In partnership with Arkansas Women’s Outreach, the Central Arkansas Library System will begin providing women’s hygiene products from its main branch on Monday, Oct. 7.
Crystal Edwards is overseeing the pilot program and says the idea was started by staff at the downtown library.
"We were already providing pads and tampons to some of our patrons, primarily homeless women," she said. "It was mostly funded out of pocket by staff members. Someone had an idea that we could try to find an organization to help fund it so we could provide more products and also expand that to branches."
Edwards said the library hopes to provide women packs with enough supplies to last through one menstrual cycle. She added that better access to period products is an important issue for homeless women.
"There is a lot of focus… in Little Rock on helping homeless people with various needs that they have, but homeless people also need help with personal hygiene and the concerns of women, or menstruators, get very easily overlooked."
There will be a program kick-off event Monday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the library’s Ron Robinson Theater. It will feature a free screening of Academy Award-winning short film “Period. End of Sentence.” It’s a documentary about a grassroots effort to counter menstrual stigma in rural India. The screening will be followed by discussion of the Arkansas Women’s Outreach organization’s work to distribute period products and underwear around central Arkansas.
KUAR incorrectly noted the day for the beginning of the program during broadcasts Monday morning. It will be Monday, Oct. 7.