Albemarle laundromat receives new literacy center for families

Published 8:05 am Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Families using the facilities at an Albemarle laundromat will now be able to pass the time waiting for clothes to be done by reading.

The Stanly County Public Library, along with a grant and several partners, repurposed a corner of the Corner Laundromat at 1105 W. Main St. into a new Family Literacy Center last week.

The library’s program, “Rinse and Read Laundromat Literacy,” was opened by Sara Hahn, children and youth services librarian, and Glenda Austin, children and youth services assistant. The new area allows children and their families to enjoy books. Hahn led story time at the grand opening of the center along with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The project was made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the State Library of North Carolina. The state library is under the division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Local agencies which helped partner with the library include the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce and the Stanly County Partnership for Children. Hahn said the library hopes to partner with Partnership for Children for other community outreach programs.

Hahn said laundromat literacy is happening in big cities “because studies show that families who are in need of laundromat services are also often in need of free library services.”

She said the owner of the laundromat, Doug Hughes, said many families who use the facilities walk there or have to be careful how much gas they use in their vehicles.

“He thought it would be a great place to put a literacy corner,” Hahn said.

Hahn also said the library hopes to have in-person story time twice a month.

“We have a lot of families in our backyard. For whatever reason they don’t enter the library. It’s a resource that is really underutilized, and a lot of that is because we are missing a big community outreach component that we’re trying to do with things like the farmers market and different kids’ events.”

Places like the farmers market, Hahn said, are paid services, places where people are buying things.

“We’re missing this whole population of underprivileged, under-income families that need our services, but they don’t have the resources to get us. We’re hoping to meet them where they are.”

The whole point of the library, Hahn said, is “to serve the community.” She said the center “is a new way to try to reach out and serve.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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