donated books to Brennemann School students to create "home libraries" so they'd have a chance to read outside of school. In 2012 and 2013, community volunteers shelved books at the newly reorganized Stockton School library.
But when it came to McCutcheon School, there was room for a library, but no books. A Lincoln Park mom thought that wasn't right, especially for a school where 22% of the students were homeless and a staggering 97.8% were low-income. So Bernadette Pawlik started an organization called "Books First" and started asking for books. Soon McCutcheon boasted a library of 2,000 donated books.
While McCutcheon is now stocked, Books First hasn't stopped. They've stocked another school library and are currently collecting books for a third, Parker Community Academy in Englewood. And after that, Beethoven Elementary in the Grand Boulevard community.
In a nutshell: "Our mission: A library in every underserved CPS school without one. Our
passion: Connecting children through sharing a love of reading."
If you have children's books that you'd like to donate, consider paying it forward on behalf of the students at McCutcheon, the first school with a Books First library. The collection point is the family home in Lincoln Park. To find out how to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books First's Facebook page is here. A recent DNAinfo article about Bernadette Pawlik is here.