Kingston library makes free menstrual products available at all branches

Many colourful books are lined up on dark shelves, the close-up image only showing the books on the shelf illuminated by bright sunlight.
KFPL makes changes in the name of menstrual equity. Photo by Lubos Houska from Pixabay.
Christena Lawrie - CFRC - KingstonON | 07-12-2023
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Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) is now providing free menstrual products in all public washrooms across their branches.

The initiative began with a pilot project in December 2020 where KFPL made menstrual products accessible in the washrooms at their Central Branch in the downtown core. Due to the project’s success and impact on the community, they expanded it to their other 16 branches throughout the last month.

“Our commitment to menstrual equity is reflected in our efforts to enhance accessibility for everyone,” said Kristen Lemay, Manager of Branches and Collections at the Library. “We’ve prioritized making menstrual products readily available in all washrooms, recognizing the diverse needs of our community. Placing these products in men's washrooms is a deliberate choice, ensuring anyone can easily access them for personal use or to support partners, family members and friends.”

In KFPL’s release, they referenced a 2022 Plan Canada Study, which revealed that one in five of those who menstruate have struggled to afford products and have been forced to ration products. In the same study, it was stated that 69 per cent of women and girls have regularly or occasionally missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products or proper facilities. With this project, KFPL aims to contribute to menstrual equity.

“People of all ages from different socioeconomic backgrounds come through our doors every day,” said Lemay. “For some, they may not have access to the products they need at home or at work. And if they're already coming to the library, this is a convenient place for them to access.”

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