By Sharanya Gopinathan
Some people are calling Girls at Library (GAL) a feminist book club, which it is, but it’s also so much more, and all of it is delicious.
Girls at Library is an incredibly satisfying cool new website that dives into the literary lives, reading habits and book recommendations of different kinds of awesome women, not all of whom are writers, but most of whom are connecting to writing, editing or publishing in some way. It’s “about women who read, for women who read”.
The website is sharply and beautifully designed, with lovely photographs of the women, their homes and work spaces, bookshelves, old letters and news clippings. It’s such a beautiful experience just scrolling through the website, but the in-depth interviews on reading are the real catch here: they ask women really nuanced questions about what they read and why they read it, which books turned them into life-long readers, about the details and complexities of their work, their favourite authors and magazines and how they choose what they read.
Each interview throws up something really special. My favourite was one in which a woman came up with the term “Sanity Shelf”, which became a regular question in other interviews too. A Sanity Shelf is apparently the shelf dedicated to books you keep coming back to for knowledge, pleasure and solace. It’s such a lovely term, and it’s really interesting to see what books different women would keep on their Sanity Shelves. Each of the women interviewed recommend three books to readers, and there’s also a resource of feminist titles.
The website was founded by L.A.-based graphic designer Eliza Wexelman and N.Y.C. artist Payton Cosell Turner. They said to Bust, “We wanted to create an online space for women to have relationships with each other that don’t involve brands. [This is about] books and ideas.” There’s certainly something lovely that happens when women come together to create anything for and about women, and Girls at Library is just a wonderful example of this.
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