In an effort to help address period poverty affected by people in the region, the Greater Victoria Public Library will begin offering free period products in all public and staff washrooms.
The library says the products will begin to be available this week in all women’s, men’s, gender-neutral, and accessible washrooms.
“We are pleased to provide free menstrual products to library users in a manner that protects privacy, respects all gender identities and expressions, and helps reduce inequities. This initiative supports our ongoing work to create spaces that are welcoming, inclusive, safe, accessible, and support the health and well-being of our community,” Maureen Sawa, CEO of the Greater Victoria Public Library said in a news release.
Research by the United Way Period Promise campaign in 2021 found that approximately 51 per cent of people who responded to the group’s survey have struggled to buy menstrual products.
“We know that period poverty impacts many people in our community. Being responsive to the community’s needs is at the core of what the library does. We are proud to provide free menstrual products in GVPL branches and play a role in breaking down barriers in our community,” said Andrew Appleton, Board Chair of the Greater Victoria Public Library.
This makes the GVPL the latest group to join the growing list of organizations signing on to the Period Promise to offer free menstrual products to employees, clients and community members.
“We are inspired by GVPL’s decision to support this initiative, which says so much about how libraries are safe and inclusive spaces,” said Erika Stenson, Executive Director of United Way Southern Vancouver Island.
“Libraries are also places where learning happens all the time, and we hope that GVPL’s actions spark a wider conversation in the community about period poverty—including how we can tackle the vulnerability and isolation it causes.”