The Steinem Sisters Collection

. July 3, 2018.
Rebecca Stanwick, TLCPL librarian, introduces one of over 400 new feminist book titles.
Rebecca Stanwick, TLCPL librarian, introduces one of over 400 new feminist book titles.

With the widespread discussion of the Time’s Up Movement and #MeToo, the addition of the Steinem Sisters Collection to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) is relevant and timely. The extensive feminist collection “explores the lives and achievements of women, champions their historical, cultural and political contribution and strives to provide a welcoming space for women of all walks of life to share their truths. The Steinem Sisters Collection, currently has over 400 titles, most of which are nonfiction, was made possible due to a generous donation by The Steinem’s Sisters Collective, an ongoing project by the People Called Women bookstore. After renovations later this year, the library hopes to add fiction titles.

Feminist relevance

While the events of today make this feminist collection pertinent, Ben Malczewski, TLCPL media relations coordinator, points out that feminism has “always been important. It is alive. It’s a lens, it’s a gaze, it’s a viewpoint that’s alive. [Feminism] pops in and out of relevance— it just happens to be highlighted by the media at the moment–and that’s a great time to embrace it so people can learn from it.”
“Whether you’re a budding feminist or someone casually interested in feminism . . . you can find something you’re interested in [with this collection] and it can evolve your thinking,” continues Malczewski. “The goal at the library, as public educators, is to enlighten our readers.”
Rebecca Stanwick, TLCPL librarian, explains, “The focus is nonfiction…and when we [received] the collection from The Steinem Sisters Collective [after People Called Women changed ownership], our job was to fill in the blanks.”
The original collection consisted of books that Gloria Steinem championed and that influenced the Steinem Sisters Collective, so there was a plethora of second-wave feminism titles. “We added a lot of third-wave, Black and Latina feminism,” explains Stanwick. “We have a finite space, so we had to be selective. I’m looking at [the collection] as a living entity, and we wanted to add the most recent books with the widest appeal for a diverse community.”

Fulfilling the mission

TLCPL sees the addition of this collection as fulfilling part of the library’s mission to engage all parts of the community, inspire lifelong learning, and “provide universal access to a broad range of information, ideas, and entertainment.” Malczewski expands, “[The collection] is a great ‘one-stop shop’ for a fully fleshed-out perspective on the subject of feminism…so we can showcare the cultural, historical and political contributions of feminism. You can go into this space and immerse yourself in this area of study.”
TLCPL will host a launch party for the opening of the Steinem Sisters Collection at the Main Branch on Monday, July 9 at 6PM. Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be offered and guests can meet the members of the Steinem Sisters Collective, who donated the collection, to discuss and learn about this new collection. Ohio State Representative Teresa Fedor will be presenting the Library with a proclamation recognizing the collection.

To learn more about The Steinem’s Sisters Collective, visit