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Goddard Schools donate 40,000 books to Bernie’s

Audrey French Nathan Cooper from Goddard Round Lake put stickers books. |  Chris Cashman/For Sun-Times Media

Audrey French and Nathan Cooper from Goddard Round Lake put stickers on books. | Chris Cashman/For Sun-Times Media

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About Bernie’s Book Bank

Bernie’s Book Bank, 28101 N. Ballard Drive, Lake Forest, is named for Dr. Bernard P. Floriani, the father of founder and Executive Director Brian Floriani. Dr. Floriani was a self-made man who spent his entire professional life promoting literacy. 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. For more about Bernie’s Book Bank, visit

About Goddard School

Celebrating 25 years, The Goddard School uses the most current, academically endorsed methods to ensure that children from 6 weeks to 6 years old have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life. For more information, visit

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Updated: March 26, 2014 3:37AM

LAKE FOREST — Goddard delivered.

Eighteen Chicagoland Goddard School locations set a goal to collect 25,000 books for Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Forest. Their students delivered 40,000 books — plus a check for $10,000 — on Thursday, which was National Reading Day.

Bernie’s Book Bank collects, processes and distributes children’s books to increase book ownership among low-income children throughout Chicagoland.

Forty students from Goddard schools in Round Lake, Third Lake and Vernon Hills were at Bernie’s on Thursday to put stickers on the donated books.

“Read and pass it along” was the message on the stickers.

“We’re putting stickers on the books,” said Nathan Cooper, kindergarten class president at Goddard School in Round Lake. “They’re for the kids that don’t have books.”

“Reading is the single most important skill a child needs to learn,” said Bernie’s Book Bank founder and Executive Director Brian Floriani. “More than 60 percent of at-risk children have no age-appropriate books in their homes. By pouring books into their homes, we can provide them with the basic tools that every child needs to succeed — books.

“We really want these kids who are receiving the books to be the donors eventually,” Floriani said.

Since December 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has collected, processed and distributed more than two million children’s books.

Floriani’s goal is to distribute four million books per year by 2016. “That would be serving every at-risk child in Chicagoland with 12 books a year,” he said.

This was the first time Bernie’s has partnered with Goddard in a book drive. “They’ve been awesome,” Floriani said. “They exceeded our expectations, and have been unbelievable partners to work with.”

John Burnett, owner of Goddard Round Lake, said the school exceeded its donation goal of 2,000 books by almost a thousand. He said the donated books will be put to good use.

“Most of the kids who receive these books have never seen a book in their lives or ever held a book. They’re thrilled to have these books given to them,” Burnett said.

“They think they have to give them back, but they’re theirs to keep,” he said.

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