This past summer, the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA) launched Pennsylvania’s first “Wash & Learn” site. This program establishes a learning library in a neighborhood laundromat. Allegheny County’s first site launched through a collaboration with Libraries Without Borders, South Park Township Library, Sudsy’s Laundromat and WQED Multimedia (WQED). The program presents new opportunities for literacy development for children waiting at the laundromat with their families. This helps avoid “summer slide” by encouraging on-going learning when schools are not in session.
Community representatives, including Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, attended the opening celebration on June 28. Guests received a tour of the facility and the opportunity to participate in various activities for the entire family. For more information about the event, visit the following links of media coverage (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kidsburgh).
The learning library includes laptops alongside bookshelves with curated materials that customers can read on site or check out and take home. ACLA, South Park Township Library and WQED offered facilitated programming throughout the summer on Mondays. Parents of children attending the program received free laundry services.
Although the facilitated programming ended in August, the learning library will be available throughout the year.
“Literacy and lifelong learning have always been our highest priority at the South Park Township Library,” said Amanda DeKnight, the Director of SPTL. “We are so excited to have an opportunity to take what we do best outside the walls of the traditional library to reach the patrons that aren’t able to get to us.”
The next “Wash & Learn” facility, located in McKeesport, is in the development stages. Stay tuned for more information.v