By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer
Located on the second floor of Moody Memorial Library, the Parent Room and Family Study Space are bookable locations for undergraduate, graduate, faculty and staff parents to go to work, research and study in the library with their children.
The Family Study Space opened earlier this year, while the two Parent Rooms became available six or seven years ago following requests from the Baylor community.
Eric Ames, associate director for advancement, exhibits and community engagement, said the Moody Library team transformed one of their study rooms to accommodate student and faculty caretakers. Ames said a priority was to make a space for breastfeeding mothers.
“These rooms are for mothers who are nursing babies or who may be pumping breast milk and saving it,” Ames said. “They needed a private space to be able to do that in the libraries, so you can go in and have privacy to be able to nurse your child, change a diaper, spend some quiet time, but still be in the library and be able to get to the people and the things that you need.”
Within the space, there are toys and furniture available, which are all geared toward faculty, staff and students with small children.
“The library’s buildings are spaces for everyone,” Ames said. “We want to have resources and spaces for anyone on campus that need them. I think it helps meet some of the emotional, psychological and physical needs of our campus.”
According to Sha Towers, associate dean for research and engagement, the Family Study Space is the recognition that students at all levels need this support.
“We are not talking about older graduate students types that have families,” Towers said. “The interesting part was that this particular group of students are mostly undergraduate students. It really grew out of a need, and we start to think how can we help to support that.”
Towers said the library has been really “responsive to a previously unmet kind of need for students” and by calling these hospitality rooms Parent Rooms or Family Spaces, it helps caretakers to feel welcome in that space.
Ames said the team has observed consistent use of these hospitality rooms and believe it was a good justification to convert the study rooms into rooms specifically for parents.
The library also received positive feedback from its patrons, saying some were able to leave the less ideal space, such as bathroom or closet, and come to the library for a private space to pump breast milk.
“I want our students, our faculty and our campus community to know that we listen, so if they have ideas for ways that we could explore new uses of the space in Moody and Jones, they should reach out and shoot us that feedback,” Ames said. “We do listen, we do take it seriously, and new spaces could come as a result of someone’s idea.”