Three out of four Black boys in California are not reading at grade level, based on data from the Department of Education, confirming the need to expand library and literacy programs beyond traditional spaces. In consideration of this need, LA County Library has partnered with Barbershop Books to create a child-friendly reading space inside 10 barbershops in South Los Angeles, to help black boys ages 4 – 8 identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male-centered space, and by involving men in boys’ early reading experiences.
LA County Library continues to focus on increasing access to all customers. “We understand that not all County residents will frequent one of our LA County Library locations, so we’ve made a point to go directly to them. We are committed to minimizing the literacy gap between young men of color and their peers, and this partnership with Barbershop Books will help us do that,” said LA County Library Director Skye Patrick.
Barbershop Books, the debut program of Reading Holiday Project, Inc., is a nonprofit literacy organization that leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in black communities to increase boys’ access to culturally-relevant and age-appropriate children’s books to increase out-of-school time spent reading among young black boys. Small bookshelves will be provided to barbershops for customers to read while waiting to have their hair cut.
A kickoff event will take place at St. Julian Barbershop, located at 107 N Long Beach Blvd, Compton, CA 90221 on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 12 – 2 pm.