Skip to content
CityLab
Government

The US Has No Early Childhood Infrastructure. Libraries Are Picking Up the Slack

Most American institutions pretend very young children don’t exist. Public libraries are one of the few places to put their needs front and center.

Yet another reason to love libraries.

Yet another reason to love libraries.

Photograph courtesy of Salt Lake City Public Library.

The design was hardly earth-shattering: a small wooden desk with a computer, chair and simple fenced-in play area. Yet when Ali Faruk, policy director of the nonprofit Families Forward Virginia, tweeted a photo of the work-play carrel at Henrico County’s Fairfield Area Library earlier this year, it quickly went viral. “God, this actually made me a bit emotional — facilities for kids,” wrote one of the tens of thousands of people who shared Faruk’s tweet.