We are proud to support libraries of all kinds across the country. That’s why our name is EveryLibrary. We have supported Prison Libraries, Small Archives, School Libraries, and of course many of you are familiar with our work with Public Libraries. But now, we are extremely excited to be supporting a new literacy program with Columbia, South Carolina based organization called Books With Barbers to collect and distribute books and reading materials focused on African American children and youth to be used in 6 Macon, Georgia barber shops as a pilot program to address the literacy gap for boys, young men, and their families.
EveryLibrary is facilitating donations of books and soliciting funds in partnership with Books with Barbers to create “literacy stations” in these barber shops which will include a range of reading materials for young readers. The goal of the Books with Barbers program is for young readers to access to a multitude of text to read while waiting or receiving a haircut. This pilot program kicked off in Macon, GA during the week of December 16th with RazorLine Barbershop serving as the first site.
“Children must learn to read before they can read to learn,” said Books with Barbers founder Jasmine Mix. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up on welfare or in jail and over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level. In proactively addressing these deficiencies, it is important to exhaust every possible effort to make sure that we own the responsibility of placing books in the hands of children at every turn. Books With Barbers is a step in right direction towards accomplishing this.
Barbershops have historically been pillars or cornerstones of Black communities in particular. Many positive experiences occur in barbershops while customers are being groomed to present the best version of themselves. By placing books in barbershops, Books With Barbers is addressing the literacy needs of children and grooming them to become successful readers by meeting them where they are with materials that speak to who they are. Doing this will help ensure that they have unabated access to reading materials, can develop adequate reading comprehension skills and are afforded opportunities to be successful in their scholastic endeavors and beyond.
Please contact Brian Hart, EveryLibrary’s Director Of Special Projects, with questions or opportunities.