July 21, 2010

Morris Library to offer family friendly study area

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- When the new school year begins next month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, students with children will find a group study room at Morris Library designed to meet their special needs.

The new family study room is a collaborative effort for Morris Library and the Single Parent Program, a Student Development program. In addition to study spots for SIUC students, the room will feature child-friendly furniture, a couple of computers, a toy box and toys, bookshelves stocked with books for children of all ages, games and even a small television and VCR.

“We want to make it family friendly for all ages,” said Natasha Aldrich, representative for the Single Parent Program. “I’m a single mom myself, going to school and working two jobs and I’m glad that we’re taking another big step in making SIUC more family friendly.”

She said they hope to add puppet shows and other activities for kids in the future at the family study room. The room will be accessible during regular library hours. Details aren’t final as yet, but parents will have a key code or check out a key card to access the room.

“We were approached by the Single Parent Program about having this family friendly study room after they conducted a survey in which our students who are parents said they found the library a difficult place to go with their children. We have many non-traditional students and we are happy to be able to help them,” said David H. Carlson, dean of Library Affairs.

Carlson said used furniture and other donated items will furnish the room. Morris Library is organizing a donation drive encouraging each library staff member to give a favorite children’s book for the new room.

“We think this wonderful project will partner library staff with the parents in a meaningful way while providing an important link to the library by emphasizing the value and importance of early reading with children,” Carlson said.

Aldrich said they also have a donated television and VCR. They seek gifts of a DVD player and child-appropriate DVDs and VHS tapes. In addition, they need books, particularly ones for older children/young teens in the 10-14 age range. Anyone interested in making a donation can drop items off at Room A307 at Woody Hall during Single Parent Program office hours of 1-4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Or, e-mail singleparents@siu.edu or call the office at 618/453-1380 to arrange donations or for more information. You will find details about the family friendly study room and gaining access as they become final, online at http://siuc.orgsync.com/SSPP.

Carlson said if students utilize the family friendly study room as anticipated, there’s a possibility of relocating it to a larger study room in the future. Also, plans call for a specially designed, designated family study area when funding becomes available to complete renovation of the sixth and seventh floors of the library.

Find out more about the Single Parent Program at SIUC online at http://siuc.orgsync.com/SSPP. The website for Morris Library is http://lib.siu.edu/.