2020 Highlights: What We’ve Accomplished Together

Sunday December 20, 2020 By Barbershop Books

This year has brought many challenges, but with each challenge there has been even more support from our community partners and individuals just like you.

Before 2020 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on how we all accomplished the amazing feat of inspiring and expanding reading opportunities for kids during these difficult times.


– In response to the pandemic, Barbershop Books teamed up with community partners across the country to distribute free new books at emergency food sites. The Oakpoint Charitable Foundation generously offered to match donations to Barbershop Books up to $10,000. Thanks to Oakpoint Charitable Foundation’s generosity, Barbershop Books shipped more than 2,300 new books to cities across the country and expaned our programming offerings this summer.

– The Reading So Lit Summer, a free 3-week virtual literacy program from Barbershop Books served 40 boys. This innovative new program helped boys ages 6-8 to identify as readers and gain a better understanding of their personal reading preferences. Three Black male early childhood educators led 2 weekly reading lessons. Participants received free books and hands-on activities to follow along with each lesson and to continue their learning throughout the summer.

– Lafayette Men’s Soccer teamed up (virtually) to create an inspiring video for our young readers. Each player took a moment to share with us their favorite reading space. Watch the video by clicking here.

– The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy partnered with Barbershop Books to expand reading opportunities for children in Detroit and Baltimore in 2021.Through this partnership, Barbershop Books will be able to provide essential reading materials to young children. Read more about this partnership.

– Every Tuesday and Friday Barbershop Books releases new read aloud videos in our new Reading So Lit eLibrary! Children and parents can tune in for free fun and educational storytime with Barbarbershop Books Chief Reading Inspirer Alvin Irby (along with special guests readers).

– This year we organized webinars and panels to support barbers and barbershop owners as they navigate these uncertain times. More than 30 barbers participated in our first webinar during which we had a small business expert Nadia Aristide, the founder of Maroon Strategist, discuss the federal government’s Payroll Protection Program and other COVID-19 relief funds available to barbers and shop owners.

– We recently teamed up with ThriftBooks  — America’s largest online retailer of used books. ThriftBooks donated $5,000 and made an annual commitment of 20,000 children’s book donations, which will be curated and distributed by Barbershop Books. This collaboration will draw from the ThriftBooks’ catalog of more than 13 million quality books and utilize Barbershop Books’ national network of community partners to get high-interest titles into communities that need them most.

– Shoutout to Riley Ridley, wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, for supporting Barbershop Books for #mycleatsmycause and helping expand reading opportunities for young Black boys across the country! Read more about the program and view the cleats dedicated to youth literacy.


Ted Radio Hour
Alvin Irby: How Can We Inspire Children To Be Lifelong Readers?

NBC Sports
Chicago Bears Release Custom ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ Designs For Lions Game

Vanity Fair
Minneapolis Barber Lamberto Vergara On His Boarded-up Shop: “We’re In This Together”

The Southern Maryland Chronicle
Summer Is Booked Nonprofit, Title I Give Books To Students

New York Post
Why The Culture Of Black Barbershops Is So Important


We’ve come so far this year, but there is still more work to be done for young readers across the country. As this year comes to a close, end 2020 by making a difference in the life of a young child.

A gift of $25 provides 2 kids with 6 fun books. Make a tax-deductible contribution by December 31st! Give Now

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