01 Feb 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!