Location: Morial Convention Center, ShopTalk Area A (LLX Marketplace, Hall J)
In 2022, St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) partnered with the Alliance for Period Supplies (APS), an initiative of the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank, to offer free Period Supply Kits (or Monthly Supply Kits) at all 16 library locations. The program began in September 2020 as a pilot at four select library locations and continued throughout 2021. This service allows St. Louis Public Library to meet a basic customer need and encourages those customers to make use of other Library services and resources. Period poverty is the lack of access to clean sanitary products, menstrual education, and other sanitary necessities and is a major issue in the St. Louis region. A recent study conducted by Anne Sebert Kuhlman, M.D., Ph.D. of St. Louis University found that two-thirds of low-income people who experience periods in St. Louis "were unable to afford menstrual hygiene supplies such as pads or tampons at some point during the previous year,” and 21 percent lacked supplies on a monthly basis. Lack of access to menstrual hygiene products can mean missing days of school and/or work due to periods. Based on the overwhelming success of and positive customer feedback about the Period Supply Kits, SLPL staff looked at other ways the library could address this need and landed on our role as information specialists to help reduce the stigma associated with period poverty and conversations surrounding menstruation and health. After all, period positivity is about feeling confident to talk about the experience of having a period. This presentation will discuss how staff at the Central Library worked with various period-positive initiatives, health agencies, and nonprofits from throughout the City of St. Louis to present "Periodtober" programming that included sessions such as Period 101 and Period Action Day. These programs were funded in part through SLPL’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programming Committee.
Upon completion, participants will be able to define period poverty.
Upon completion, participants will be able to define period positivity.
Upon completion, participants will be able to describe why access to period supplies is both a DEI-issue and a customer need that can and does align with the library’s mission.
Upon completion, participants will be able to describe what a period-positive library space and period-positive library services and programming might look like.
Upon completion, participants will be able to demonstrate why using non-gendered language when discussing those who experience periods and assuring non-gendered access to Period Supply Kits are important.