Line4Line, a creative literacy nonprofit operating in the greater Baton Rouge area, uses books with art to excite, empower, and engage students of color to increase at-home reading and learning. The organization began in 2016 when several barbers volunteered their time to give young men a haircut if they read a book aloud. L4L has since evolved and expanded its literacy programming into schools and other creative spaces.

Mission & Vision

Line4Line works through barbershops and community organizations to support closing the achievement gap through literacy, building self-esteem, and providing creative learning opportunities for youth of color.

Line4Line seeks to strengthen community literacy by providing impactful and creative in- and out-of-school grade level experiences. Through healthy, relatable mentorship and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), own-voice literature for kids, L4L creates a space that fosters social and academic success.

Our Story

The Line4Line program began as an unlikely partnership between an art museum and a barbershop. Inspired by the story of an Iowa barber who gave free haircuts to boys in exchange for reading books, Lucy Perera, then educator at the LSU Museum of Art, began searching for a local barber who was interested in starting a similar program in Baton Rouge. Three months later she was introduced to O’Neil Curtis, owner of O’Neil’s Barber & Beauty Salon. They immediately found a shared passion for promoting literacy in underserved communities, and the first Line4Line program debuted in December 2014. The program name refers to reading the lines of a book and cutting lines into hair, a traditional hairstyle for African-American men.

Line4Line strengthens literacy, communication skills, comprehension, and attitudes around reading for boys ages 3-13 by providing free haircuts in exchange for demonstrated reading ability. Within the African American community, barbershops have traditionally served as important social, cultural and intellectual hubs. By bringing books into this space, youth build self-esteem with a fresh new haircut, learn/practice reading skills in a peer filled environment, gain knowledge reading books, are supported and empowered by relatable role-models who serve as mentors/volunteers. The success of Line4Line’s signature free haircut for reading program led to the creation of an official non-profit in 2016, and development of new initiatives that promote accessibility to diverse books, create opportunities for youth to express themselves through art and provide both school based and out-of-school enrichment programs that center the whole child.

Our Barbers & Staff

Our Board

Partners & Funders



LINE4LINE is an opportunity to reveal how literacy has always been a value in African American communities. This unique program seizes upon that opportunity by highlighting one of its traditional havens. Men cut their hair and their teeth in barbershops. Its a great forum when men to learn how to communicate, debate, and learn.”