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Who is Bernie?

Bernie’s Book Bank is named for Dr. Bernard P. Floriani. Bernie was a self-made man – the son of a coal miner who grew up in a house without running water until he went to college on a basketball scholarship. He may not have had much, but he did have access to books and the opportunity for a good education. After Bernie’s sudden death, his son, Brian Floriani, decided to start up Bernie’s Book Bank in honor of his father. Both he and his father understood that reading is one of the most important skills a child needs to contribute and succeed in our society. Many at-risk children in the Chicagoland area are not “reading ready” for elementary school, but having more access to books could change that. To read the full story, click here.

Where do you get all of these books?

Many people donate their own new or gently-used children’s books to Bernie’s Book Bank. Along with these very special people, we have partnered with several publishers, distributors, and resellers to acquire even more books to pack up and distribute to at-risk children in the Chicagoland area. To learn more about donating books, you can click here.

What happens to the books that I donated?

Once we receive your books, we sort them out into different reading levels. Once the books are sorted, we put the books into bags. Each bag is labeled with the reading level of the books inside and we put six books in every bag. Once we’ve finished that, we put all of the books into trucks and drive them all across Chicagoland to deliver them to at-risk children. Bernie’s Book Bank collects, processes, and distributes your books so that other children can enjoy them too! If you want to come into Bernie’s Book Bank to help us sort your books, click here.

How Can You Help? It’s Easy…

  • Volunteer during drop-in hours or organize a group to sort, sticker & pack books
  • Organize a book drive; collect books for at-risk children from community members
  • Donate $6 to provide quality books for a year for one child; $60 provides for 10 children
  • Hold a bake sale or lemonade stand to benefit Bernie’s Book Bank
  • Shop AmazonSmile and select Bernie’s Book Bank as your beneficiary
  • Host your next corporate, social or civic event in the Bernie’s Book Bank venue
  • Donate children’s books for ages birth through 6th grade
  • Attend Book Lovers’ Lunch, Birdies & Books or a Bernie’s Book Bank partner event

Learn More

How Can You Help?

Your books, time and funds help Bernie’s Book Bank solve America’s literacy crisis.

You don't have to work in education to know that there are many factors in learning to be a successful reader, but none is as important as having actual access to personal books. Bernie's Book Bank comes walking right into the classrooms on a regular basis and makes the impossible possible for these children.

Jane Vester

Librarian, McCall Elementary School