Family Study Space Now Available in Mullins Library
To better support campus caregivers, the University Libraries have designated Room 464 in Mullins Library as a Family Study Space. Tables, chairs and a large monitor are separated by a small partition from toys and books for children so that caregivers can keep an eye on little ones while doing their own reading, research or work. Funding to help outfit this room was provided by the Women's Giving Circle.
"By creating a space that is intentionally designed for children and their caregivers, we hope to show parents and caregivers in our community that they are welcome in the library," said Laura Cameron, education librarian. "I hope that having this space available makes it easier for student-parents and other caregivers of young children to study, work and utilize University Libraries resources, and that it makes the library a more enjoyable place for children to visit."
The Women's Giving Circle awarded a $7,867 grant to the libraries for the proposal "Supporting Campus Child Caregivers at the University Libraries," which was written by Cameron and Stephanie Pierce, director of user services. Cameron and Pierce had conducted research and reviewed scholarly literature last year indicating that academic libraries can be "an uncomfortable place for caregivers to bring their children, with many feeling that children are unwelcome or bothersome." The inclusion of a Family Study Space aims to change that.
"University students have different needs today as compared to just a few years ago," said Little Rock alumna Kelly Chaney, current president of the Women's Giving Circle. "WGC is proud to support the Mullins Library as they provide a support for students with children. Serving the whole student makes a more fulfilling educational experience for students and their families and helps fulfill the university's mission of service to Arkansas."
The space can accommodate multiple families at one time and is equipped with kid-sized furniture, kids' books and toys, adult-sized tables with seating for eight, a large display monitor with HDMI connection and Wi-Fi. There are no computers in the room, so patrons must bring their own computer devices to connect to the display monitor.
Responsibility and care for children in the libraries resides solely with the parent or designated caregiver. The libraries do not offer childcare services, and children may not be left unattended in the Family Study Space. Patrons using the space without children may be asked to leave the Family Study Space to make room for patrons with children.
Grant funding will also be used to develop Children's Literacy & Learning Bags, which Cameron and Pierce will make available this fall.
"I cannot express my gratitude enough to the Women's Giving Circle for this award," said Adriana Gonzalez, associate dean for research and learning. "Being the first time the libraries has received this award means a great deal. It means we will be able to make a positive impact on our education students and faculty, in addition to those who are caretakers of children and need library services. I am excited to see this happening here!"
Laura Cameron, education librarian
Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, director of public relations
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