The Iowa State University library to try out a family study room

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Members of the Iowa State University community who need a place to study but also have a dependent child while they do will have a space at the Parks Library to try this fall.

The family room on the lower level of the library – available by reservation – is the kind of space that members of the Iowa state community have requested, according to Cris Broshar, who is the WorkLife and Services Coordinator. family within the university’s human resources. department.

Broshar said a February 2020 survey of Iowa state students who are also parents showed that about two-thirds of respondents needed more child-friendly spaces on campus. .

“The library made a lot of sense,” she said.

Hilary Seo, dean of the library department, said what was once a group study room is being transformed into a room that can accommodate eight occupants – two adults and their children – at a time.

Seo said anyone with an ISU net ID can use and reserve the room – that is, graduate students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, fellows, and researchers, in addition to undergraduates. cycle.

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In addition to technology for adult study needs, she said there will be a children’s computer with educational software, toys, a play kitchen, and a small table with chairs.

The interior window of the room will also feature artwork from children from the campus daycare center engraved on vinyl.

Seo said the bedroom was located near a bathroom with a changing table, nursing room, and the library’s children’s collection.

The new space will share similarities with already existing family areas at other college libraries, Seo said, noting Michigan State University, University of Utah, Portland State University and Southern Illinois University.

She said the trend has been for campuses to offer more of these spaces than libraries, as universities consider the needs of non-traditional and first-generation students.

“Libraries are struggling with space,” and are rethinking their collection footprints to try and create more useful spaces rather than keeping all of their books in place at all times, she said.

If the family pilot room is successful based on usage and feedback, Seo said larger space (s) could be considered.

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She said the Iowa State Design and Veterinary Libraries are just too small, but other spaces on campus could be considered.

She could not immediately give the exact cost of the family room at Parks’ library, but said the student government, the Senate of Graduate and Professional Students, and the Iowa State Daily student newspaper together contributed about $ 6,000. .

Regarding the library voices, Broshar said they can’t promise that a little noise won’t move outside the room, the toys inside probably encourage a bit more play. silent, and Seo said the area around the room is generally not densely populated with undergraduates.

Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including the Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be contacted by email at [email protected] He’s on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.

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