From Availability to Accessibility: Why the Detroit Public Library Began Partnering with Coin Laundromats
How do you Google a question you do not know the specific vocabulary to phrase? How do you sort through all the answers that come up, and avoid the ads that provide false or misleading information? Many people that we work with do not find high-quality, web-based resources to be accessible, even though the resources are technically available. While accessibility is near impossible without availability, availability without accessibility is perhaps even more disappointing.
In 2016, Libraries Without Borders established the Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI) to expand the access and accessibility of information to families waiting for their clothes to wash and dry in laundromats. This article discusses the private-public partnerships between small, mom-and-pop laundromat businesses and library branches that have made this work possible. For our laundromat partners, we have heard that WALI libraries provide them with a direct means to give back to their communities.