Free menstrual products are now available to all patrons at Chapel Hill Public Library.
As part of its effort to create an equitable and welcoming environment for all, the library installed coinless period product dispensers in each of its five public restrooms. Pads and tampons are accessible to patrons of all ages and genders without cost.
Recognizing the diverse needs of the Chapel Hill community, the library has taken this step to support individuals facing economic challenges, help reduce stigma associated with period products, particularly for transgender or non-binary patrons, and allow all patrons to access period products without leaving the library.
Library Experiences Assistant Taylor Bugge, who spearheaded this initiative, said, “Menstrual products are expensive. In North Carolina and many other states they are taxed on top of their retail price as ‘luxury goods.’ Providing these products may be the difference between whether a patron can stay at the library to take advantage of our resources and programs, or missing out on these experiences due to a lack of access.”
“Providing free period products is part of our ongoing effort to truly make this library a place for everyone,” Library Director Susan Brown said. “One of our organizational values is hospitality and we aim to anticipate the needs of our users. Pads and tampons are a need for so many who visit us and offering them free of charge demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a comfortable and inclusive environment for all who visit.”
The dispensers were installed on May 2 and feature products with sustainable, plastic-free packaging, further aligning the library’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
Chapel Hill Public Library joins a growing number of libraries, schools, and other public organizations across the nation that have implemented similar initiatives, recognizing the importance of providing free access to period products.
By taking this step, the library hopes to inspire other institutions to follow suit and create more inclusive spaces for their communities.
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