In 2020, the ICfL began a pilot project to bring literacy centers to Idaho through partnerships between local public libraries and laundromats. Based on the findings of the New York and Chicago studies referenced above, the intent was to establish “literacy-rich spaces” in local laundromats and take advantage of laundry wait times by bringing books and other early literacy materials to children and families utilizing laundromats in rural settings, as well as low-income suburban and urban communities. The ICfL piloted this project with three Idaho libraries (in four sites) in the fall of 2020 through spring of 2021. By the fall of 2021, the ICfL expanded the project to nine additional libraries and it now serves 13 sites in the state.
While the COVID-19 health crisis continues to be a factor in how this project is implemented, the project’s goals remain true.