Too small to fail in laundromats

Too Small To Fail
In Laundromats

According to Liz McChesney, MGOL is perfect for the complexity of the Laundromat environment.

Many Laundromats now have a “Play Area” that is a corner of the laundromat, sometimes with some communal toys, often times not. The space is usually a bit removed from the noise and action of the washers and dryers and folding areas.  Because laundromats are also often a community meeting spot and a sort of gathering place, the library saw the numbers of attendees grow when programs were held consistently at the same time and on the same day of the week.

MGOL in a Chicago laundromat
A librarian and young girl play with scarves together during MGOL activities at a laundromat in Chicago.

While working as Director of Citywide Children's Services at the Chicago Public Library, Liz pioneered MGOL adapted programs in Laundromats with a PNC Grant and, Words to Grow On, Chicago, and continued them under a STEAM and Stories project.

Describing why MGOL works in the laundromat, Liz states:

The emphasis on short, rhythmic nursery verses allows for learning in a highly changeable environment.  Moms or Dads, Aunties and Uncles, Abuelas and Abuelos will jump up and run to the dryer in the middle of a picture book or  story, but they will stay and finish out a nursery rhyme or song with no worries about taking up a valuable machine or wrinkles forming in newly dried clothes!  Also, the MGOL welcome section emphasizes that young children may not be able to sit still for long.  And this is great to reiterate in your laundromat opening messages about young children may not be able to sit still:  important in this setting!

Liz now serves as a Senior Advisor to the Urban Library Council where she is building national models I children's services in libraries, as well as a Clinton Global Foundation consultant developing early literacy nooks in 'everyday spaces' across the country.