• Tonya Garcia, Library Director was sent a video by Master Barber Schidell “Born” Riley of Shaav Barbershop, expressing the dynamic culture of barbering and the importance of literacy. This video inspired Tonya to create a service that would promote youth literacy while spotlighting the iconic and powerful influence of barbers.
     

  • After researching projects nationwide, Ms. Garcia created a program that she believed would work best for the city. Tonya then  met with both Kate Angelo, Community Engagement Librarian to discuss implementation.
     

  • David Perez, Monmouth University MSW Social Work was assigned as outreach coordinator for the program. As part of the library's Community Connects Social Work Initiative, the library serves as a location for Monmouth University, School of Social Work students to intern. Currently, we have four students working on programs such as the Fresh Start Re-entry Program and Fade to Books. 
     

  • Dave's Barbershop, Elite Barbers, Heads Up Barbers,  Montalvo's Barbershop, and Shaav Barbershop enthusiastically accepted our invitation to participate in the program. Together  we decided to name the initiative "Fade to Books".
     

  • At the recommendation of Director of Field and Professional Services, Leah Lazzaro at Monmouth University’s School of Social Work, Kate and David corresponded  with Abigail Daly of the “Bridge of Books Foundation”. The Bridge of Books Foundation  donated over 1000 children’s books
     

  • With help from staff members, shelves were assembled and delivered to the barbershops, along with 200 books, to each barbershop.
     

  • The Fade to Books “launch event” was held at the library on August 15th. The community came to the event that evening; we had a full Community Meeting room. According to one of the most tenured library staff members, it was one of the most successful launch meetings the library has ever had.
     

  • Just three months into the program and the barbers report that the community has been enjoying the books. The children are reading, sometimes asking to take books home.
     

Fade to Books Barbershop Literacy Initiative

Community working together -

The library is pleased to join with local barbershops in an effort to promote youth literacy.   Fade to Books recognizes the role of the barbershop as a community gathering space and the role of the barber as a mentoring figure for young men and boys. Participating barbershops are now offering incentives to youth that read while visiting the barber!
Look for the "Fade to Books" sign at your local favorite barber!