For the past year, patrons using Library restrooms may have noticed a stash of free menstrual products. They came from Strawberry Week, a local nonprofit and Kansas City Public Library partner. To date, Strawberry Week has supplied the Library with over 22,500 period supplies.
Each quarter, the organization delivers 4,500 menstruation products for distribution to the Library’s 10 locations. All the supplies are donated by people who want to make a difference in the lives of their fellow Kansas Citians – people like our patrons!
November is Flowvember at the Library, and all locations will be accepting boxes of liners, pads, tampons, and menstrual cups, as well as individual items in their wrappers, in designated bins starting Tuesday, November 1, through the end of the month.
Last Flowvember, Library communities donated 8,813 individual period supplies.
UNICEF estimates that a quarter of all human beings on Earth menstruate. Yet menstruation continues to be stigmatized in every country, making access to sterile menstrual products challenging or impossible for many.
In addition to challenges caused by stigma, the American Civil Liberties Union found that the prohibitive cost of menstrual products keeps one in five American teenagers out of school each month.
Community Engagement Librarian Haley Lips is eager to maintain the Library’s partnership with Strawberry Week both for the sake of patrons and the overall community.
“The donated products are not just for the Kansas City Public Library but will also go to Strawberry Week's other organizations. Please check out the partnerships here,” Lips says.
She thinks that after a year of access to free menstrual supplies, patrons are beginning to understand that they can rely on the Library to have those items, for free, in its restrooms. “Period poverty effects many menstruators,” Lips says. “Strawberry Week is working toward legislation that would place period management supplies in all restrooms, much like toilet paper and paper towels.”
To participate, community members can drop off menstruation supplies at any Library location between November 1-30, 2022.
- Visit your neighborhood Library location and look for designated donation boxes.
- Accepted items: boxes of liners, pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. Individual items may be donated if they are in their original packaging.
- Visit Strawberry Week for more information about reproductive health in Kansas City.