CityLibrary makes History

On Tuesday, November 27th, CityLibrary will take part in History Day for the first time.

History Day is an annual event at Senate House bringing together libraries, archives and associated organisations to create a programme of drop-in talks and a fair designed to inspire and support researchers.

Poster featuring a woman reading and writing, advertising History Day 2018
History Day 2018

CityLibrary staff will have a stall in the main History Fair displaying items from the City, University of London Archive and Special Collections. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Women in History’ and so our display will focus on the significant impact and achievement of women at City, as well as showcasing some other notable items from our collections.

Since our founding as the Northampton Institute in 1894, City has had a strong association with STEM subjects and our History Day stall will highlight the contributions of alumni such as Shirley Wallis (the first woman to be awarded a Diploma in Technology) and Marjorie Bell (the first female student on the Northampton Institute’s Electronic Engineering course). We’ll also emphasise the crucial role women workers played during World War I and their connection to the Institute. More information on some of City’s Extraordinary Women can be found on the City website.

Notable women feature prominently in The Athenaeum, the forerunner of The New Statesman and we are the proud custodians of a special ‘Editor’s copy’ which features crucial clues as to who wrote many of the anonymous articles published between 1828-1921. We’ve selected several contributions from the likes of Millicent Fawcett and Elizabeth Barrett Browning to feature, plus the early reviews of several novels by the Brontë sisters writing under their pseudonyms: these reviews were featured (uncredited) in a recent BBC documentary series on the family (which is available to watch via BoB).

Staff will also present a range of other fascinating items and ephemera from our Rare Books collections, plus we’ll have some exciting freebies to giveaway too.

Image of postcards and a bookmark including images from the Archive of the College Building and some taken from the Walter Fincham optics collection
Archive freebies featuring images from the Archive and the Walter Fincham optics collection.


History Day is free to attend although the organisers recommend registering in advance. We look forwards to seeing you there and participating in what should be an interesting and engaging event.


The Homeless Period

This winter Library Services raised money to donate sanitary products to Hackney Foodbank.

William, the Hackney Foodbank warehouse manager weighs our donations.

Currently homeless shelters are not provided with money for tampons and towels.  With limited or no access to sanitary products, homeless women are often forced to go without. Homeless Period believes that tampons and towels should be made available through homeless shelters, the same way the government provides condoms. This charity encourages individuals to donate sanitary products to local homeless charities or food shelters.

You can support this great initiative by visiting their website, signing their petition, or donating a tampon.

For homeless women, it really is that dreaded time of the month.

Donations from staff

Staff from Library Services organised a series of events to raise money. They set up a festive bake off, a drop-in Christmas decorations making event, quizzes and  donated money that would have been spent on Christmas cards across all four library locations. Over £100 was raised for sanitary products and other items which Hackney Foodbank needed.

Homeless Period

Hackney Foodbank

Sustainable Libraries

Library Services are keen to support sustainability and the local environment and community. In the past year they have collected books and lent their expertise to growing a children’s school library, pledged to cut non-reusable plastics wherever possible and promoted recycling.

A bake off


Celebrating International Women’s Day at City Library

International women's day logo

Today is International Women’s Day. On this day every year we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women from around the world.

City University is proud of its female staff. Whether they have achieved great successes outside of the workplace or led impactful research on a range of issues that affects people from around the world, they have shown great strength and dynamism and brought value to society. They are an inspiration to us all.

City Library holds many books by inspiring women both from City and from around the world. Their work has brought forth much good and their remarkable stories of achievement inspire and push us all. We hope you check out these items and push the boundaries of what can be accomplished for everyone.

  • Malala Yousafzai is a truly inspiring person. She gained international fame at a young age as a fearless blogger and activist for human rights and female education in Pakistan. In 2012 she survived an attempted assassination which aimed to silence her work. Recovering from that attack, she has since travelled the world advocating for human rights and female education, speaking to world leaders and at the UN. In 2014 she was the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. If you have seen it yet, watch this film or read her book today.
  • Annie Leibovitz is one of the foremost photograph portraitists working today. Famous photos have included the Rolling Stones in their early seventies pomp, the last ever portraits taken of John Lennon and photographs of the Queen. She has inspired a whole slew of photographers since.
  • Professor Susan Gathercole through her long career, Susan has researched specific learning difficulties in children. Focusing on understanding memory problems, she has shown how kids can be supported through training and in the classroom.
  • Chloë Fox was a noted Australian politician. Following her postgraduate study at City, Chloë won a stunning landslide election victory in 2006 in an opposition marginal seat. In 2011 she was appointed SA Transport Services Minister. After she left politics in 2014 she became a teacher. She is just one of the great political success stories from City University. You can find out more about the successes at City from the alumni webpages.
  • J.K. Rowling Astute business women and media mogul, Joanne Rowling is best known for creating the Pottermore Empire single handedly from an Edinburgh coffee shop. An icon to startups everywhere, she understood the key to success in business is having a good story. The company mascot she created, “Harry Potter”, now rivals Bibendum Man and Gio Compario in lists of favourite corporate creations. Since retirement she has tried her hand at writing: one of her books even got adapted by the BBC.

Find out more about International Women’s Day at City University London and the City women who have been achieving the extraordinary since 1894 on our #IWD2016 minisite.