On July 21, Forbes published a piece by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas arguing that Amazon stores should replace public libraries. The backlash was rapid and unforgiving; library-lovers from around the world responded with angry tweets, and Forbes removed the piece two days later. Yet the article highlights a concerning fact: Too many Americans misunderstand the role of the public library.
“You’ve got 30 minutes where everything’s in the dryer and [there’s] nothing to do. That’s when you can sit down at a computer, and ask a librarian to help you reset your Gmail password and to do the stuff that maybe you are not comfortable doing on your own.” WALI aims to provide digital access in areas where residents can benefit from a neighborhood point for internet connectivity.
“We really want to work to remove as many barriers as possible in all areas for residents in the city of Baltimore.” There will be technology stations and digital skills programming in four laundromat locations across Baltimore city, and Hipp Laundromat in the 3100 block of Pulaski Highway is one of those locations.
A new program is bringing the next wave of technology to Baltimore City laundromats. Libraries Without Borders is teaming up with Pratt Libraries to work to turn the page for good in Southeast Baltimore, and Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and City Council President Brandon Scott were guests in Monday’s “Wash and Learn Initiative” at Hipp Laundromat.
Dominic Ford, a Baltimore resident, doesn't have access to the internet at home, so he's here at the Hipp Laundromat to get some computer help. Ford is not alone. Pratt Library officials said many homes in Baltimore don't have web access, so it set up a program at four neighborhood laundromats to bridge the digital divide.
Digital equity—providing those in need with the resources and information to access the internet and its services—is the focal point of the just-launched Wash and Learn Initiative across Baltimore. The Enoch Pratt Free Library and Libraries Without Borders’ partnership, along with the support of the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and the Media Democracy Fund, will see the introduction of laptops, tablets, and targeted programming inside four different laundromat locations in the city. Laundromats are a place of gathering—everyone needs to do their laundry. With this in mind, those behind the program decided that the best way to do outreach was to meet people where they are.
The Baltimore Sun: Surfing while sudsing: Baltimore Wash & Learn Initiative equips laundromats with computers /
Your neighborhood laundromat may no longer be a place to simply wash clothes and fight boredom. This week the Enoch Pratt Free Library and Libraries without Borders are installing computers and tablets in four large laundromats around Baltimore to bring technology tools to city communities where many residents lack internet access.