top of page

Laundromat Literacy

Optimizing Learning in Local Laundromats

Book Harvest's Laundromat Literacy initiative is an innovative partnership with community laundromats devoted to transforming the time families spend doing their laundry – often once a week or more – into content-rich, activity-filled, literacy-enhancing experiences.

What is Laundromat Literacy?

Book Harvest's Laundromat Literacy initiative exemplifies the community partnerships we have created to accomplish an audacious goal: to remove ALL obstacles to literacy for children in our midst, beginning in the ordinary and informal settings that characterize our neighborhoods and starting with families as soon as their children are born.


We maintain bookshelves filled with free children’s books that are available any time the laundromats are open; children are invited to choose an unlimited number of books from these shelves to take home and keep forever.


Why Laundromat Literacy Matters

laundromats page.jpg

Part of a national movement to optimize learning everywhere families frequent, Laundromat Literacy engages children and families while their laundry spins and fosters language development and book ownership.

• Laundromats are a “third space” – after home and school – where families convene. Not only are they community gathering centers, they provide a regular opportunity for families to engage in activities together. [1]

• Literacy spaces in laundromats help create an informal community learning environment to engage children in ongoing literacy activities. [2]


 Children engage in 30 times more literacy-rich activities in laundromats with literacy play spaces compared to other sites. [3]

What really brings warmth to my heart is when I’m in one of the laundromats and I hear a child say, ‘Can I have this book? Can I take this book?’ and the parent will say, ‘no you have to leave it here.’ And I’ll say, ‘no, take the book!’

Rita, Owner of Regency Cleaners

How We Partner with Laundromats

Book Harvest partners with community laundromat owners to maintain cozy reading corners in laundromats, each filled with special furniture and activity centers to encourage parent-child reading and literacy activities, and a bookshelf filled with an abundance of high-quality, culturally diverse, and bilingual books free for the taking.


A Book Harvest staff member or volunteer replenishes and refreshes the book corner regularly. 

Are you a laundromat owner in Durham, NC and want to be involved? Contact Caitlyn Smith at


Find a Laundromat Literacy Location

Sort by category to see only our Laundromat Literacy locations.

Thank you to our Laundromat Literacy funders: GSK Ribbon of Hope, Durham County Government

bottom of page