Women's Library and Information Center (ISTANBUL)

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Istanbul foundation established for the preservation of the history of women.

The Women's Library and Information Center (Kadin Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi) was established in Istanbul as a foundation by Asli Davaz Mardin, Sirin Tekeli, Jale Baysal, Füsun Akatli, and Füsun Ertug-Yaras. It opened on 14 April 1990 in a historic building owned by the Istanbul municipality and overlooking the Golden Horn. The foundation declaration stated that the purpose of the library was "to gather knowledge about the history of women, to present this information in an organized way to those who do research today, and to preserve the written documents of the past and of today for future generations." A general board administers the library and an executive board, elected annually, directs its activities. The library has a collection of more than 8,500 books written by or about women; Ottoman, Turkish, and some foreign-language periodicals on women; more than 1,300 articles in women's studies; a collection of newspaper clippings since 1990; a collection of ephemera; a special collection to preserve the personal documents of women, including those presented by Hasene Ilgaz, Müfide Ilhan, and Süreyya Agaoglu; a collection on women artists and their works; a collection on women authors; an audio-visual collection; and an oral-history collection.

The library operates as a center of feminist activism, organizing women's exhibitions and special events, and cultivating international links to extend its feminist networks. It has helped to legitimize and institutionalize second-wave feminism in Turkey. In 1991 the library organized the First International Symposium of Women's Libraries in Istanbul. It has generated projects on women's oral history and women's publications.

The library is financed by donations made by its members and by the sale of its publications and annual diaries. It has cultivated amicable relations with different political parties that came to power in the Istanbul municipality, including the pro-Islamists, and has received some support on certain projects from the Turkish government and the Global Fund for Women.

see also gender: gender and education; tekeli, sirin;turkey.


Davaz-Mardin, Asli. "The Women's Library in Istanbul." Gender and History 12 (2000): 448466.

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Women's Library and Information Center (ISTANBUL)

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Women's Library and Information Center (ISTANBUL)