Outreach at Laundromania

Iowa City Public Library loves finding new ways to reach people. Currently, 14 different sites in Iowa City either have an ICPL Outreach Library maintained by staff or receive books to distribute to their clients. Sites include the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, Four Oaks youth shelter, and the Crisis Center. Several months ago, a fellow staff member suggested that we give donated books and information to laundromats as a way of expanding our Outreach services. I contacted Laundromania management about leaving books at their laundromats and keeping current copies of the Bookmobile Schedule and Events Calendars posted on their bulletin boards. I have been doing this at the Sycamore Mall and Mormon Trek Laundromania locations for a couple months.

I have been donating mostly kid’s books, but also some popular books for adults. When I went to both locations a week ago, all the books I had left from before were gone. Hopefully this means those books are serving their purpose - to be read and enjoyed. When I put out fresh book donations at the Mormon Trek Laundromania, a little girl was waiting for her mom to finish their laundry. I showed her the kid’s books, and she was immediately interested. She asked if the books were free, and I reassured her that they were. She opened up a copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and was smiling and reading to herself as I left. Overall, I think this new Outreach project has had a positive impact at these neighborhood laundromats.


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