'Books in the Barbershop' in Egleston Square


In an effort to dull the summer lull and keep academic skills sharp, Egleston Square Main Street along with students and community supporters has kicked off the 2017 Books in the Barbershop Summer Reading Initiative.

Any elementary aged student who gets their hair styled or cut in any participating barbershop will receive a FREE book for their family library. The program, which runs July 8th through the first day in school in September, encourages daily reading.

Regular reading is tremendously beneficial because it prevents summer learning loss, inspires curiosity, enhances comprehension and vocabulary, and helps establish a foundation for young people to become lifelong readers and learners.

“Summer is certainly a time for kids to relax, but it’s essential that we keep reading alive as part of our family’s daily routine,” said Luis E. Cotto, Executive Director of Egleston Square Main Street. “We all take time out of our day to eat, exercise, sleep and text our friends. Reading should be right up there – it’s about keeping our minds healthy and engaged.”

“Last summer was an a very successful pilot season,” said Elvins Artiles, owner, The Throne Barbershop. “the Books in the Barbershop initiative puts brand new books in the hands of children whose families might not earn enough to spend on books. Seeing the look on a child’s face when they’re selecting a book really adds to the benefits of our job here in the neighborhood barbershops.”


Now in its 2nd summer, the Books in the Barbershop works with area barbershops and salons to get books in the hands of local youth. Books are intentionally curated with the help of local Boston Public Library branch librarians. They selected books normally feature a child of color or are written and/or illustrated by a writer/illustrator of color. When possible, the books are also in Spanish & English. Books are purchased by Egleston Square Main Street at discount from generous publishers. In 2016, Egleston Barbershops gave away more than 300 books. We hope to distribute more than 500 this summer.

The summer reading initiative is part of a literacy based approach taken by Egleston Square Main Street with their Creative Placekeeping programming. This approach guides how we plan with a majority of our events and activities based on books. Egleston Square Main Street currently oversees two little free libraries in our two public spaces.


  • Lawson Barbershop / 1979 Columbus Avenue
  • The Throne Barbershop / 3099 Washington Street
  • Micky’s Barbershop / 3120 Washington Street
  • Latino Beauty Salon / 3125 Washington Street
  • Alberto’s Barbershop / 3137 Washington Street
  • Anique Nicole Hair Studio / 3156 Washington Street
  • Flaco’s Barbershop / 3167 Washington Street