What do barbershops and books want? A moment in time with your head. And through Read While You Wait, a community-based children’s literacy program, the Los Angeles Public Library aims to use books to capture what’s inside kids’ heads before they get into the barber’s chair.
City librarian John F. Szabo and Sr. Field Deputy Dina Andrews from Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s office created the program, which is setting up little libraries inside local barbershops. The Read While You Wait space features a book rack with a selection of books for children to enjoy while they or their parents are waiting for a haircut, and is designed to promote reading among school-aged children and create positive associations with reading in non-academic settings.
Kev’s Barbershop in Leimert Park was the first location in the pilot program, which will eventually expand to other barbershops and laundromats in South L.A. The selection of award-winning books is curated by librarians and provided by the LAPL.
While all children are encouraged to use the books offered through Read While You Wait, the program is geared particularly to boys because on average, 75 percent of the male students attending elementary schools in the target areas read below standard reading levels, organizers say.
For more information, visit lapl.org.