- Associated Press - Saturday, February 11, 2017

LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) - The Long Branch public library’s barbershop reading program “Fade to Books” is being touted as a model by the New Jersey State Library.

The state library system is now making a number of grants available to libraries to adopt it.

“We like their program so much that we want to replicate it across the state,” said Peggy Cadigan, New Jersey State Library’s Librarian for Innovation.

The program recognizes the role of the barbershop as a community gathering space and the role of the barber as a mentor. It places books in the barbershop for kids to read when they come in for a haircut.

Libraries and their partnering barbershops determine additional ways to encourage reading and potential incentives, such as tracking the number of books read to earn a free haircut.

Variations of the barbershop reading program are done in many states. The Long Branch library initiated it in New Jersey, Cadigan said.

Long Branch partnered with five city barbers - Dave’s Barbershop, Elite Barbers, Heads Up Barbers, Montalvo’s Barbershop and Shaav Barbershop - along with Monmouth University interns and the Bridge of Books Foundation in Rumson.

The Bridge of Books donated over 1,000 children’s books, 200 for each barbershop, that made the program possible.

Cadigan said they’re offering 25 grants worth $500, plus additional funds for up to five barbershops. The applications will be available this month on the New Jersey State Library website.

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Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, https://www.app.com


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