Saint Paul Public Library Extends to Giant Wash Coin Laundry

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

SAINT PAUL, MN − Mayor Melvin Carter III will launch the new “Wash and Learn” program at Giant Wash (1675 Rice Street, 55117) on May 12, 2018, at 11 a.m. Giant Wash Laundry will host a Free Laundry Day in celebration, and offer free wash and dry to community members who register between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. All attendees will have opportunities to participate in librarian-lead learning workshops and take home free books and educational resources.

"Wash & Learn is an example of the forward-thinking ideas and partnerships we intend to advance throughout Saint Paul," says Mayor Carter. "Meeting people where they are with Library programs, materials, and resources makes perfect sense. It is through these unique partnerships and simple solutions that we build a city that works for all of us."

SPPL partnered with Minnesota State Library Services and Libraries Without Borders (LWB), a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., to launch Wash & Learn at Giant Wash. The program aims to extend SPPL’s efforts to close the digital divide among residents of Saint Paul. LWB will install laptops and WiFi hotspots at the laundromat, alongside bookshelves with materials customers can read on site or check out and take home.

“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,” says Allister Chang, Executive Director of Libraries Without Borders. “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.”

SPPL 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 from May 5 to October 6, 2018.

Giant Wash is donating the cost of the laundry, and VendRite Manufacturing is donating the laundry supplies. The laundromat was first introduced to LWB by the LaundryCares Foundation, a national non-profit based in Chicago. “It’s amazing to think that you can change people’s lives through a load of laundry,” says Daryl Johnson, owner of Giant Wash. “We have volunteered at other free laundry days across the country — it was time to do one at home. It only made sense to partner with LWB and help impact literacy issues at the same time. It’s humbling to be a part of this.”

“I’m excited to see this terrific partnership launch,” said Jennifer Nelson, the State Librarian of Minnesota. “There are so many ways that people in Minnesota can connect with libraries, and this novel form of outreach promises to help instill the value of open and equitable access to information across the state.”

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About Saint Paul Public Library
Saint Paul Public Library connects people in Saint Paul with the imperative and the joy of learning through a lifetime. Saint Paul residents can enjoy free access to technology, books, movies, music, classes and more. We are at 12 neighborhood libraries, George Latimer Central Library, the Bookmobile, and online at sppl.org.

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 Giant Wash Coin Laundromat
Giant Wash Laundry is a family owned business, established in 2006 with 6 locations in Minnesota and Iowa. Daryl & Lisa are active members in their community and volunteer at LaundryCares Foundation events across the country.