Los Angeles Public Library Launches “Read While You Wait,” a New Community-Based Literacy Program for Children in South L.A.

By The Los Angeles Sentinel

Los Angeles, October 2, 2018– Nearly 20 children from the DoReMe Daycare Center were the first to crack open the colorful new books at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Read While You Wait area located in Kev’s Barbershop in Leimert Park. The children were joined for the launch of the community-based literacy program by City Librarian John F. Szabo and Sr. Field Deputy Dina Andrews from Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s office.

The Read While You Wait space features a book rack with a selection of books for children to enjoy while they or their parents are waiting for a haircut, and is designed to promote reading among school-aged children, particularly young boys, and create positive associations with reading in non-academic settings.

Kev’s Barbershop, 3022 W Vernon Ave.,is the first location in the pilot program, which will eventually expand to other barber shops and laundromats in south Los Angeles. The selection of award-winning books is curated by librarians and provided by the Los Angeles Public Library.

While all children are encouraged to utilize the books offered through Read While You Wait, the program is geared particularly to boys because on average, 75% of the male students attending elementary schools in the target areas read below standard reading levels.

The library anticipates more than 200 children will enjoy the Read While You wait books during the first month at Kev’s Barbershop.

A recipient of the nation’s highest honor for library service—the National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Los Angeles Public Library serves the largest and most diverse urban population of any library in the nation. Its Central Library, 72 branch libraries, collection of more than 6 million books, state-of-the-art technology accessible at lapl.org, and more than 18,000 public programs a year provide everyone with free and easy access to information and the opportunity for lifelong learning.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel

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