Library provides free hygiene products for students

The library bathroom now is stocked with hygiene products that are free without asking

Basic hygiene needs are sometimes lacking for students, so Nixa High School’s library is now providing them with products such as deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, period products and more.

   Sheila Michaels is one of the librarians at NHS. It was Michaels’s idea to start this for students.  

   “… A lot of girls don’t have access to the products they need when they have their period,” Michaels said.

In many public restrooms, a box that dispenses period products requires some change in order to get what one needs. However the products in the library bathroom are free for anyone who needs them.   

   This new addition to the library bathroom is advertised around the school on posters. 

   “The products are provided by a combination of people,” Michaels said. “Care to Learn provides some and donations also come from other teachers or community members.” 

   The library started doing this at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. All products are available to any student, and are free to take at any time without asking for permission. They are stored in the library’s private bathroom on the back of the door in an organizer. 

When students don’t have the hygiene resources they need, it can be hard to ask for help. Being able to access these resources for free and in private, is a good way to combat any fear or stigma around asking for help.

   “I wanted a way for students to know they can get what they need without being embarrassed and they’re not gonna have to ask,” Michaels said. “I think it’s important to get people what they need, but equally as important for students to maintain their dignity because it can be hard to ask for what you need.”

   The full list of products include perfume, makeup, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, tampons, pads, liners, antibacterial wipes and Ziploc bags to go. 

Michaels said the bathroom is restocked on a daily basis because of highly used products. 

    “The deodorant is used the most, along with the period products,” Michaels said. 

    Michaels has been thinking about extending these items to the Nixa Junior High and upper elementary schools. However, for now this will be continued at NHS for the foreseeable future.