Skip to content

WISDM Mother's Room at Cabell Library supports moms and babies; Open house set for Aug. 23

July 25, 2017

A new Mother's Room at James Branch Cabell Library is open for use by nursing mothers for feeding babies or expressing milk. This room  is a quiet spot on the fourth floor in the new addition to the library. The library’s first lactation room, in use since 2015, is on the lower level.  

A public open house, honoring the donors who made the new room possible, will be held Wednesday, Aug. 23, 4:30 to 7 p.m. All are welcome.

Sixteen donors associated with Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine (WISDM)  pledged or gave gifts totaling $50,600 to create the new WISDM Mother's Room. The room will benefit many students, faculty and staff each year. It is reserved for breastfeeding women and their babies.

“We are grateful to see the work of VCU Libraries and its role at VCU and in the community recognized with this vast outpouring of philanthropy," SAID University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider.

Free and available during library hours, the lactation rooms are open through VCUCard access. Interested patrons who are members of the VCU community should go to the Information Desk in the Cabell Library lobby to set up access using their ID cards. Staff and faculty can also contact Assistant Head for Access Services Teresa Doherty at (804) 828-8658 or Users with card access will also be able to reserve the rooms online for convenient times.

Both fourth floor and lower level Mother's Rooms are open during regular library hours, which include around-the-clock hours Sundays through Thursdays during fall and spring semesters. 

The rooms are decorated in a soothing color palette with photographs of mothers with babies. Each room offers: 

  • Comfortable seating
  • Low lights and privacy
  • Sink and mirror
  • Medela Symphony pumps   
  • Refrigerator

The rooms are also available to visitors to campus. Women who would like immediate or temporary access to the spaces may request such at the Information Desk. Staff will escort them to one of the Mother's Rooms. 

The rooms are reserved for breastfeeding women and their babies. Fathers are free to bottle feed babies throughout the library building. Spacious unisex or “family” bathrooms--on third floor and lower level--in Cabell Library offer changing tables, giving fathers as well as mothers access to this childcare service space. (No diaper changing is allowed in the lactation rooms, which are for feeding and expressing milk.)

Former VCU Libraries Friends Board Chair Carol Hampton made the first gift to fund the new WISDM Mother's Room on the fourth floor. She served as president of the Friends of VCU Libraries 2015-16 and led the fundraising effort to benefit women on campus. Hampton is also a founding WISDM member and an advocate for women faculty, staff and students. “You cannot have it all, all at once,” she says, “but you can have it all the way through,” she says underscoring the importance of a creating a workplace and educational setting at VCU that supports family life.

Hampton, retired faculty and former associate dean for faculty and instructional development at VCU School of Medicine, spoke about WISDM’s achievements at its spring semester 25th anniversary VCU WISDM Leadership Conference. Highlights of WISDM's achievements included the VCU School of Medicine receiving the national leadership development award from the American Association of Medical Colleges in 2000, VCU Health being named one of the 100 best places to work for by Working Mother magazine in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008,  and the opening of the WISDM lactation room at Cabell Library.

“In spite of the progress we have made, much more remains to be done,” Hampton said, challenging attendees to continue to work toward gender equality in their specific schools and departments.

The new Mother's Room on the fourth floor is one of the few on the Monroe Park Campus. The MCV campus has several lactation rooms available.  

“Having lactation rooms in Cabell Library demonstrates a commitment to work/life balance that is invaluable as an employee,” says research librarian Carla-Mae Crookendale, who recently gave birth. “It also underscores that the library is a nexus on campus that seeks to support all our diverse users.”

Rebecca R. McNerney, who teaches in the English Language Program, taught last summer and used the Cabell Mother's Room regularly. Her daughter was born in February, 2016. “I appreciated having a place to pump in privacy and peace. It meant a lot to me that our university supports this important mother-child bond and has provided the equipment, space and respect for breastfeeding. The mother's room was well thought-out with a sink and the pumping equipment. Thank you, VCU, for supporting breastfeeding moms!”

  •  Rooms' locations 
  • Want to attend the August 23 open house? RSVP to Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. 

    Images: The photogaph on the library website hangs in the fourth floor Mother's Room, Cabell Library. These photo illustrations are by Hayes and Fisk Photography, used with permission of VCU Health, which commissioned the photography.  

Join us for an Open House

to Celebrate the

WISDM Mothers' Room

4th floor Cabell Library

Wednesday Aug. 23

4:30 to 7 p.m.



< Previous | Next >


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

Reserve a room

Please choose a library