Books for Good

I find I’m turning to books even more (than usual) this year; for edification, entertainment, and just plain escape from the real world. If that sounds like you, or someone you know, books could be a better-than-ever holiday gift. Or maybe a “just because you need a break from doom-scrolling” gift!

Between books, I’ve been working extra hard to feel like I am helping others, both in my immediate community and our bigger, book-ish community. Here are some of my favorite ways to contribute. I hope they’ll inspire you to help too!


From their website: Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.

We believe that bookstores are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our downtowns and communities.

As more and more people buy their books online, we wanted to create an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support bookstores at the same time.

If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on our map and they’ll receive the full profit from your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop).

Fun Fact: To date, they have raised almost $8 million for independent bookstores.

Our experience: The site is user friendly, shipping was fast, and the price was less than that other online option.

Liberation Library

From their website: Liberation Library provides books to youth in [Illinois] prisons to encourage imagination, self-determination, and connection to outside worlds of their choosing. We believe access to books is a right, not a privilege. We believe books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal justice system.

Fun Fact: The Liberation Library has partnered with 5 Chicago bookstores (City Lit Books, Open Books, Pilsen Community Books, Semicolon Books, and Women and Children First Bookstore) to engage in a form of mutual aid. You can purchase a gift card from a partner store, and the organization will buy books specifically requested by the kids.

Our experience: They also take donations of new or gently used paperbacks from your personal collection. BCLC is keeping an eye out for the titles on their current wish list.

Freadom USA

From their website: Being able to read is the most critical skill for anyone who wants to fully claim and realize the freedoms America promises; this is why Freadom exists. Freadom is a social enterprise created to accelerate and amplify the awareness of and advance the cause for literacy. Freadom designs and sells high-quality, responsibly made apparel and products from which 100% of the net profit supports literacy initiatives throughout America.

Fun Fact: Founded by Brian Floriani, Bernie’s Book Bank Founder & Chief Advancement Officer, Freadom aims to invest $100 million in literacy initiatives like BBB.

Our experience: Each year, the Butler Center donates books to Bernie’s Book Bank to support their goal of getting books to children in low-income homes. And my new t-shirt is in the mail—can’t wait!

Happy shopping, book-lovers!