Bernie’s Book Bank

“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need.
These are the sacrifices that please God.”
Hebrews 13:16

The Mission

Bernie’s Book Bank facilitates the collection, processing and redistribution of new and gently used children’s books to significantly increase BOOK OWNERSHIP among at-risk infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout Chicagoland.

Reading is the single most important skill a child needs to learn. Yet studies show that 61% of low-income families don’t have any books at all in their homes for their children.

Why is reading readiness important?

Because millions of children show up to the first day of kindergarten never having seen a book before in their lives. Through no fault of their own, they begin school four years behind. We then spend millions per year on reading intervention programs trying to catch them up. Of those who don’t catch up and cannot read proficiently by 4th grade, a full two-thirds will end up in jail or on welfare.

Bernie’s Book Bank is changing that trajectory today for more than 300,000 children in Chicago and its suburbs. Each child we serve receives a minimum of 12 books per year from us.  The books are theirs to keep at home forever.

For more information

Phone: 847-780-READ (7323)


Ways you can help

  1. Donate financially: Bernie’s Book Bank can collect, process and deliver a bag of six quality books to a child for an average of $2.00 per book.
  2. Donate Books: Collect & donate new or gently used children’s books. Hold a book drive at your school or workplace.
  3. Volunteer:  1.5 – 2 hours shifts are available in Lake Forest more than 15 times each week. Help sort, sticker & bag books.
  4. Spread the word: Tell others about Bernie’s Book Bank.  Ask friends and family to collect books or volunteer with you.
  5. Purchase Bernie’s Gear (hoodies, tee shirts,  etc )
  6. Host a social or team building event for up to 125 people at their facility.
  7. Pray for this ministry

“Thank you!! Thank you!! My students have been mesmerized by their wonderful collection of books this morning. They have read their books, shared their books, traded books, admired and showed each other their books and talked and talked about their books with one another! Everything a teacher hopes for!! Thank you!!  Thank you!! For providing the gift of reading to countless children! -Cynthia Marceau, Parkview Elementary, Carpentersville, IL