Of course babies are welcome in the public library! Or are they? The benefits of a literacy-rich environment for babies and toddlers are well documented, and the library is a go-to place for families with young children.1 But the actual presence of babies and toddlers in the library creates unique challenges for everyone. We often see babies kept in restraining seats due to a lack of alternatives and, after a reasonable amount of time, they voice their complaints loudly. Often, new mothers find the idea of entering a library a bit daunting. After all, babies can be unpredictable, disruptive, and just plain noisy. Staff members are all too familiar with managing unsupervised toddlers while adult caregivers are preoccupied with computer-related tasks, and with fielding complaints from less tolerant adult patrons. The little ones themselves don’t really have a place of their own to just be themselves while in the library. These are just a few of the problems we’ve identified when considering how to truly accept and welcome babies and their caregivers in the library.
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