The Library’s new “Wash & Learn” program will create pop-up libraries and digital classrooms in the laundromat so families can learn while they do laundry.
Blaine, MN - Anoka County Library (ACL) launched a new summer program at Tidalwave Laundromat in June 2018. Until August 2018, all attendees will have opportunities to participate in librarian-led learning workshops and take home free books and educational resources. Librarians will work on site at Tidalwave Laundromat noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.
ACL has partnered with Libraries Without Borders (LWB) and the Minnesota State Library Services to launch “Wash & Learn” at Tidalwave Laundromat. The program aims to extend opportunities for literacy development to families waiting at the laundromat as a means to address the “summer slide.”
LWB will install laptops and WiFi hotspots at the laundromat, alongside bookshelves with materials customers can read on site or take home with them. “It’s not just about building a bookshelf in a laundromat,” says Allister Chang, the Executive Director of Libraries Without Borders. “It’s about convening new public-private partnerships to share local expertise at locations where community members already gather.”
In 2015, Libraries Without Borders began building pop-up library programs in public parks, housing lobbies, legal aid waiting rooms, train stations, farmers markets, and food pantries. “One day,” Chang says, “we happened to set up near a laundromat and received higher demand than we had prepared for. We brought more books and more facilitators the next day, eventually customizing the program with the Coin Laundry Association to become a special program we’ve now called Wash and Learn.”
Content will be curated and customized by local experts from Anoka County Library. “Anoka County librarians have collaborated to create content that reflects the needs and interests of the community we serve in Anoka’s cities,” librarian Stacey Hendren says. The result is focused, easy-to-navigate, reliable information that will help families learn and grow together.”
“It’s amazing to think that you can change people’s lives through a load of laundry,” says Tammi Bischoff, owner of Tidal Wave. “The laundromat isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a library partnership, but once I understood what the program aims to do, it clicked perfectly. I’m excited to be a part of this program.”
About Anoka County Library: Anoka County Library serves the entirety of the cities and towns in Anoka County, offering library services to all its residents and visitors. Anoka County Library works to connect its patrons to ideas, information and inspiration through its multitude of services, including computers and internet access, programming for people of all ages, and outreach services to the community.
About Minnesota State Library Services: State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), partners with libraries to achieve equity and excellence in our collective work for Minnesotans. Staff help libraries plan, develop and implement high-quality services that address community needs. State Library Services administers federal grant, state aid, and state grant programs that benefit all types of libraries.
About Libraries Without Borders: Libraries Without Borders (LWB) is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to expand access to reliable information. In the US, LWB has transformed laundromats, public parks, and lobbies of affordable housing units into extensions of the public libraries, offering resources for topics ranging from early childhood education to digital literacy and civil rights. LWB’s programs have won the Google Impact Challenge and the Library of Congress International Literacy Award.
About Tidalwave Laundromat: Tidalwave Laundromat is located in the city of Anoka and serves a diverse population of Anoka residents, offering top-of-the-line washing machines at an affordable price, free WiFi while customers wait, and full-time attendants onsite.