St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is heading to the Giant Wash laundry on Rice Street on Saturday to launch the St. Paul Public Library’s new “Wash and Learn” program, which installs “pop-up” library materials and digital classrooms in the laundromat. Librarians will work on site at Giant Wash a few hours per week to teach workplace skills, provide storytimes for children and answer questions. Programs will run to Oct. 6 2018.
Catherine Penkert, director of the St. Paul library system, said that because of transportation or scheduling issues, not all families can make it to a library branch when they need to. The "Wash and Learn" program aims to help close that digital divide.
Shakopee residents can visit Scott County Library’s “Wash and Learn” at Giant Wash Coin Laundry on 401 First Ave. W every Monday night from 6 to 8 p.m. The program has brought a bookshelf and a pair of computers to the laundromat on a six-week pilot program sponsored by the nonprofit Libraries Without Borders.
“It’s a way to reach folks who don’t usually come into the library,” said Paula Keith, the Scott County librarian in charge of the program. “I like coming in and seeing the books scattered about because I know people have been reading them,” she said.
“A lot of families have told us they don’t participate in library programs because they have unpredictable work schedules and can’t afford to miss a shift,” Chang said in a statement. “Wash & Learn reduces these barriers because it brings the library to a location they visit weekly. It helps families knock out three birds with one stone: wash clothes, complete a professional development program, and help children develop early literacy skills.”
What do libraries and laundromats have in common?
Like butter and potatoes, not much, but mashed together they’re brilliant.
Libraries Without Borders’ Wash and Learn Initiative does the mashing by bringing colorful spaces with story times, toys and books to laundromats, turning lengthy wait times into opportunities for early learning.