Seven-year-old Emma McGee used to hate coming to the laundromat. It was boring, and seemed to take forever. In fact she would always ask—unsuccessfully—to stay home with her older brother, Aiden. But things have gotten more interesting since a play space appeared in the back corner of Lavanderia Express IV, a large laundromat nestled next to a family dollar store in the Bronx where Emma and her mother, Venus, come every week.
The first five years of a child’s life are critical for language exposure, but studies suggest children in lower-income families often don’t experience the rich literary environment wealthier kids do. A New York City initiative trying to close that gap encourages reading in a spot families visit every week -- but don't usually consider educational.
Kids in the South Bronx have access to a pop-up library and media center this summer. The facility, called the Ideas Box, was created by the French designer Philippe Starck. Besides books, it will provide Internet, tablets and cameras. The Ideas Box will be in Hayden Lord Park until Sept. 5.
A pop-up library program that originated in African refugee camps has arrived in The Bronx. Ideas Box, a portable media center providing users with books, e-readers, board games and Internet access, opened up at Hayden Lord Park on Wednesday for the summer thanks to a partnership between Libraries Without Borders, the DreamYard Project, the New York Public Library and the Alexander Soros Foundation.
BSF decided to launch the “Wash & Learn” program in Morrisania, the poorest district in the Bronx, itself the poorest borough in New York City. “This [...] is a neighborhood of low-income people who are living paycheck to paycheck, hoping that their children can receive some education and eventually get a good paying job so that the family can move up in the socioeconomic ladder,” says local resident, Rafael Gonzalez.
A typical laundry day at the laundromat would be sitting around waiting for your clothes to wash and dry, but this video demonstrates a unique washing experience with the “Wash and Learn” summer program in the Bronx. The program offers the convenience of a pop-up library space while washing clothes, helping residents get access to a variety of resources.