A Twitter post by Ali Faruk, Policy Director of Families Forward Virginia, highlighting the custom Parent+Child Carrel at Fairfield Area Library in Henrico County, Va., has become a viral sensation. The tweet, originally posted on January 22, now has over 240,000 likes and 30,000 retweets.

“A new public library in my area has these [workstations] for caregivers with babies! Maybe these are common in other places but [I’ve] never seen anything like this before.” Faruk wrote with much excitement. These carrels were designed as a custom solution for patrons after extensive research was conducted by the Quinn Evans design team and Henrico County library staff. As people continued to engage with the viral tweet, comments like, “This has to be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen offered at a library.”; “Is this real? Game changer[.]”; and “Diversity: allowing parents to bring children[.] Inclusion: making things like this[.]” poured in repeatedly.

“Here’s what listening to parents can look like if we let it.” - Delegate Sally Hudson, Virginia General Assembly

A photo of a computer workstation with an attached playpen near library stacks.

The firm collaborated with TMC Furniture, a nationally recognized furniture design and manufacturing company, to create a custom workstation. The design team, led by Shannon Wray CID, LEED AP, and Senior Associate at Quinn Evans on this addition, exchanged sketches, compared notes, and engaged in charrettes with library staff to refine ideas. The workstation features a desk with privacy panels and an attached play area, with a vinyl mat that can easily be wiped down multiple times a day.

It has been gratifying to see that the family workstations have been a hit, even at the opening day reception. A woman with an infant and a small child immediately tried one out, and later said, “I’m going to be in the library all the time because you’ve got a place for me.” The popularity of these accommodations suggest that they might be useful in workplace settings as well as libraries. Recognizing a need, sharing ideas, and finding a solution: the Fairfield workstation represents design collaboration and creativity at its best.

- Shannon Wray CID, LEED AP, and Senior Associate at Quinn Evans.

A photo of the workstation from a different angle.

In the Fairfield Area Library, there are four of the custom workstations, now branded as “The Fairfield” by TMC. Quinn Evans continues to utilize the power of conversations with clients in the planning process to bring about the best ideas that support the needs of their communities.