Nellie Langford Rowell Women's Studies Library

Book Collection

Click here for the on-line book catalogue.


The library has had four main sources of books: (1) the original New Feminist/YWCA collection, now recatalogued in the Library of Congress system; (2) book purchases made on an ongoing basis from publishers, and through local bookstores; (3) donations made by York authors and by other donors, often of books received for course use; and (4) collections of books given as a unit to the library. The sources of all the donated volumes are indicated on bookplates. So too are the names of donors who gave contributions to be used to purchase books.  

Significant donated collections include the material gathered by the Lesbian Organization of Toronto (LOOT), the relevant parts of the library of the sociologist Kitty Lundy (donated after her death by her husband, Larry Lundy), and a substantial collection accumulated by York's Centre for Feminist Research (CFR), which decided in 1993 that library resources for women's studies ought to be centralized in the Nellie Langford Rowell Library. The books donated by the CFR included books collected by and in memory of History graduate student Marta Danylewycz.  A collection of books, including a number of books on India, was donated by Jerilyn Manson-Hing after her death.  The Canadian Congress for Learning Opportunities for Women (CCLOW) reorganized their offices in 1999, and much of the material from their resource collection was donated to the Nellie.  Recently we received a donation to expand the library's collection on women of the Caribbean from Kamala-Jean Gopie. 


The library's collection is designed to provide up-to-date resources for undergraduates working in and around women's studies. We attempt to purchase all relevant works published in Canada and a representative sampling of those published in the U.K. and U.S. as well as some from the rest of the world. Because of the origins of the library, we also have a good selection of basic feminist texts from the 1960s and 1970s. We are, like York's women's studies in general, stronger in the social sciences than in the humanities, sciences, or fine arts. However, we have an exceptional collection of material on female spirituality (a 20-page bibliography of 1995 holdings is available and the items listed have since been added to by means of a small grant from Shell Canada Limited).

Since this is primarily an undergraduate library, we prepare bibliographical guides for beginners in the various fields related to women, women's studies, and feminism.

The library purchases only non-fiction books, but we gratefully accept donations of fiction by women. As a result, we have a rather good collection of feminist science fiction and a shelf or so of feminist detective stories. Both can be checked out for a week and renewed once.

Most of the material is in English, but some is bilingual or in French, and we also have books in Greek, Italian, Spanish, and German.

The library now has some 23,500 books and is steadily growing.

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