Skip to main content Skip to local navigation
Home » Our Catalogue » Book Collection

Book Collection

The Nellie Library now has over 21,500 books and is steadily growing. The collection is designed to provide up-to-date resources for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty researchers working in and around gender, feminist and women’s studies. We try to purchase all relevant works in these fields 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 library’s origins, we also have a strong selection of feminist classics from the 1960s and 1970s.

The strength of our collection, like that of York’s gender, sexuality and women’s studies programs in general, lies in the social sciences and the humanities rather than in the sciences or fine arts. Notably, 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 be means of a small grant from Shell Canada Limited).

Most of our material is in various fields related to women, gender, sexuality and women’s studies, and feminism. The collection is mostly written in English, but some is bilingual or in French. We also have books in Greek, Italian, Spanish and German.

When searching for books on topics related to Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, check the Omni database - Nellie Library will be listed in the location. Alternatively, come into the library to view our holdings.


Materials in our library come from many different sources:

The original New Feminist/YWCA collection now recatalogued in the Library of Congress system.

Book purchases made on an ongoing basis from publishers and local bookstores.

Donations by York University-affiliated authors and other donors, often of books received for course use.

Collections of books given as a unit to the library.

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).
  • 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 reorganized their offices in 1999, and much of the material from their resource collection was donated to Nellie.
  • A donation to expand the library's collection on women in the Caribbean was received from Kamala-Jean Gopie.