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Family Reading Room Designed With Children In Mind

The Family Reading Room in the J. Willard Marriott Library, level 3, north side.

Sept. 30, 2014 – Carrying a full load of college course work is stressful enough, but imagine adding to that the element of raising young children. Approximately 25 percent of University of Utah students have children before graduating, and the U’s Marriott Library is taking measures to accommodate and support these especially busy students.

The library hatched the idea of creating a special area where students could work on research and assignments while their children entertained themselves nearby with toys, books and electronics. An area was identified on level three, and on Sept. 19 the family reading room opened its doors.

While the library doesn’t provide child care in the family reading room, it is a dedicated space that staff envision as being heavily used.

“We see students bringing their children into the library every day,” explains Alberta Comer, dean of the Marriott Library and university librarian. “We want to provide a family friendly environment and support these students who are juggling so many demands.”

The move is part of the U’s push to make the entire campus more family friendly. Already the ASUU Student Child Care Program provides part-time care for 125 families and has recently added a drop-in evening child care service.

“We have a high demand for child care on this campus,” said Shauna Lower, director of the Child Care Coordinating Office. “As a university we are encouraging departments to incorporate family areas like the library’s new room, as many of our students will greatly benefit from children’s play areas in our academic student life facilities.”

In addition to creating the family reading room, the library has installed baby changing tables in two restrooms and a lactation room off the reading room. Future plans include incorporating a restroom with a changing table into the family reading area as well. For more information, click here.

Family Reading Room Grand Opening
Sept. 30, 4:00-6:00 p.m. on level 3, Marriott Library
Children’s book reading, crafts, refreshments and photos with Swoop.
All ages invited.