NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Joined the Library District, NFL Legends, Local Barbers and Boys & Girls Clubs to Kick Off Innovative Literacy Program Barbershop Books in Time for Super Bowl LVIII

Co-Sponsor Microsoft Provided Library District with $100,000 in Hardware, Software & Staff Training for Digital Literacy Programming

Las Vegas, NV, United States, Feb. 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, members of the NFL Legends Community including Steven Jackson, Warrick Dunn, John Randle, and TJ Houshmandzadeh, plus local barbers and 150 children from the local Boys & Girls Clubs joined the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District in launching the Barbershop Books literacy program in Las Vegas on Feb. 7, 2024.  

Barbershop Books encourages area youth to discover the joy of reading through the safe, welcoming space of their neighborhood barbershops. The nationwide program was founded by former elementary teacher Alvin Irby, who has been named one of CNN’s Top 25 Heroes of 2023 for his work in literacy. Barbershop Books is part of the NFL Inspire Change social justice initiative. 

Irby joined Commissioner Goodell and Library District Executive Director Kelvin Watson at the Clark County Library, located on Flamingo Road, to encourage the children to join in story times with the NFL Legends; sharpen their gaming skills at Microsoft’s Minecraft Activation featuring Surface Tablets; and burn off some serious kid energy at the NFL’s Play60 Skills and Drills activities on the library’s outdoor plaza. Team mascots and cheerleaders from the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs were on hand, along with the Las Vegas Raiders cheer squad. Each child received an NFL swag bag and a free book, while the barbers received free tickets to Super Bowl LVIII.  

Commissioner Goodell made a special guest appearance and thanked Watson and his team for bringing this innovative program to the Las Vegas community. “I see a lot of really young faces out there that are really going to truly benefit from this,” Goodell said. “And so, for all of us in the NFL, including these great players behind me ... we thank you for the support of this program, Barbershop Books ... and for the leadership by both Kelvin and Alvin. This wouldn't have happened without them.” Speaking directly to the children, he added, “Reading is critically important for everything you do in life. This is a chance for you to come [to your neighborhood barbershop] and have an opportunity for a door to be opened, for you to understand more about the world, to understand and imagine a different world, and to learn more about it through reading.” 

The Barbershop Books program trains barbers to engage with their young customers by providing them with free books and talking with them about the stories they are reading. The Library District is recruiting barbershops throughout the Las Vegas Valley and will manage the local program with help from Irby, and the generous support of the NFL Inspire Change initiative and Microsoft.  

“I believe that libraries must invest in ways to expand our services out into the community where people gather,” Watson said. “I remember being a young boy in a challenged neighborhood and the local barbershop was a place where I felt a sense of belonging and acceptance by a trusted male role model. This is exactly the kind of environment where we can capture a child’s imagination through reading. We work with dozens of community organizations who share our commitment of public service, and together we build projects that reach the underserved.” 

Watson and his team drive impact to urban and rural communities across 8,000 square miles of Clark County. Each year, the Library District’s 25 branches attract 4.1 million visitors, and website generates 2.6 million unique visits.  

Barbershop Books Founder Alvin Irby shared the story about how he was inspired to start Barbershop Books 15 years ago when he was a teacher in Bronx, New York. 

“There was a barbershop across the street from my school and I was getting a haircut and one of my first-grade students walked into the barbershop, plop down on the sofa, started getting antsy,” said Irby... “The whole time I watched this unfold, all I kept thinking was, ‘Man, he should be practicing his reading right now.’ All these years later, Barbershop Books has created more than 250 child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops across more than 50 cities and 20 states.” 

Microsoft is contributing $100,000 in hardware and software to the Library District, as well as providing Minecraft Education Edition software and professional library staff development, to enable the Library District to incorporate Minecraft in its digital literacy programming. 


About the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District  

The award-winning Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is an independent taxing entity that serves a diverse community across 8,000 square miles. Through its 25 branches and website, the Library District offers a collection of 3.2 million items, including books, movies, music (including streaming and downloadable), online resources, and free programs for all ages. The Library District’s new Free To Be public education campaign demonstrates the vital and vibrant role that the library plays in Las Vegas, offering unexpected experiences; limitless learning; business and career advancement; government and social services support; and best of all, a place where customers find a sense of culture and community. For more information, and to support Library District programs, please visit  




Commissioner Roger Goodell lends a hand Library District Executive Director Kelvin Watson and Boys & Girls Clubs kids

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