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Legal Literacy Program Takes Olneyville Library into the Laundromat, Flea Market, Bus Station and Housing Development

Published Date: 
July 16, 2018

Providence Community Library (PCL) and Libraries Without Borders will partner to provide direct services to Olneyville residents as they use the local laundromat, explore the flea market, and return home to the Manton Heights housing development. The Legal Literacy Initiative strives to bring library services and legal resources to everyday places frequented by residents and provides help with issues of ongoing concern. The pilot program will run on a regular schedule from July 28 to September 8 on the following days, times, and locations:

  • Monday, 2:30PM - 4:00PM: Manton Heights, 31 Salmon Street
  • Monday, 4:00PM - 5:30PM: Showcase Laundromat, 65 Manton Avenue
  • Wednesday, 2:30PM - 4:00PM Bus Station, Olneyville Square
  • Wednesday 4:00PM - 5:30PM: Manton Heights, 31 Salmon Street
  • Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:30PM: Flea Market, 120 Manton Avenue
  • Saturday, 1:30 - 3:00PM: Showcase Laundromat, 65 Manton Avenue

Guided by library staff, participants will have access to computer tablets and a WiFi hotspot at each program location, through which they can access legal resources as well as information on digital literacy, English-language learning, and health and job opportunities.

Kate Lentz, 2018 Carter Innovation Fellow, will give out free books for children through her Raising Readers in Rhode Island Initiative and recruit volunteers to read to kids in the laundromat and other venues. Providence Public Library and Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island will provide additional support. The program creators hope to establish one permanent learning space in Olneyville and have it in place by early September.

"One of the greatest aspects of Olneyville is its diversity," says Adam Echelman, Director of Programs for Libraries Without Borders. "We want to brainstorm new ways to engage the community, especially around sensitive issues like immigration and housing law. Through the Legal Literacy Initiative, we will build on existing community outreach efforts already made by PCL and test out some new locations."

Libraries Without Borders has previously piloted successful legal outreach programs in Hyattsville and Salisbury MD, as well as Washington DC, by working in churches, laundromats, community centers, and street corners. The Legal Literacy Initiative in Olneyville is supported by United Way of Rhode Island.

For the latest updates to this Initiative, please visit this page.