The Gender and Women’s Studies Library may be located on the fourth floor of Memorial Library in room 430, but its presence can be felt far beyond those walls. While the location of the office is sometimes a mystery, the services provided have a long and reputable history.
“We have the gender and women’s studies librarian office that is the physical space, but it’s the home base for all of our services,” explains Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian Karla Stand. “I direct the office, and we have our staff and publications. We also have a non-circulating reference collection in the office.”
The librarian position for Gender and Women’s Studies began in 1977 and Strand is only the fifth to fill the spot.
“The UW has made this fantastic commitment to allow us to encourage this effort that is dedicated to gender and women’s studies scholarship and librarianship,” notes Strand. “My four predecessors have done this amazing job building reputations around the country and around the world. Their work has generated great partnerships and relationships, helping to make our office well-known and unique. We are very fortunate to have these cornerstone relationships that have led to our success.”
Another unique aspect of this unit is the three publications it produces. Feminist Collections is a review publication, Feminist Periodicals is a table of contents covering more than 100 gender and women’s studies focused journals. Lastly, the New Books on Women, Gender, and Feminism is a bibliography listing every new book published in the discipline.
“When we started that 30 and 40 years ago, it was very radical. It was really difficult to try and see what was out there because people were doing less research in this area plus it wasn’t its own discipline,” Strand says. “Now things are being published by the hundreds every year in this area so it has become a very big project for us.”
Engaging with these publications is not the only way to access to the services offered by this office.
“Virtually is probably the main way people come across what we are doing, who we are and our services. We are making a strong push to increase our social media presence, given that it provides such a great opportunity for outreach,” Strand explains. “We’re putting in a lot more effort to broaden our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr audiences, as well as branching out into Instragram. We’re also working on a much needed overhaul to our website in order to better serve our users.”
While the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian’s office is located at UW-Madison, the office serves the entire UW System. Strand says she continues to work to make sure Office of Gender and Women’s Studies a great resource that meets the needs for those interested in gender and women’s studies librarianship, scholarship, and education.
Hours and more information can be found here.