Councilmembers Shannon Hardin and Elizabeth Brown Support a Unique Partnership that Places Books in the Hands of Children while visiting Barbershops
[COLUMBUS-OH] A buzz cut, clean shave and in-depth discussions about how dinosaurs go to school are now a-day-in-the-life for barbers participating in the Barbershop Books program.
The program is a partnership between Columbus City Schools and Columbus City Council.
“Barbershops are the heart and soul of a neighborhood,” said Councilmember Shannon Hardin. “This initiative promotes fun mentorship opportunities for our young people.”
Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program founded in New York City that creates child-friendly reading spaces in neighborhood barbershops, primarily in African American communities. The goal is to encourage all young people, particularly four to eight-year-olds, to read. This age range (Pre-K through third-grade) is a critical period for growing the skills of reading and comprehension.
City Council passed ordinance 1293-2016, which provides $6,500 in funding to Columbus City Schools for the Barbershop Books initiative.
“These unique reading nooks will provide another outlet for a child to pick up a book and read to themselves and with other adults,” said Dr. Dan Good Superintendent/CEO Columbus City Schools. “Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy.”
Columbus City School will now be able to purchase 150 culturally relevant, age-appropriate books creating 10 reading spaces in barbershops.
Among the 15 curated books at each site might be The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The book’s main character is a young male of color experiencing the joys of a first snowfall. The Snowy Day is considered one of the first picture books aimed at young children to portray a realistic, multi-cultural urban setting.
“Reading -- inside and outside the classroom -- is fundamental to a child’s growth and education,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Brown. “Our investment in kids today directly affects the success of Columbus in the future.”
Research shows easy access to reading materials - regardless of children’s reading abilities - increases the amount of time they read for fun. It also creates a unique opportunity for youngsters to be surrounded by positive role models who are also encouraging them to read.
Participating barbershops include:
· E’voluer Barber Studio - 705 E. Long St, 43203
· Grooves Barber & Beauty Salon - 6533 East Livingston Ave., 43068
· Ohio State College of Barbers Styling - 4614 E. Broad St, 43213
· Cut Masters - 2293 Cleveland Ave., 43211
· Gifted Hands Barber Shop - 1424 E. 5th Ave., 43219
· Unique Image Barber and Beauty Salon - 2410 Home Acre Dr., 43231
· Pure Elegance Barber & Beauty - 1544 Lockbourne Ave., 43207
· Touch & Agree Barber Shop - 1226 Marion Rd., 43207
· Righteous Cuts Barber Shop - 2327 Sullivant Ave., 43204
· Stew’s Barber Shop - 2389 Sullivant Ave., 43204
Pic: Pure Elegance Barber and Beauty (1544 Lockbourne Rd) is already at work as they collaborates with Columbus City Council and City Schools Barbershop Books Pilot Program.