ABOUT BARBERSHOP BOOKS
WHAT IS BARBERSHOP BOOKS?
Barbershop Books is the debut program of Reading Holiday Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literacy organization in New York City. 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. We 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.
Help 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.
THE LITERACY CHALLENGE
According to the United States Department of Education, more than 85% of America’s black male 4th grade students are not proficient in reading.
In an increasingly global and knowledge-based economy, poor reading skills among young black boys today will produce black men who are unprepared to compete in the workforce of tomorrow. Four key factors contribute to low reading proficiency among black boys: (1) limited access to engaging reading material; (2) lack of black men in black boys’ early reading experiences; (3) few culturally competent educators; and (4) educational systems that are unresponsive to Black boys’ individual learning needs.
MEET OUR FOUNDER
Alvin Irby, MS, MPA
Alvin Irby is a passionate educator committed to innovative curriculum, child-centered education, and transformative teaching and leadership. Irby has taught kindergarten and first grade in NYC and served as Education Director at the Boys' Club of New York. He holds a Masters in childhood education from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education, a Masters of Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and a Bachelor's from Grinnell College. As a nationally recognized speaker and award-winning social entrepreneur, Irby has established himself as a cultural competency specialist and a thought leader in the field of early childhood education.