You Said It: Bernie’s Book Bank Distributes Books to Underprivileged Kids

Here at Make It Better, we are committed to helping you spread the word about the great work you are doing in our community. Email to tell us about the organizations you are passionate about.

Below is an excerpt of an email from Lake Bluff resident Norman Olsen about his work with Bernie’s Book Bank, and a response from Make It Better Founder Susan B. Noyes.
Dear Susan,

My daughter, Karin Campia, has often spoken about you and I have learned from others that your publication, Make It Better, is making a wonderful contribution to our society.

I had the experience of having the influence of Robert D. Stuart, former Chairman of Quaker Oats and ambassador to Norway, to assist me as a donor to a junior sailing program that was recognized as the best community sailing program in the United States by US Sailing (the PGA of sailing.) We have put over 5,000 children through the sailing program that teaches youngsters to listen to their inner voice to make good decisions. It is managed by the City of Lake Forest’s recreation department.

I would like to bring to your attention an additional project that I helped inspire called Bernie’s Book Bank. It basically helps to make donated books accessible to underprivileged children and teach[es] them how to read before they get to kindergarten and supplies books to them that have a picture-word association to help them learn to read. Currently, Brian Floriani, the founder, is trying to raise money for an additional 40,000-square-foot warehouse to store and sort all the donated books. He has already distributed over 3 million books to Chicago area children. We feel that if this could be replicated in every major city, in the United States, we would raise the education level and capability for learning of young children merging into grade schools. Brian started Bernie’s Book Bank in memory of his father, a school teacher whose passion was teaching children how to read.

I would like to arrange for you to meet Brian and also speak with you further about a health-related project that Bill Kurtis and I are working on that would ‘make a difference’ in the lessening of heart-related illnesses and make the world a healthier place. These programs might fit the goals and objectives of your magazine.
I welcome your questions and I am available to meet with you at your convenience.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to speaking with you soon.


Norman Olsen
Lake Bluff


Dear Norman,

We agree. Bernie’s Book Bank is a brilliant nonprofit. It won our Philanthropy Award last year. We strongly encourage more people to volunteer for them too, and have noticed posters soliciting this help throughout our community.

We look forward to learning more about the work you’re doing around heart-related illnesses, and hope that we can be helpful to those efforts too.

Thank you,

Susan B. Noyes

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