Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘multitask’

Art: Mary Cassatt.
One of these young women is supposedly the grandmother!

Today I thought I’d post this story on a very nice way for a mother to spend a few hours. It’s about a library specially designed for parents.

Casey Parks writes at the Washington Post, “Janelle Witcher thinks of the library as her second home. She’s a single mom who lives in Richmond [Virginia], and a few times a week, she drives her four children to Henrico County’s Fairfield branch. It’s a place where her children can learn and she can use a computer or socialize with other parents. Plus, she said, the books calm her children down.

“ ‘I go there just to let them see a different view, a peaceful view,’ she said.

“When Witcher’s oldest children were younger, they used to visit a different branch on the other side of town. She’d sign up for one of the computers in the lab, and she’d hold one baby or two as she tried to answer emails or look for job opportunities. Using the computers always felt difficult, though. As soon as Witcher started to type, one of the babies would reach over and mash the keys.

“Eventually, multitasking wore Witcher down. She cut back on her visits, but she missed the calming stacks, and her oldest children needed a place to do their virtual schooling. She started going to the new Fairfield branch last year, and the first time she visited, she noticed that someone had fixed her most vexing library problem. They’d installed a second computer lab in the children’s section, and this one had adult desks with a playpen attached.

They’d installed a second computer lab in the children’s section, and this one had adult desks with a playpen attached. …

“The Henrico County Public Library system installed the workstations as part of a $29 million rebuild of the Fairfield branch. Voters overwhelmingly supported a bond to pay for the facility, and as library administrators began designing it, they asked families what they wanted to see in the new 44,800-square-foot space.

“Immediately, said Barbara Weedman, the library director, one trend emerged: People no longer viewed the library as just a place to pick up a book. The branches were places to gather, and families needed them to be more kid-friendly.

“Weedman worked with architects at Quinn Evans, which has offices in D.C., Baltimore, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Richmond. Together, they designed a children’s section with arts-and-crafts rooms, collaboration spaces and furniture short enough to allow parents to see their children across the room. They added rocking chairs and a lactation room, and then, as the architects finalized their plans, they asked Weedman whether community members needed anything else.

“Weedman was also once a single mom, and she and other library staff had long noticed mothers like Witcher trying to work on the computers while holding a child. …

“The old computer lab model didn’t work for those parents, Weedman told Shannon Wray, a senior interior designer at Quinn Evans. And it didn’t work for other patrons, either, who needed a quiet place to work or apply for jobs. …

“Wray searched, but she couldn’t find any ready-made furniture that addressed the need, so she asked a small company in Ann Arbor to build something new.

“Blake Ratcliffe and his wife, Sherri, have been designing children’s furniture for 25 years. They work with education experts from New York University and Montessori groups to create pieces that facilitate early learning. When Wray called, the Ratcliffes knew they wanted to come up with a new kind of work carrel — one that suited parents, but was also safe and educational for babies and toddlers up to 2 years old.

“The result is something they now call the Fairfield Parent+Child Carrel. It has a maple veneer plywood desk with privacy panels on one side and a crib on the other. They built the carrels from nontoxic materials durable enough to sustain the kind of frequent cleanings library workers do now, and in the crib, they installed a soft, vinyl mat made of health-care-grade materials. The inside play space has a mirror and interactive panels that librarians can switch out when babies need new distractions. …

“When the library opened in October 2019, mothers ‘made a beeline’ for the four carrels, Weedman said.”

More at the Post, here.

Photo: Chris Cunningham via Curbed
The Fairfield carrel was designed by Sherri Moore and Blake Ratcliffe to help caregivers with young kids in tow better access their local library.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: