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Transcript: Wash and Learn: Saint Paul Minnesota

May 30, 2018


[Jeff Gardner]
Watch and learn is a combination of libraries and laundromats coming together with communities to promote literacy and help early childhood learning in spaces that might not normally be traditionally thought of as libraries.

[Melvin Carter]
I'm really excited to be here today this morning on a Saturday morning in a Saint Paul public library.  We're partnering with Libraries Without Borders to ensure that all of our children and families in our community have access to books and literacy and that, you know, two hours spent on a Saturday morning washing are also two hours spent on a Saturday morning learning.

[Adam Echelman]
NNLM worked with us Libraries Without Borders, to pilot our first ever laundromat event in Minnesota.  And with some of the learnings from that program we said why can't we do this across the state and now we're working in five different counties, seven different laundromats, to really think about how do we get information to people where they are.  How do we ensure that NNLM resources reach the families that they're intended to serve.

[Pang Yang]
This is a very natural space for families to already be and to go to weekly and so we figured let's destroy the transportation barrier, or the time barrier, or whatever the obstacle is and then come to where they are so that we can provide them the resources that we have.

[Adam Echelman]
When people come into the laundromat they're not thinking about learning.  They're not thinking about addressing their concerns about diabetes or hypertension or cancer.  They're washing their clothes.  And so what we're trying to do is to transform the 90 minutes—the wash and dry cycle that you're doing every week—into a different kind of experience, into one that's actually enriching.

[Jennifer Nelson]
Digital literacy is fundamental to being successful in the world today and I think many of us take for granted the fact that we have computers at home, that we have access to Wi-Fi.  The National Library of Medicine—a lot of people aren't aware of the degree and nature of the resources that they put out to make learning about topics related to medicine really accessible to people, so we've got some websites that are set up to the NLM site, I should say, where people can look for information about nutrition.  Some of the resources are directed toward kids so they're really friendly, more of a game-like environment.

[Jose Gonzales]
It was really fun because I got to play on the computer. It was nice of them for putting all the stuff up.

[Daryl Johnson]
It's a way to give back.  Simply put, if I can serve my community, in the end that's gonna be good for me, but the reality of it is, it's just good for the community.



The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: May 30, 2018