Bernie’s Book Bank
28101 N Ballard Drive, Unit A Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
Contact:  Nancy Hopma, (847) 780-7323

Bernie’s Book Bank collects, processes and distributes quality 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.

Bernie’s Book Bank aims to change that statistic by pouring quality children’s books into “at-risk” homes, ensuring that children have access to books from birth, and arrive to school “reading ready.”

Bernie’s Book Bank is the logistical bridge between where books are today, and are no longer being used, to where they are not, but are desperately needed. We do three things exceptionally well: we collect hundreds of thousands of new and gently used books; we process them into collections of six age-appropriate and leveled books; and we deliver them directly into the hands of low-income children who have none of their own.

With a sense of urgency and professionalism, we’ve taken the guesswork out of what to do with outgrown children’s books.

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.

Collecting books is fun. So is volunteering in our warehouse!
Bernie’s Book Bank relies on hundreds of volunteers to sort, sticker and bag collections of books for at-risk children. It’s fun, easy, not messy or physically taxing, and very rewarding.

We encourage groups of any size to spend their community service hours sorting and bagging books for us. Each week, we host large groups from businesses, religious and civic organizations, and kids organizations (Scouts, sports teams, confirmation classes, college clubs, etc.) We will be happy to set up a special volunteer opportunity for groups of eight or more by appointment.
Drop-in volunteer hours: Drop in means you come and leave when you want during drop in volunteer hours. There’s no need to call ahead – just come: Mondays: 3:30 -5:30 p.m. Tuesdays: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Fridays: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Saturdays: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. For groups of 8 or more volunteers, please call to arrange a time for your group.