My WomanTheory story: Ali Hanbury on Adele Patrick

On a rather dreary January day in Glasgow this year I visited the Glasgow Women’s Library. I had heard such great things about this fabulous community resource and was excited to finally be visiting for the first time. Once through the door I felt immediately at ease and was quickly offered a cup of coffee by a smiling woman named Donna who was dressed in purple. My sense of ease soon faded as I became suddenly aware of the rarity of my surroundings. I became energised and stimulated by the books, written by women, lining the walls and decking the shelves. Photos of women were placed amongst them holding their favourite reads with their summary and reflections. A small group sat at a table talking about the library and the groups that meet there. And then, from the busy office at the back of the hall out came Adele. We were introduced and she immediately looked me in the eyes, gave me a warm hug and asked if we’d like a tour of the building. It wasn’t until after I left the library that I was told “Adele has got a PhD” and had previously studied and worked at Glasgow School of Art. In the early 70’s she was involved with the women’s library from it’s launch and has been, as I see it, a dedicated community worker ever since. As someone who has struggled to find a sense of ease in academia, I found it that day in Glasgow Women’s Library; in the most amazing achievements of Adele’s work and the committed and inspired women around her. She matters because she makes me and my focus on the women I work in research feel like we matter too.

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