Oakland/East Bay Chapter Brings Books to Barbershops

For their 2016 community service project, BookTini's Oakland/East Bay chapter sought to outfit a local barbershop with books for their young male customers. Selected for their heavy flow of young clients in east Oakland, and the owner's quest to spread knowledge to the youth within the neighborhood, the Black Sheep Barbershop now has a 4-tiered bookshelf library overflowing with brand new books. The books appeal mostly to African American boys and teens, from 3 to 16 years old. Picture books, novels, graphic novels, and comic books make up the library. The boys can read the books while waiting for a haircut and take a book home to finish reading. Replacement copies were also donated to the library. Melvin, the barbershop owner, was ecstatic about adding the library to his barbershop, which is already outfitted with posters boasting African American history and is known for encouraging discussions about history and current events in place of television and music inside the shop.

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In lieu of monetary donations, donors were encouraged to send in books through Amazon.com.  For their efforts, the Oakland/East Bay chapter was featured in the January-February 2016 issue of Oakland Magazine (pg 13). This caused an outpouring of donations to flow in to the chapter and to the barbershop.

The chapter received so may book donations, that during a recent trip to Colombia in April, members from the chapter were able to donate a portion of the overflow to the Alex Rocha Youth Center in San Francisco, Colombia, where they are building a library and computer lab to aid in teaching English to the youth in the surrounding community.

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A few more books are slated to go toward another as yet named barbershop in Richmond, CA.