A group of determined women from the People Called Women bookstore and the Toledo Public Library (TLCPL) worked together to launch a new feminist collection of books called, appropriately, The Steinem Sisters Collection. The collection consists of over 450 books, mostly nonfiction, that explore women's lives and achievements, their history, art, music and culture, and their long-time efforts for equality across race, class, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
I arrived early at the Library for the celebration of the new collection and spent time browsing the books, beautifully presented on the Main Floor. Some of the books were available at the time I created and taught the first Women's History course at the University of Toledo, and it was a pleasure to hold them close. Many more have been written since the rebirth of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, and that is a joy to see, too.
The Steinem Sisters Collective grew out of an ongoing project begun by the People Called Women (PCW) bookstore. I was happy to see Gina Mercurio, a former student of my first course offerings and head of the bookstore for several years before it changed ownership, as well as to meet other members of the Steinem collective and community members interested in the history and stories of women.
"Whether you're a budding feminist or someone interested in feminism, you can find something in this collection that will....inform and enlighten," said Ben Malczewski, TLCPL media relations coordinator. Librarian Rebecca Stanwick noted that the focus of the collection is nonfiction but fiction will be added in time. The original collection consisted of books that Gloria Steinem championed and it evolved from there, adding newer titles and more books by and about Black and Latina women's experiences, for example. (see also Erin Marsh, Book Notes, City Paper, July 17, 2018, p. 24.)
Ohio State Representative Teresa Fedor presented the Library with a proclamation recognizing the collection. She spoke about the importance of making sure women's voices are heard today. To learn more about the Steinem Sisters Collection. call the TPL Humanities Department at 419-259-5218 or visit peoplecalledwomen.com/steinem-sisters. It makes me think that I could maybe donate my women's history books to this collection in the not-too-distant future.