Breastfeeding can be controversial. Women were and are accused of public indecency for feeding their infants. Women can still be culturally labeled as obscene or crude if they decide to do this in public. In history, openly breastfeeding a child was seen as taboo. However, today, companies, organizations, schools, and libraries are reprimanded if they limit the rights of mothers in terms of breastfeeding. Both employees and non-employees have a right to breastfeed in a public place through the protection of many state laws. This was not always the case. Currently, all fifty states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location, but only 30 states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws.
In recent years, libraries, both academic or public, have begun to provide “nursing rooms” for patrons, staff, and the public to use for breastfeeding purposes. This is to encourage mothers to view libraries as sanctuaries that attend to their needs and the needs of their babies. HCPL’s Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library recently announced that they have converted an old copy room into a new Baby Care Room. It has a changing table, a rocking chair, a sink, and additional children’s toys for siblings. With its soft lighting and neutral colors, the room is relaxing and calming for babies and mothers alike.
The announcement of Freeman's Baby Care Room coincides with the opening of the library's George & Barbara Bush Family Place Library (made possible by a grant from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and Phillips 66). The Family Place Initiative seeks to transform libraries “into community centers for early literacy and learning, parent education and engagement, family support and community connectivity helping to ensure all children enter school ready and able to learn."
Two other HCPL branches will be holding grand openings of their own Family Places in the coming weeks. We hope you can join us in celebrating these exciting additions to our libraries.
George & Barbara Bush Family Place Library Grand Openings.
- Maud Smith Marks - Thursday, October 31, 10:00 AM
- Parker Williams Branch Library - Thursday, November 7, 10:00 AM