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Public breast-feeding pod debuts at library

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Marshalltown Public Library Director Sarah Rosenblum displays the public breast feeding or pumping pod installed Tuesday. It contains two seats, a small table and mirror.

On Tuesday, the Marshalltown Public Library debuted what might be the first public breast-feeding and pumping pod in town.

A $13,000 gift from Marshall County’s 100 Women Who Care made it possible.

Started in 2012, the philanthropic group has gained a reputation for making significant community betterment awards of nearly $352,000 throughout Marshall County.

“It was good to award a project to benefit women specifically,” said Janet Collision of Marshalltown, a member of the group.

The pod, complete with an electric outlet, lights, seats and small table, was assembled by the city’s public works department.

It is made by Momava of Burlington, Vt.

The company was started by two women who believe “nursing should be a right and not a privilege.”

To access the library pod, a user gets a secure code which opens the door.

The pod is secure once the door is shut.

Library director Sarah Rosenblum believes it is one of three public pods in the state.

The pods are becoming more common place at businesses where use is reserved for employees.

Rosenblum said one is at Marshalltown’s Emerson Process Management and a second at the joint police and fire facility.

A public pod is at the Des Moines International Airport, and a second public pod at the Cedar Falls Public Library.

Rosenblum recently saw the airport pod and that motivated her to take action.

Contacting 100 Women Who Care, of which Rosenblum is a member, followed.

“We have always accommodated nursing moms at the library,” Rosenblum said. “And now we have an ideal place for them that is secure and private.”

Previously, nursing moms could use a private space in Rosenblum’s office.

The new pod is linked to an application which lets nursing moms know the pod is available.

Rosenblum said the ap lets traveling moms know — especially those who might be at the library for one of its many meetings.

“Any number of nursing moms who are here for a regional or state meeting would have opportunity to use the free-of-charge pod to nurse or use a breast pump,” she said.

Library employee Carol Sealine, who nursed one of her children, said the pod will be a welcome sight to nursing moms who previously used bathrooms — and in some cases automobiles — to breast feed or pump.

“We totally support a women’s right to nurse in the library and we will defend that right 100 percent,” Rosenblum said.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com

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