Menstrual products available in Austin libraries
Menstrual products are now widely available for free at city of Austin libraries and other city-owned facilities.
Driving the news: City workers this month distributed pads and tampons in bathrooms at branch libraries — and at the Central Library in December.
Context: In May, the Austin City Council passed a resolution calling for the city to provide free menstrual products in:
- City-owned showers and bathrooms accessible to people experiencing homelessness.
- City-owned recreation centers, public health facilities and summer camps.
- All Austin Public Library facilities.
Fighting period poverty
By the numbers: The average woman has her period for 2,535 days of her life, which is about seven years, and will spend about $18,000 on menstrual products, per the May resolution.
- Tampons and pads are currently subject to sales tax and are not covered by food stamps.
- The overall annual cost of stocking menstrual products in city public restrooms is approximately $65,000, per a 2022 city memo. It could cost the libraries about $29,000 annually to re-stock the products in their bathrooms, the memo said.
Between the lines: In the wake of political blowback after Texas banned abortion last year, the state's GOP politicians, including Gov. Greg Abbott, said they support repealing the "tampon tax."
What they're saying: Menstrual products are available in all public restrooms "as the library serves people with many different backgrounds and needs, including those acting as a proxy for a family member or friend, those who are transitioning/have transitioned, and those experiencing a variety of different medical circumstances," Austin Public Library spokesperson Baylor Johnson tells Axios.
Flashback: The Austin Independent School District spent $85,000 last summer installing dispensers to provide free tampons and pads in middle and high school bathrooms.
More Austin stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Austin.