The Cherry Hill library announced early this month the installation of a new lactation pod accessible to nursing women on its second floor.
The Mamava – a free-standing suite or pod from the Vermont-based company where mothers can breastfeed or pump – is located near the children’s services area of the library. It was paid for with capital funds after requests from the community.
“Although still considered the ‘new’ library, nursing rooms were not included when Cherry Hill public library was built,” said Library Director Laverne Mann. “In the last five years, we have recognized the need for a nursing area through requests from patrons.”
While librarians previously considered building a nursing room near the children’s space, they realized it would take too much space and opted for installing the Mamava instead. It is located on the library’s upper level, near the elevator and stairs.
“The thing that we really liked about Mamava (the company) is they had an app where anyone in the area, if they’re looking for a nursing station, specifically Mamavas, they could geolocate where the closest Mamava pod is,” said Beth Cackowski, the library’s youth services supervisor. In testing the app, she found that there was another location at the Buy Buy Baby store near a Whole Foods location in the township.
Cackowski noted that women can use the app to see whether or not the pod is in use, and if not, they can unlock it from the app or by visiting the library’s youth services desk for a code. Although the pod is an option and a resource for nursing mothers, Cackowski emphasized it was exactly that: an option.
“We would never force anybody to breastfeed in a separate room,” she noted. “It is legal to breastfeed, so this is just an option. The most useful thing about it is for people who are pumping, because there’s an outlet in there.
“It’s a quiet space that kind of blocks the noise of a pump, which makes a significant amount of noise, and everything we do now is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.”
The sanitary pod has enough room for a wheelchair to turn around, and offers seating for those who would like to bring someone else or their children with them. It will also be cleaned regularly as part of the library’s usual maintenance.
“One of the most important things to know about the Mamava lactation pod at the Cherry Hill public library is that it is a community resource,” said Mann, “not just for library users but anyone living, working, or visiting.”