Open Books’ mission is to transform lives through reading, writing, and the unlimited power of books. Its model began in 2006 with a simple idea – to collect used books and sell them to support its literacy programs in Chicago. Since then, Open Books has expanded its programs to serve tens of thousands of Chicago youth, all in service to its vision that all of the city’s children have what they need to become lifelong readers.

Open Books collects approximately 1.5 million donated books every year that it repurposes in two ways – either by selling them as used inventory in its retail bookstores, currently in West Loop, Pilsen, and Logan Square or providing them free-of-cost to children and families who lack access to books through direct book grants, book nooks, and other community-based initiatives. Open Books’ reading and writing programs engage children, their caregivers, and volunteers in and out of school, typically in Chicago Public Schools, and complement community-based organizing tools to strengthen literacy among families, particularly on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

Financial Donation

Make A Financial Donation Today

The generosity of donors helps us engage more than 5,000 youth through our literacy programs and give way more than 150,000 books to children and families each year. Together, we can transform lives through reading, writing, and the giving power of used books.


Become A Volunteer Today

Volunteers work with our students, organize our books,
staff our events, and make everything happen.

Imagination Library

Learn More!

Open Books is thrilled and honored to be bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to our city as their exclusive Chicago affiliate for children ages 0-5!

Donate Books

Donate Your Used Books Today

Each year, generous readers donate hundreds of thousands of books to support literacy. We sell those books in our stores and online to help fund our programs, and use and give them away in our literacy and book grant programs.