Smithers Public Library director Wendy Wright stands in front of one of two new gender neutral washroom signs that were installed at the library on March 3. (Karissa Gall/Interior News)

Smithers library installs gender neutral washroom signs

News signs were installed on March 3 to make the public library more inclusive

The Smithers Public Library has installed new washroom signs to make the building more inclusive.

Library director Wendy Wright told Interior News the new signs were installed on the two washrooms at the building on March 3.

Previously the smaller washroom had a sign with a figure in pants for men and the larger washroom, with the changing table, had a sign with a figure in a dress for women.

“It was implying that it’s only women who change diapers,” Wright said. “I actually could not believe how I had never noticed that before.”

The smaller washroom now has a sign with symbols for a toilet and sink.

The larger washroom with the changing table now has a sign with the same toilet and sink symbols, plus symbols for a wheelchair and a baby.

“Essentially it went from who is supposed to go into each one, to what you can find in each one,” Wright said.

READ MORE: Midtown Bistro welcomes gender-neutral washrooms

Library staff decided to make the change after hearing about other libraries doing so and after being contacted by a patron who urged them to make the washrooms gender neutral.

“Within a few days [of installing the signs] I saw a man entering what used to be the women’s washroom with his young son and you could tell from their interaction that he was going to change the diaper,” Wright said, adding that the new signs are already cutting down on washroom wait times.

READ MORE: Gender inclusive signs approved for Kelowna washrooms

The signs were custom-made locally and cost $119.

Wright said they had wanted to add braille to the signs, however, the local shops weren’t set up to do that.

“That is something that we’d like to do in the future when we find a way to,” she said. “If anyone has feedback on ways we can make it even better, we would always like to have suggestions for improvement.”

READ MORE: New library/gallery fundraising reaches halfway point

The signs may no longer be needed when the new library and art gallery is complete, Wright said, because they are considering a design with multiple, universal stalls and a communal sink.

“The walls and the door go right down to the ground so it’s completely private,” she said.

Once they have enough funds together, she said an architect will be hired to do a more detailed rendering of the building “and that’s when things like that will be sorted out.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Witset chosen for housing innovation funding program

Proposal to build healing lodge for at-risk youth one of four selected in B.C.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and hereditary chiefs agree to future meeting

Scott Fraser was in Smithers on Jan. 22 and spoke with Office of the Wet’suwet’en representatives

Unist’ot’en Camp say RCMP have changed 27 kilometre roadblock rules

Footage shows RCMP telling an unidentified lawyer they can’t re-enter the checkpoint

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Telkwa bridge struck by empty logging truck

The truck hit the bridge on its east side and appears to have damaged a wooden beam

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Most Read