Lauren Michelle McGee
The Luria Library has provided toys and books for the children of students to use for several years, but they are now making a greater effort to inform students of this resource in order to make student parents feel welcome.
Many students were not aware they are allowed to bring their children to the library with them, so the library staff created a handout advertising these services. The handout is available in English and Spanish in the library and EOPS office.
As long as children are not disruptive to others they are always welcome.
“We have had services for children and parents to use and just haven’t been as explicit about promoting it,” Library Director Elizabeth Bowman said.
Baskets of toys divided into age appropriate bins are available behind the references desk.
There are separate baskets available for children around three month olds, one for those two years old or over, and one for those four years or over. Board games and other activities for older children are also available behind the reference and information desk.
The library also has a section with children’s books and a miniature table and chairs next to the lounge area and the computers on the top floor. This allows for students to be close to their kids and monitor them while studying or using school resources such as computers and printers.
There are resources Bowman said the library would like to provide, but are not able to such as a separate family room for student parents to study when they have their kids with them.
A group of four student parents reserved one of the private study rooms recently so they could all study for midterms together with their kids.
“Even though we were able to do that we still had that mentality like I don’t want my child to disturb anyone else,” said one of the student parents Minerva Moreno.
A space where they could study with their children without worrying whether they may be disrupting would help student parents toward success. It is often difficult and expensive to find child care, and when arrangements fall through students have no choice but to bring their children with them to campus to study or attend class.
Students with children are one of the groups most likely to drop out of school due to stress and balancing their parenting responsibilities with school and work. Many student parents are first generation college students, according to Chelsea Lancaster, coordinator of EOPS single parent program.
Bringing their child with them to school also helps normalizes college as an important part of life and if they already feel comfortable on a college campus their odds of succeeding increase.
“Most of our students are first generation college students, so when they bring their kids to campus we are really demystifying this space for them and telling them this is a space that belongs to them,” Lancaster said.