Campus library welcomes students' children

Robert, Josie and Gavin

Robert, Gavin and Josie browse books at campus library. (Marc Studer photos)

Patrons of the UW Bothell and Cascadia College campus library have probably noticed two tiny chairs in a children’s reading area just off the main entrance. That’s where nearly 100 new children’s books illustrate the library's desire to be more welcoming to students with children.

The effort has also been driven by the Parent Union, a UW Bothell student club co-founded by Jessica Cole (society, ethics and human behavior ’16). The Parent Union and campus library Director Sarah Leadley agreed that having recreational reading for children would help when parents, with offspring in tow, use the library to study.

Children's picture books.The library already had a large children’s book collection on the third floor that is intended to support the School of Educational Studies curriculum. Cole and Leadley thought having another, smaller collection on the first floor for children to use would be an asset to the campus community.

Library staff and education faculty donations started the children’s section in the recreational reading area. “I also purchased the two tiny chairs as one way of signaling that we have children’s books,” said Leadley, noting that the library welcomes donations that can be spent to buy books.

Library cartLast year, the Parent Union was awarded $800 from the Student Activities Fee committee to buy even more children’s books. Today, the children’s section has picture books shelved at a low level, facing out, where young visitors can browse the bright art on the covers. There also are some books for older “middle” readers.

In addition, there are a couple of carts in the area so that students can fill them with their belongings and children’s books and roll off to any part of the library to study, their child alongside them.
(No, the library is not a place to drop off children. It is covered by the same rules for children anywhere on campus: they must be within sight of a parent or guardian at all times.)

Making the campus family friendly is often a matter of gender equity for women, said Cole, currently a graduate student in policy studies. “Simple things can change the face of the University.”

With Cole’s three children now in school full time, they don’t come to the campus library as often. But Cole — and other students, faculty and staff — can also check out children’s books and take them home.

Robert, Jessica Cole, Gavin and Josie

Jessica Cole with her children, Robert, Gavin and Josie.