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Receive free books from Bernie’s Book Bank

Bernie’s Book Bank provides free quality books for children throughout Chicagoland.

The objective of Bernie’s Book Bank is to support the hard work being done in schools to ensure children have books to read at home. By providing free quality books annually, children are empowered to explore new ideas, gain knowledge, and strengthen reading skills. Books distributed by Bernie’s Book Bank are age-appropriate and of good quality, according to our Book Philosophy. 

Bernie’s Book Bank primarily distributes books through Title I schools and early childhood programs.


Bernie’s Book Bank serves school-age children through the school system. Schools in which 40% or more of the students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program and/or are receiving Title I Whole School grant funds from the state are eligible to receive books for all students at the school.

Every student (Pre-K through 6th grade) who attends a partner school receives a bag of eight books from Bernie’s Book Bank every calendar year.

The book distribution process is designed to be efficient and easy for educators. Books arrive at the school in distribution-ready bags, organized by grade level. The bags are delivered quickly and do not create a disturbance in the school.

Early Childhood Programs

Bernie’s Book Bank serves infants, toddlers and pre-school age children through programs specifically supporting children under the age of six from low-income families throughout Chicagoland.

These early childhood programs, including Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) offices, mostly provide pediatric healthcare, dental care, nourishment, counseling and/or other resources to the children.

Through our U6 distribution program, children receive quality books during their visit(s) to the U6 site. The objective of this program is to increase interaction with books among children, enhancing their chances of being kindergarten-ready and achieving long-term academic success.


If your school or early childhood program does not meet the requirements listed above, you may still fill out an inquiry form. There are exceptions to these requirements and each situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Currently Bernie’s Book Bank exclusively serves the Chicagoland area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties). Please note, at this time there is a waiting list for partnership. 

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Bernie’s Book Bank is committed to empowering Chicagoland children through book ownership.

Active Book Distribution Partners

Children Served Annually

Bernie’s Book Bank plays a crucial role in instilling a love for books and reading in our students.  Many of our students do not have adequate access to quality books and Bernie’s Book Bank has helped to supplement this need.  Our students beam with excitement every time they receive their bag of books!

Brian Carr

Principal, Hyde Park School

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