Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ladies' Reading Room, Maryhill District Library

Ladies' Reading Room, Maryhill District Library (1907)

Ladies' Reading Room, Maryhill District Library 

Location: 1508 Maryhill Road, Glasgow, Scotland

Opened: 1905

Closed: Library still open. But I assume that the Ladies' Reading Room (as a dedicated reading space for women) is long gone.

Commentary from The Glasgow Story:

An impressive display of hats on parade in the ladies' reading room, Maryhill District Library, 1907. It was the policy to provide a separate reading room for ladies at the time, with men given the use of the general reading room.

Maryhill Library today
A free public library had been in existence in Maryhill since 1823, when it was founded by a group of papermakers from Dawsholm Paper Mill. It was financed by charges for lectures and by donations from the local gentry.

A new library in Wyndford Street (now Maryhill Road) was opened in 1905. It is one of the twelve libraries constructed with Andrew Carnegie's gift of £100,000 to the city of Glasgow in 1901. It is also one of the seven of these buildings designed by the architect James R Rhind. Soon after its opening, City Librarian Francis Barrett reported, "that the reading rooms, ... have been fully occupied, and that the juvenile reading rooms are being largely taken advantage of."

Notice how the men had free roam of the "general" (male) reading room, even as a separate reading room was reserved for the ladies. Yet another reminder that men's public space and women's public space are never "equal."

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