For immediate release | March 5, 2012

Join COSWL March 29 as it celebrates National Women’s History Month

CHICAGO - March is National Women’s History Month, and the American Library Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL) and Northwestern University Libraries (Ill.) will be celebrating by co-hosting a discussion of "Right Here I See My Own Books: A History of the Woman's Library at the Chicago World's Fair, 1893." Led by authors Sarah Wadsworth and Wayne Wiegand, the event will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Room RB150, of the Northwestern University School of Law, Arthur Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago.

This discussion supports the National Women's History Museum (NWHM). The Women's Library was put together by women and consists of works written only by women for the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Wadsworth states, "The materials in the Woman's Building Library emanated from 40 American states and territories, the District of Columbia and 23 foreign countries, distributed across four continents. Between May and October 1893, hundreds of thousands of people (especially women) passed through this library, and marveled at the extent of the collection (7,000 volumes)." The ALA had a major role in helping to put this exhibit together. NWHM's mission "affirms the value of knowing Women's History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future."

National Women’s History Month traces its origins back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was later observed in 1909. In 1981, the U.S. Congress designated the second week of March National Women's History Week, and in 1987 Congress expanded it to a month-long observance.

During the entire month, the ALA Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL) will recognize and celebrate women’s historic achievements with National Women’s History Month. The observance also provides an opportunity to honor women within our families and communities.


Lorelle R. Swader