Univ. installs lactation room in Goldfarb
The University’s fourth lactation room opened on the second floor of the Goldfarb Library this month after a push from library staff members, according to Ann Kardos, the metadata and resource sharing coordinator for Library and Technology Services.
The lactation room, located at Goldfarb 69-41A, was conceptualized this past May in response to the growing need for a private space for mothers to breastfeed, Kardos wrote in an email to the Justice.
“The project started when the union representatives for the library staff (we are SEIU Local 888) realized that we’d had 5 new parents in about 2 years,” Kardos wrote. Her team consisted of the other union members — Judaica Librarian Jim Rosenbloom, Acquisitions Administrator Alexis Scanzani, Academic Outreach Librarian for Government Information and the Social Sciences Aimee Slater and Public Services Coordinator Thom Valicent.
The group “had a lot of support from the Interim University Librarian, Matthew Sheehy, and also the other Associate University Librarians, Pat Flanagan and Sarah Shoemaker,” she added. Martha Barry, the library’s senior facilities coordinator, took point on completing this endeavor, working with facilities personnel “to put some great finishing touches on the room to really personalize the space,” according to Kardos.
The lactation room is kept locked at all times and is accessible by a key that may be checked out from the Information and Borrowing desk with a Brandeis ID, Kardos wrote. The room is designed to accommodate two users at a time, and time slots may be booked on a provided “Library Lactation Room Google Calendar.” In terms of infrastructure, the library lactation room is equipped with a refrigerator for storage, a microwave for sterilization, two chairs, a small table and electrical outlets. The library does not provide breast pumps and expects users to bring their own. There are also two sinks provided for users in the adjoining restroom.
In addition to providing for the new parents on the library staff, Kardos hopes that the lactation room will prove useful to all new parents on campus, given the library’s central location. Kardos went on to write that she and her team consider the library “one of the ‘hearts’ of the community.”
In addition to being well situated, the library is open much later than most of the other buildings on campus that house the other three lactation rooms. The three other lactation rooms on campus are in the lobby of the Gryzmish building, Gerstenzang 134 and room 118 in the Rabb Graduate Center. Kardos has already noted positive feedback from patrons who no longer have to abandon their research in the library in quest of a comfortable and secure lactation space.
—Abby Patkin contributed reporting.