June 2013 Newsletter

1,525,800 books distributed to date!

Thank You Letter from a Child
In Honor of Father's Day

The photo that inspired the logo!
     In honor of Father's Day, we're sharing the story of "Bernie".  Bernie's Book Bank is named for Dr. Bernard P. Floriani, the father of Founder and Executive Director, Brian Floriani, Bernie Floriani, Jr. and Lindsey Arterburn. 
     Bernie was a self-made man - the son of a coal miner who grew up in a house without running water until he went to college on a basketball scholarship. He may not have had much, but he did have access to books and the opportunity for a good education. Big Bernie achieved a bachelor's, a master's and a doctorate degree in reading education.  He spent his entire professional life promoting literacy.  
     In 2005, Brian was a lead instructor for Golf Digest Schools in Lake Tahoe and West Palm Beach.  The sudden death of his father, Bernie, inspired him to do something different with his life.

     Brian began working as a reading paraprofessional for Shiloh Park Elementary in Zion, Illinois.  He learned the importance of what his father knew - that reading is the single most important skill a child needs to learn in order to succeed. Brian quickly realized that having access to books at home is the key to getting children "reading ready" when they enter kindergarten and setting them up for literacy success.
     In December 2009, Bernie's Book Bank was founded in Brian's garage and he began collecting and redistributing bags of children's books to at-risk children.  
     As of December 2012, Bernie's Book Bank had distributed 1 MILLION books to at-risk children all over Chicagoland.  At the end of May, we crossed the 1.5 MILLION threshold!  We are on target to distribute 1 MILLION books in 2013!
So this Father's Day, share the story of "Bernie" with someone and help us keep growing!

*Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2010.
Meet Joe Hidalgo
Join us in welcoming Joe Hidalgo, our new Processing Manager.  Joe will be working in our processing center, to schedule and facilitate volunteer groups to increase our processing capacity, alongside Greg... 
all of which will allow Jessie to focus on the collection and distribution process; significantly increasing our scope of impact. 

     Joe found out about, and started volunteering at Bernie's Book Bank thanks to a family member. In his professional travels he has helped expand a fortune 500 company in the Chicago and Southern California markets. When he is not chasing the kids, dog and wife around the house, he enjoys music, anything with wheels/wings and most outdoor sports.


We are so grateful to have such a wonderful team!  

In This Issue
Thank You from a Child
In Honor of Father's Day
Meet Joe Hidalgo
Wintrust Partnership
Volunteer Spotlight
A Message from Brian
Our Mission  


Bernie's Book Bank facilitates the collection, processing and redistribution of quality new and gently used children's books to significantly increase BOOK OWNERSHIP among

at-risk infants, toddlers and school age children living throughout Chicagoland.


We have distributed more than 1 MILLION books since 2009.

We will distribute 1 MILLION more quality books in 2013.  
Join Team Bernie!

Team Bernie

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little girl
Every $100 donated to Bernie's Book Bank provides 12 age-appropriate books a piece to more than 30 children.

We can collect, process and distribute a book for just $.25!

scammon kids

We're thrilled to announce our exciting partnership with Wintrust Community Banks!  Wintrust Community Banks will be collecting books during their summer book drive from June 15th to August 15th, with a goal to collect 100,000 books for the at-risk children that we serve!  You can donate children's books at more than 100 branches of their community banking locations - all over Chicagoland.
Help us say thank you!  If you already bank with them, tell them you love that they are collecting books for Bernie's Book Bank the next time you are at your local branch.  If you are looking for a new bank, check them out - and tell them we sent you!
Meet Caroline Gillen, who began volunteering at Bernie's Book Bank with her transition class from  Lake Forest High School this past fall.  Her teacher, Jennifer Doerscheln, made the arrangements.    
This program helps students with special needs bridge from high school to the world of work and independence.   

Caroline's mother, Sherry wrote, "The people behind Bernie's Book Bank understand that everyone needs the opportunity to participate in their community and to "give back" ...even those with special needs."


Caroline likes a lot of things about Bernie's Book Bank, but what she like the best is the chance to participate in something she knows is valuable.  Caroline also volunteers at Feed My Starving Children.  She enjoys listening to music, taking walks, shopping, going to movies with her dad, and watching favorite shows on YouTube. Peter Pan is one of her many favorite children's books.  


Sherry added, "Volunteering at Bernie's Book Bank has been a very beneficial experience for Caroline.  It has allowed her to help other people instead of being the one helped.  This propels the growth of self esteem and independence which is so important to all of us. Every working experience at Bernie's brings more confidence, which then blossoms into the courage needed to try other new things in life."

A Message from Brian

Dear Berniacs,


Things heat up at this time of year and Bernie's Book Bank is no exception!

We are so excited about our progress in May, an epic month, breaking all kinds of records.


At the top of our list, we collected, processed and distributed more than 100,000 quality children's books in the month of May, while hosting more than 2,000 volunteer hours for the month...wow, a big, big shout out to our staff and volunteers, awesome!  This is the first month in our history that we have eclipsed the 100,000 books distributed mark and the 2,000 volunteer hour mark.


We are also very excited about adding Joe Hidalgo to our team as Processing Manager.  Joe's experience prior to joining Bernie's Book Bank will be extremely beneficial to the continued growth of our organization.

Welcome to the family Joe!


I would like to personally wish all of our supporters and staff a fun, awesome and safe summer spending time with family and friends!


Brian Floriani
Executive Director
Bernie's Book Bank
847-780-READ (7323)