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How the Liverpool Cloth Nappy Library got started...

Updated: May 4, 2020

For our first post on our new website, we thought it would be interesting to go back to the very beginning and ask our founder Anna some questions about how the nappy library began.

What made you decide to start a cloth nappy library in Liverpool?

I didn’t start out planning to run a library! I’ve used cloth nappies with all 4 of my children, but between having my first baby in 2005 and my second in 2012 so much seemed to change and there was so much more available to choose from. That was great; there were some real developments in how things fit and worked for different babies and washing facilities, but even I found it a little bit overwhelming and I’d already used cloth nappies. Because I worked with lots of pregnant women and new families at Big You Little You, I’d often get asked questions about it when they found out we’d used cloth successfully - and I found I was often using my own nappies as demo items so people could see what all the jargon and acronyms meant in real life and how to use them.

How did you get started?

I started out just holding a demo kit as one of The Nappy Gurus, so that people could get more of an idea about what their options were. It just grew quite organically from that really - deciding that I needed to formalise it and be an organisation with insurance and other practical things because of the growing interest, and the support for the idea of a library.

How long has it been running for now?

From starting out with a small demo kit - since June 2013! We were listed officially as a U.K. Nappy Library Network in 2017 but we didn’t launch properly until we had a home in the new Big You Little You premises in May 2018, so the 21st May is the Library’s 2nd official birthday!

Where do the nappies come from?

You’ll laugh if you ever find out how many of them are mine personally...

I do have 4 children though! And I did buy at least some of their nappies knowing they were going into the library when they outgrew them. Even the ones that weren’t from my own children, I still funded most of them, buying second hand whenever possible because it’s more affordable and also great for the environment to reuse where possible.

Some manufacturers and retailers are very generous with discounts for libraries, so as we’ve hired more kits we’ve been able to add more nappies from these funds - no one gets paid from Nappy Hire fees, they’re all put into building up kits, insurance costs and a small amount for doing laundry between hires.

We’ve also had some amazing donations from people who want to support the library, and help other people to get going with cloth nappies.

What would be the most useful thing people could do to support the library?

Oh. This is a nice easy one!

Donating nappies or telling people about us are two of the most amazingly helpful things that people do to help us.

For donations: It doesn’t matter if it’s one nappy or a whole destash, at the moment we are almost maxed out for kit hire and we can only afford to build up more stock gradually. Newborn nappies - especially pockets and all-in-ones are the biggest thing we’re always hunting for.

All our marketing and social media is done by volunteers with a budget of approximately nothing. So I know Kate, our social media lead, is always pleased when people share or engage with posts!

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