The winner of the 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize was awarded last week to Barbershop Books, a program that adds a reading space to local barbershops. The initiative was started by Alvin Irby, a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, who specifically wanted young black boys to have a reading space that is fun and stress-free. For Irby, there was a gap in the representation of black male elementary school teachers and young black readers. If the barbershop (as a male centred space) could be a place for young boys to identify as readers, this gap could begin to be filled. With the prize money, Barbershop Books will collaborate with 10 new barbershops in Little Rock, Arkansas, and will give training to barbers in how to create community reading spaces.
(Image source: Pexel, CC0 Licensed)