Mobilizing Literary with Books with Barbers
The Books with Barbers program seeks to improve literacy rates in Spartanburg County by putting books into the hands of children while they wait for a haircut in area barbershops. The program provides participating barbershops with a small library of books, a bookshelf for storage and a sitting area for students.
Part of the Books with Barbers initiative is to decrease the number of “book deserts” across the state. Areas where families and students don’t have access to physical books is an issue for many parts of our community.
The program now in it's second year in District 7 kicked off as part of the 10th anniversary of the district’s literacy program, 7Reads.
Setting up a library in a barbershop costs about $230, and books are chosen based on the cultural relevance, age and gender-appropriateness for the students who will read them.
Timmigo Burnett, owner of Phase II Barbershop on Union Street in Spartanburg, is one of the barbers District 7 is partnering with. Burnett said community members should invest in students’ education because someday, those students will invest in the community.
Because of the Books with Barbers program, we are able to mobilize literacy, as well as bridge families back together. It's now common place to see seeing kids sitting back on their dads’ laps and sitting on their mothers’ laps with books opened again and hearing pages turned again. Families are coming back together again with literacy.