The Women’s Cultural Center’s “Library Support Call”
In 2000, several women gathered to organize the first public celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8) for the first time in twenty years in Tehran’s Book City. Some of the original organizers met again the following year, and the Women’s Cultural Center was ultimately born. International Women’s Day has since brought the joining of newer members and widening of relationships every year. It has also served as a basis for shaping and solidifying the foundations of the Center’s future projects.
In 2003, we celebrated March 8 in Laleh Park. Despite the authorities’ cancellation of our permit to publicly assemble the following year, we staged a “Protesting Violence Against Women” rally in Laleh Park. In 2002, we had decided to focus our energies on combating violence against women and this commitment has provided the basis for many of our activities. We have written expansively on the subject and have conducted workshops and seminars in Tehran and other provinces to publicly address this social problem. Last year, we combined our efforts with other women’s groups and launched a Violence Against Women campaign.
Our objective has been to publicly address and incorporate women’s issues and concerns within the broader social problems of the day. To achieve this, we have formed various groups: The Website Group, the Seminar & Workshop Group, the Health Group, the Legal Group, and finally, the Library Group. Each group has attracted its own team of activists and supporters. The Library project, in particular, has grown as it is the Center’s biggest and most ambitious project to date.
The Library project was conceived in March of 2003 and has seen many ups and downs. Two years later, on March 8, 2005, we are proud to finally be able to launch its public opening.
We have many hopes and dreams for the library. Our first hope is that Iranian women will view the library as their own. In the long-run, we hope to make the library independent of the Women’s Cultural Center, when the group too, will be another client and beneficiary of the library’s existence.
We invite all those who are interested, to help us nurture and build this library. We want the library to host an environment where every new book about women will be celebrated and valued. Our goal is make the library a reflection of the women’s movement in Iran. Towards that aim, we are collecting all visual and textual documents (from women’s groups’ leaflets and pamphlets to books) related to women so that future generations will know its history. We hope that the library will be productive (and not simply a recipient of donations). We want to extract the history of the women’s movement through personal accounts offered by women activists. As such, the Oral History Project will be an important activity of the library. We want the library to contain old photographs from personal photo albums and to preserve and value them in a manner usually reserved for the highly most regarded international documents.
We expect a lot from the library. We expect it to reflect women’s past and present lives, to commit to memory all valuable documents (published or non-published) related to the women’s movement. We want the library to help with students’ research on women’s issues through establishing connections with other libraries and internet sources. We look forward to seeing more and more dissertations on women’s issues coming out every day. We expect the library to take the gift of books to women’s homes in other parts of the city and country (one of our aims is to set up a mobile library in neighborhoods). We expect the library to reserve a section for Violence Against Women and to collect every document, book, article, brochure, and essay on this issue from throughout the world.
This is a tall order, but we know that the women’s movement has the will and capacity to fulfill these dreams within ten years. We are beginning today and asking for your help. To get things going, we are asking you to send us your books, subscribe us to various women’s magazines and web-based libraries around the world, provide us with personal photographs (which we will return to you once we scan them), donate women’s handwritten works, and the pamphlets, announcements, and reports of women’s groups. In fact, we ask that you provide us with any materials which may be of import to future generations. Please invest in the library so that we may all have a stake, and so we may all enjoy and take pride in its growth and development.
To donate books and other material via mail, please send to:
The Women’s Cultural Center
P.O. Box 144335-851
To learn more about the library and our other activities, please refer to: