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Darrin Utynek has been appointed to Chief Executive Officer of Bernie’s Book Bank; a new role in the organization. Our Founder, Brian Floriani, will transition to Founder and Chief Advancement Officer.

“I have never been more excited about our mission and the future of Bernie’s Book Bank, especially for the children we serve and will serve,” shared Floriani. “I am grateful for the dedication of the team who has done incredible work to get us to where we are today. Our organization will rise to a whole new level with Darrin Utynek as CEO.”

Utynek brings a wealth of experience to Bernie’s Book Bank. He most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of the American Red Cross. His responsibilities included business operations of the Chicago and Northern Illinois Region, the fourth largest region in the country.

Read more about this exciting announcement on our blog.


Thank you to everyone who attended a Book Lovers’ event this month. The 1st Annual Book Lovers’ Breakfast and 7th Annual Book Lovers’ Lunch were a huge success! In total, we had more than 600 guests attend, making it our largest Book Lovers’ event in history.

Mary Kubica was our featured speaker at both Book Lovers’ events. Kubica is the bestselling author of The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, Don’t You Cry and Every Last Lie. In her remarks, she shared her journey to become an author and the important role that books played in her childhood.

Bernie’s Book Bank is incredibly grateful to our presenting sponsor, Allstate, and to all of our sponsors for their generous support of Book Lovers’ events. Many thanks to our Co-Chairs: Caroline Abzug Ceisel, George Grawe and Cheri Reid as well as the 33 Table Hosts who invited guests to share this day. We’d also like to recognize Catering by Michaels, Terlato Wine Group and Palmer Printing for their tremendous support. Thank you!

Book Lovers’ event attendees enjoyed our brand new video! Please take a moment to learn more about our mission and the 300,000 at-risk Chicagoland children we serve annually. 2018 Bernie’s Book Bank Video


Calling all volunteers! We need you to sort, sticker and pack quality books for at-risk children. Join one of our 18 weekly volunteer sessions. Volunteer solo, or better yet, bring your family, friends and co-workers. Belong to a civic, corporate or social group? Sign up to volunteer together! We welcome volunteers of all ages and abilities. On behalf of the 300,000 Chicagoland children we serve – thank you!


It finally feels like spring in Chicagoland – time for spring cleaning! While going through your book shelves, set aside any new or gently used children’s books that you no longer need. Donate books at your nearest book drop location and we’ll ensure your books get into the hands of a child who needs them!

Don’t have any children’s books at home to donate? Make an investment in the children we serve. An $8 contribution serves one child with 12 books for the year!


Make your purchases count with AmazonSmile! The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Bernie’s Book Bank when you select us as your charitable organization.


Have you volunteered with us? Hosted a book drive? Donated books? Share your photos on social media using #BooksForABetterLife!

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