Book Access

We provide access to books through book grants, book nooks, and our free children's bookstore in Pilsen. Teachers, students, caregivers, and community partners receive high quality and high interest books to fit their needs.

Who: Schools and nonprofit partner organizations in Chicago
What: Over 150,000 books
Why: High quality and engaging texts are not widely available in low-income communities, so we prioritize providing those resources.

Book Grants

Open Books gives away over 150,000 books to schools and nonprofit partners across Chicago through our book grant program each year.  Our book grants build libraries in schools and nonprofit centers, support literacy events in the community, and provide students with books to keep and enjoy with their families. The program is open to educators and nonprofit workers serving low-income families and communities throughout Chicagoland. We offer multiple ways to get engaging, high-quality books for any age group.

Book grants are perfect for teachers looking to expand their classroom libraries or for classroom giveaways. Applicants will receive an individually curated selection of crowd-pleasing books that can be picked up at Open Books Pilsen. Due to the volume of applications we receive, applicants should expect a six-week turnaround time. If you are requesting books for a special event, please apply at least 4 weeks in advance.


We have met our capacity for Winter/Spring book grant requests. Please check back before the Fall semester for when we reopen the application.


Buy Books to Build Classroom Libraries for Resource-Withheld Schools in Chicago.

Out of the 500+ CPS schools, there are only 90 full time librarians. School libraries remain closed unless a librarian is present which means that classroom libraries are an essential resource for students and teachers. When you buy books through the Gift of Books program, you’re helping us provide students with popular, culturally relevant books. 

Gift of Books

Book Nooks

Book Nooks are site-specific bookcases that house books available to take by any visitor. We provide nooks to locations that serve areas that lack easy access to books, and tailor our selection to the requests of the staff and community at the location. Our current nooks are housed in physicians offices and waiting rooms, art centers, legal offices, cafes, and more.

To inquire about either bringing a nook to a site, or sponsoring a nook please contact Marlo Tokash ([email protected]).

Pilsen Free Bookstore

The Children’s section of our Pilsen bookstore is now completely free! All are welcome to stop by during our hours of operation and browse our shelves. There are books here for you, whether you are shopping for a classroom or home library. Because this is a resource meant to serve our community and educators across Chicagoland, we ask that you limit the amount of books selected to 100 per visit.

905 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608

M-F 10am-6pm, Sa-Su 10am-4pm

Got books to donate?

All Book Grants come from inventory generously donated by the public. We accept donations year-round and offer free pickup service, too!

Donate Books