Library makes free and equal access to menstrual supplies “a norm” [Sonoma West]


When Rosalie Abbott began working as a Young Adult Services Librarian at the Sebastopol Regional Library in 2017, she learned something new. 

“High school students, who knew me from my previous work at our local high schools, felt comfortable asking for menstrual supplies when they were in an emergency situation at the library... which turned out to be fairly often,” Abbott said.

“Immediately, I had the idea of creating a space where teens could access these supplies when needed — but the question was how.” 

With a librarian’s thirst for knowledge, Abbott began to research the topic and found Sebastopol teens weren’t the only ones encountering these emergency situations without supplies.

Statistics from a national study for Free The Tampons, an organization promoting freely accessible menstrual items, show 86 percent of women start their period unexpectedly in public without the supplies they need.

“Once I began my research, it became more and more clear that our local libraries might be able to play a more significant role in providing necessary sanitary supplies, just as we provide toilet paper as a convenience for our patrons,” Abbott said.

Out of that concept, Abbott developed the Menstrual Equity Program. In July, with support from her Sebastopol colleagues, she sent the project to the Sonoma County Library management for approval.

With the green light, the pilot project was rolled out in September in five branches of the Sonoma County Library: Central Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Rincon Valley, Sebastopol, and Sonoma Valley.

To read the full article written by E.I. Hillin click HERE

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