_[This blog was written and contributed by Curtis Shaw Flagg, Director of Marketing and Tim O'Brien, Executive Director at Open Books.]_
When visionary founder Stacy Ratner first launched Open Books in her basement, she did so with the thought that reading is one of life’s simplest pleasures. However, many kids don’t have access to books, or in many cases, have never learned how to read. It’s this barrier that can hold back a child’s creativity, and prohibit them from experiencing all the benefits that reading and writing affords. What kinds of engaging stories could these children tell? What amazing things could we all accomplish?
That’s why she began to collect book donations in her basement and Open Books was born.
Now, more than 11 years later, we have two locations in Chicago’s Pilsen and West Loop neighborhoods where we sell used books we’ve collected from the community and partnerships with corporations and publishers. Many used books are given to children in our literacy programs or donated to students and teachers via our book granting programs. Since starting these programs, Open Books has given away almost a half-a-million books, and opened up the imaginations of countless children.
Today, we offer four literacy programs:
To build and grow our literacy and book programs, we’re lucky to have great support from the community. The funds from DRW’s Holiday Giving Challenge and other sponsors give us the runway we need to continue transforming lives. We’re also proud to partner with other local charitable organizations, schools, and businesses, such as the Chicago Park District, Kerry Wood Foundation, and Movies in the Park, to help spread the joy and love of literacy. In 2018, we plan on launching two new programs in the Open Books venture. Stay tuned!
Since the early days of collecting book donations in Stacy’s basement, we’ve become much more than a place that just donates books. We’ve evolved into a launching pad for children to write and develop their own stories.
To connect with Open Books, please visit one of their storefronts or their website, open-books.org.