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The Family Reading Room Rocks: A Note of Appreciation from a Busy Mom

By Anne McMurtrey, Director of the University of Utah Writing Center

I just wanted to let the library know how much I appreciate the Family Reading Room on the third floor of the Marriott Library.  As a mom and an employee at the U, the room has been a wish come true from the day I returned to work after having my son. After speaking with my friends, I was very concerned that I would not have a place to pump that was near my office; their stories involved having to go out to the cars three times a day to pump or sitting in bathroom stalls, embarrassed by the sound of their pumps’ motor.  To my relief, I found that the Lactation Room inside the Reading Room is located just one floor above my office.  I could conveniently pump during my break times without hassle or embarrassment.  In fact, I felt like I was in good company when I would hear another working mother pumping in the cubicle next to mine.

Once my son was old enough to attend daycare on campus, I was able to nurse him during my breaks, but I continued to use the Family Reading Room.  On one occasion, I met with one of my graduate student employees who was also a mom to discuss work-related business.  She brought her young daughter, and I brought my son, and we conducted our business in a safe, child-friendly environment.

The older my son gets, the more we love the Family Reading Room.  Just last week I picked him up from daycare to spend some time together; after all, classes were not yet in session, so even though I had work to do, I did not necessarily need to be in my office.  I brought my 19-month-old to the Reading Room to play while I finished up on some work. He watched an older boy put on a puppet show, and he called out “Neigh!” to the colorful horse that decorates one of the walls.  Each time we go, he finds something new to explore; he loves to ride on the pink and blue horses, read board books, play with cars and trains, and practice real-world tasks like cooking and place-setting on the kid-sized kitchen and table.

I am fortunate to have a daycare only minutes away from my office, but I can imagine that there are many parents and caregivers who don’t have that luxury. I am glad to work in a building – and for a university – that values families and provides physical proof of that value. I am glad that students have a place to study and employees have a place to work while their children have educational materials to entertain them. Thank you!

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