Literacy Initiatives


Bernie’s Book Bank

Founded in 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank is a nonprofit organization that sources, processes and distributes quality new and gently used children’s books to more than 300,000 at-risk infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout Chicagoland in order to significantly increase book ownership. The Community Foundation championed our community’s literacy efforts by partnering with Bernie’s Book Bank in 2017 in order to bring books to more than 14,000 at-risk toddlers and school children from kindergarten to 6th grade here in McHenry County.

Every child served by Bernie's Book Bank receives 12 free, quality books annually. The books empower these kids to read (dream, motivate & inspire) their way to a better life. Book ownership is so important for children at this age because reading is the most important skill a child needs in order to be successful in school and in life. Research shows that children can be even more ‘reading ready’ if they are provided access to books at home before entering kindergarten. Thanks to the generosity of several of our community’s donors, Bernie’s Book Bank will always have a presence here in McHenry County, serving our at-risk children by providing books to them through their school years until they finish sixth grade.

To learn more about Bernie’s Book Bank in McHenry County, you can visit their website at