The Wing's Newest Location Has An Unbelievable Library — & These Are 10 Of The Best Books You Can Find Within It
You may already be acquainted with The Wing, a network of co-working spaces designed for female-identifying individuals with four different locations throughout the United States. The highly Instagrammable spaces offer everything from nursing rooms, beauty areas, cafes, as well as a variety of programming and networking events.
Just last month, The Wing opened its first location outside of New York City in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Similar to its New York City locations, the 10,000 square foot space was designed by architect Alda Ly and interior designer, Chiara de Rege. In addition to The Wing’s signature amenities, the newest location features The Wing's largest library that was developed in partnership with The Strand – housing over 3,000 titles from a diverse array of authors exploring topics ranging from feminist theory, to contemporary women's fiction, and beyond.
“The curation process for a ‘Wing order’ ends up feeling almost magical,” Leigh Altshuler, the Director of Marketing Communications at The Strand, tells Bustle. “Normally, we work under very specific guidelines — color, subject, author, etc, when we build a library. But The Wing was totally open to any book— anything at all — as long as it was written by a female-identifying author, or about a female-identifying subject. That freedom meant collection grew organically and magically into a surprising, fascinating collection of books. Our team scoured every section of the store — fiction, essays, technology, art, kid’s – you name it. There’s a ton of variety, but the final product is a library dedicated to one thing: the ideas of women”.
In a rapidly advancing society that is moving more and more towards digital alternatives, whether it be books or delivery services, libraries have proven that they are needed now more than ever: In a 2016 study by Pew Research, over 50% of millennials have visited a library within the past 12 months. Beyond just offering books, libraries are places of community, support, and free education – where people of all backgrounds and experiences can come together to learn and connect. Although The Wing's library is only open to its members, its purpose still upholds this.
Leigh Altshuler, along with Sky Friedlander, Manager of the Books by the Foot Program at The Strand, shared their top picks from The Wing's D.C. library with Bustle — see them below:
'Cringeworthy' by Melissa Dahl
“When we were first conceiving the collection, authors like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte were first to mind. But as the collection expanded, we discovered hundreds of interesting non-fiction books about all kinds of subjects – like this funny and reassuring book."
'Waiting to Exhale' by Terry McMillan
“Something I love about The Strand is there are books sitting on the shelves, and you’ll walk by them and think, ‘Why haven’t I read that?’ A library has to have its classics, and this is a true, romantic, can’t-miss classic."
'Renoir's Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon' by Catherine Hewitt
“Many of the biographies in the collection focus on lesser-known women whose accomplishments haven’t been given their due. In Renoir’s Dancer, Suzanne Valdon, the famous muse and artist in her own right, can escape the artist’s gaze and go into the spotlight on her own."
'SuperMutant Magic Academy' by Jillian Tamaki
“Comics and graphic novels have exploded in popularity recently, and there are some amazing women pushing the medium forward – -we had to include a few in the library! This loose, funny, and philosophical collection of Tamaki’s long-running webcomic is a lovely example of how much meaning can be packed into just a few sketched-out panels”.
'Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will' by Judith Schalansky and Christine Lo
“A book doesn’t have to be lengthy to be meaningful, nor does it need to be easily categorizable to find a place in your heart. I hope anyone looking through this library finds a strange little book, like this one, that completely surprises them."
'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones
“We’re lucky to have access to new and used books – so this brand new Oprah Book Club pick can sit on the shelf next to a romance novel from the 1920’s. The breadth of time that the library covers is astonishing."
'Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories' by Angela Carter
“Within the collection, you’ll find women grappling with their own personal narratives as well as the stories we all learn by heart. Angela Carter, a queen of magical realism, twists fairytales until they reveal something totally new."
'What Is Africa to Me?: Fragments of a True-to-Life Autobiography' by Maryse Condé
“Virginia Woolf once wrote, ‘If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.’ Our library wouldn’t be complete without a section for memoir and autobiography – women telling their own stories, in their own words."
'Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg' by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik and 'Living My Life' by Emma Goldman
“Because of the Washington, D.C. location, we made sure to include biographies of powerful female judges, activists and politicians who have shaped the United States since it was founded. Books on activists, anarchists, judges, politicians – they’ve all been included."