Ali Faruk, the Policy Director of Families Forward Virginia, a non-profit organisation “dedicated to disrupting the cycles of child abuse, neglect and poverty,” posted a photo on Twitter on January 22 at the Fairfield – Henrico County Public Library.
In the post, Mr Faruk showed one of the library’s workstations, which included a desk and computer on one side and a separate station for children on the other side. This child-friendly space also included some learning panels and games along the wall.
“A new public library in my area has these workstations for caregivers with babies!” Mr Faruk wrote in the tweet. “Maybe these are common in other places but I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Faruk expressed in his Twitter thread how meaningful these stations are for working parents.
“Public spaces available and accessible to all are so important,” he wrote. “This is how we strengthen families and create a culture and community that values children.”
In a follow-up tweet posted the next day, Mr Faruk shared that TMC Furniture was the company that developed these workstations.
“So many of you have loved the simple, elegant, and intuitive design like I did,” Mr Faruk wrote.
On TMC Furniture’s website, the product is listed as the Fairfield Parent+Child Carrel. The site notes that this item “offers a convenient spot for parents to work while their babies or toddler are next to them”.
As the carrel gives children a “safe and stimulating” learning environment, it is a part of TMC Furniture’s LearnPLAY product line, which promotes “creativity, discussion, play, curiosity and inspiration that truly make learning a joy”.
So far, Mr Faruk’s post has been retweeted over 30,000 times, with many users on Twitter noting how helpful these desks would be for so many working parents.
“This is a game-changer,” one wrote. “I worked in a busy metropolitan library & too often saw moms in very difficult circumstances try to manage their babies/toddlers while using the PACs to apply for jobs or housing. It was so difficult for them. What a great innovation. Well done!”
Others noted how the Fairfield Parent+Child Carrel could help other people in a library stay focused on their own work.
“Giving people with kids good facilities also makes libraries more enjoyable for the rest of us without kids,” one wrote. “Nobody can hear an unhappy child and not be distracted. It is in my own interest to see good facilities for kids – everywhere. (Also, I like kids.)”
Another user applauded this product for creating a space for kids of different ages and wrote: “Clearly not just for babies; there are story prompts & a simple maze for young children to entertain themselves in safety while caregiver works. Smart, inclusive workspace.”
However, one Twitter user felt that the “sharp edges” on the frames in the children’s station could potentially harm a toddler. They claimed that making those edges more of a “round” shape could fix this safety issue.
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