 and went undefeated for 7 seasons. The Troopers have been referred to as the winningest team in football history, with one member inducted into the Football Hall of Fame. The Toledo Troopers were made up of women who just wanted to play football to the best of their ability. Please join us for a short presentation by three former members of The Toledo Troopers, followed by casual discussion of women in sport.

The Silent Witness Project Exhibit

Oct. 1 – Nov. 2 | During Library Hours | Reynolds Corners Branch Library

The Silent Witness Project uses the stories of girls and women murdered by their intimate partners to increase awareness about the deadly consequences of domestic violence. The Northwest Ohio chapter of the Silent Witness Project memorializes more than 50 such victims–all from our local community. The Northwest Ohio Silent Witness Project is housed and maintained by Bethany House.

Feminist Book Discussion

Oct. 3 | 6:30 p.m. | Reynolds Corners Branch Library
Book to be discussed: “The Power” by Naomi Alderman

Dec. 5 | 6:30 p.m. | Reynolds Corners Branch Library
Book to be discussed: “This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America” by Morgan Jerkins

Want to explore women-centered books and discuss current events surrounding feminism and equality? Join us at the Reynolds Corners Branch for a Feminist Book Discussion. We will read a variety of books, Fiction and Non-Fiction, new and old, that explore the many intersections of women’s lives and events currently shaping our society. This group meets the first Wednesday of every month. Everyone is welcome.

Recognizing Domestic Violence

Oct. 4 | 1:00 p.m. | Waterville Branch Library
Oct. 25 | 6:30 p.m. | Oregon Branch Library

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and TLCPL is partnering with The Bethany House to raise community awareness. Domestic Violence is a serious community issue that can affect anyone from any economic or social status. Join us to learn how to recognize Domestic Violence and what you can do to help those being victimized.

Children and Domestic Violence

Oct. 10 | 6:30 p.m. | Reynolds Corners Branch Library
Oct. 24 | 7:00 p.m. | Maumee Branch Library

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and TLCPL is partnering with The Bethany House to raise community awareness. Domestic Violence has a serious effect on the lives of children, both those suffering from Domestic Violence and those witnessing Domestic Violence in their homes. Please join us to learn more about how these violent crimes can harm children and impact their the rest of their lives.

A Sampling of the Steinem Sisters Collection

My life on the road / Gloria Steinem
Eloquent rage : a black feminist discovers her superpower / Brittney Cooper
Missoula : rape and the justice system in a college town / Jon Krakauer
Reset : my fight for inclusion and lasting change / Ellen Pao
Women who run with the wolves : myths and stories of the wild woman archetype / Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Sharp : the women who made an art of having an opinion / Michelle Dean
Not that bad : dispatches from rape culture / edited by Roxane Gay
Sex object : a memoir / Jessica Valenti
First they killed my father : a daughter of Cambodia remembers / Loung Ung
A room of one's own / Virginia Woolf ; foreword by Mary Gordon
Ain't I a woman : Black women and feminism / by Bell Hooks
The essential feminist reader / edited and with an introduction by Estelle B. Freedman
When everything changed : the amazing journey of American women from 1960 to the present / Gail Collins
Geek girl rising : inside the sisterhood shaking up tech / Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens
The Warrior queens / Antonia Fraser

Related Toledo Library Blog Posts

For the Feminist Curious: A Steinem Sisters Collection Book List

Jane Austen’s Hidden Feminism

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