BusinessJobs / Employment


These libraries make it easier for parents to work remotely

Public libraries have seen a rise in remote workers coming to do their work, and oftentimes, they're bringing their children with them.
Family work station at the Washington-Centerville Public Library.
Posted at 3:13 PM, Apr 07, 2023

Last month, the Washington-Centerville Public Library near Dayton, Ohio, installed a workstation that has its own mini play area for young children. 

The work area has what the library calls "a child-safe section with interactive learning panels to keep a young child engaged." 

Liz Fultz, director for the Washington-Centerville Public Library, told Scripps News that her library was inspired by a Virginia library installing a similar workstation. Although that library installed the workstation in 2019, news stories began surfacing in 2022 about the their popularity. 

"It created quite a bit of buzz ... and we thought that it seems like a really good solution and that we should try it ourselves," Fultz said. 

The workstations appeared to fulfill a need as parents often showed up to the library to work carrying children who tended to become restless.

"We looked into getting this workstation because, very often, we would see parents in the adult section using the computers and they would have a little one strapped in the stroller because you want them to be safe while you're occupied," Fultz said. "We thought this was a really good solution in those instances because the child can be contained, they can be safe. There's plenty of board books and things within the library, within the children's room, that the kids could be doing while the parent's working."

Using a keyboard

10 companies that will let you work from home and are hiring now

Some companies are leaning hard into letting workers keep flexibility by hiring for remote-only roles.


Fultz has also noticed a shift in how working parents utilize the library.

"I just feel like maybe the times in which people come to the library have maybe shifted a little bit ... [It] used to be after school and into the evening were really busy. And it's a little bit spread out more during the day," Fultz said. "Maybe they're doing some work from home, they take a little bit of a break, come in to get books or get something for the kids to do and then they might go back and finish up their work for the afternoon."

TMC designed the Fairfield, Virginia, library system's family workstation. The spaces have a foam bottom that can be changed out.

Fultz said since the pandemic, more people are also coming to the library to utilize its Wi-Fi throughout the day.

"The usage of our wireless connection really, really increased. We see a lot of people not so much using our computers, but just using our connection, our meeting rooms," Fultz said. "We have some smaller meeting rooms that just hold like four people. And those are constantly being used."