On June 11, master barbers Alexander “Great” Fowles and Joshua “Kool” Kruel gave teenagers, ages 13 to 18, free haircuts at the Austin Branch, Chicago Public Library, 5615 W. Race. 

Fowles said that he was donating his services in honor of his father, Berklin Fowles, who served as a police officer in Austin’s 15th District for 37 years. Kruel, whose mother, Queen, volunteered as a scheduler, said he wanted to do something to boost young people’s self-esteem.

“I like giving kids confidence to look great,” said Kruel, who owns Styles & Smiles, a barbershop in Aurora. 

Kruel and Armena Ketchum, the first teen coordinator hired by the library in four years, designed the haircut program to help the library staff connect with young people. They’re offering two more Mondays of free teen haircuts on July 9 and Aug. 13. 

 Bonni McKeown 

"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years. www.barrelhousebonni.com  She has led classes for young and old on...