Barbershop Books is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing young readers from underrepresented communities.
Developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books is a community-based program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops and provides early literacy training to barbers across America. This organization helps Black boys ages 4 – 8 to identify as readers by connecting fun books to a male-centered space and by involving Black men in boys’ early reading experiences. They leverage the cultural significance of barbershops in Black communities to increase boys’ access to culturally relevant, age appropriate, and gender responsive children’s books and to increase out-of-school time reading among young black boys. To promote these early reading experiences, Barbershop Books works with local, or suggested barbershops and secures the required funding. They work to create an approved reading space in the barbershop. Program materials are shipped to the barbershop, with Barbershop Books employees assembling and installing the reading space. Barbershop Books employees then provide early literacy barber training to the barbers. This allows for barbers to encourage boys to read and talk to families about reading.