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Friday, July 01, 2022

Library West opens room for student-parents to breastfeed

<p>Pictured is the recently opened lactation room at Library West, located on the second floor on the east side. The library plans to add paintings and rugs to the room.</p>

Pictured is the recently opened lactation room at Library West, located on the second floor on the east side. The library plans to add paintings and rugs to the room.

UF’s Library West now has a room specifically for student-parents.

A lactation room, where parents can breastfeed, pump milk or calm down their child, opened on the east side of the library’s second floor Wednesday. Construction began in December. The project was funded with non-recurring library funds, Brian Keith, an associate dean of UF’s George A. Smathers Libraries, wrote in an email. It cost about $19,000, Keith said.

It is open to both mothers and fathers, said Jana Smith Ronan, chairwoman of Library West.

“It’s hard to find a nice and quiet space on campus if you work or if you’re a student,” she said. “You want a place where you don’t want to disturb people or be interrupted.”

The room has a rocking chair and footrest. The library plans on adding rugs and paintings, she said.

The lactation room is next to the gender-neutral restroom. Both rooms were part of a joint project, Ronan said. If parents need to change their child’s diaper, they can go next door.

Another lactation room exists at the Levin College of Law’s library, the Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center.

Patricia Morgan, the head of the law school’s access services and outreach, said the room is used sporadically. Morgan said law students use it while studying for exams.

“Law school’s hectic enough,” she said. “I can’t even imagine being in law school and having a child.”

When Soon Yang, 33, was a student, she said it was difficult to find a quiet place and the time to breastfeed or even pump breast milk for her daughter, Isu.

Yang, who was a doctoral student, had an office on the sixth floor of Library West. But even then, she had to find time between her lab hours to pump milk.

Yang said the room will help parents who are studying for exams.

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“I’m kind of interested of bringing my little one to the library,” she said.

Pictured is the recently opened lactation room at Library West, located on the second floor on the east side. The library plans to add paintings and rugs to the room.

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