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Pop-up library program celebrates successes with Free Laundry Day at westside laundromat

Kids at a Wash & Learn event

Laundromats, like libraries, are community hubs. It's no wonder, then, that the two go together so well.

That's what Libraries Without Borders has found both in Detroit and the Bronx, where the international non-profit has introduced their Wash & Learn program. The pilot program brings library amenities to the people, setting up pop-up libraries in laundromats.

Wash & Learn provides a Detroit librarian with books, laptops, Wi-Fi access, and more to each of the participating laundromats.

For John Carr, program officer at Libraries Without Borders, the marriage between library and laundromat has been a perfect fit.

"It takes an average of one and a half to two hours to do a load of laundry. So you have a captive audience," says Carr. "It's a real opportunity for community enrichment."

The program started in summer 2017 at three laundromats across the city of Detroit. Carr says that the goal is to have a library at every laundromat in the city.

Libraries Without Borders has partnered with a number of organizations to make Wash & Learn possible, including the Knight foundation, United Way of South East Michigan, Laundry Cares Foundation, the Detroit Public Library system, Southwest Solutions, the Detroit Mayor's Office, Coin Laundromat Association, Too Small to Fail, and Brilliant Detroit.

Celebrating their program's success, Libraries Without Borders and their partners are throwing a Free Laundry Day event at Coinless Laundromat on the city's west side on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 3 to 7 p.m.

The festivities will include access to free laundry and refreshments, as well as arts and crafts and face painting for children.

"We hope that these pop-up libraries become integral parts of Detroit neighborhoods," says Carr. "We're inviting the community to come out and see."

Coinless Laundromat is located at 1281 Oakman Blvd. For more information on Wednesday's free event, click here.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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