Barbershop Books, Winner of the 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize

May 2017



Each year the National Book Foundation, with support from the Levenger Foundation, awards the Innovations in Reading Prize to an individual or organization who discovers new ways to empower communities through literature.

The 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize has been awarded to Barbershop Books, a community-based reading program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops.

“Barbershop Books would like to thank the National Book Foundation for this tremendous honor and for sharing our passion for helping the babies read,” said Alvin Irby, Founder of Barbershop Books. “We dedicate this Innovations in Reading Prize to the many barbers across America who make time each day to inspire young black boys to say three words, ‘I’m a reader.’”

In the past two years, Barbershop Books has opened transformative reading spaces more than 50 bookshops, in 20 cities, across 12 states. They plan to use the $10,000 prize to fund locations in Little Rock, AK, Irby’s hometown.

Barbershop Books’ mission is to help black boys ages 4-8 to identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male-centered space and by involving men in boys’ early reading experiences.

You can learn more about Barbershop Books on Mashable, or watch their profile on CNN below.