Books4Cause Global: Updates from Malawi and Botswana

One of Books4Cause’s main goals is to improve access to education and books for people across the world. That’s why we work with the African Library Project, which does the vital on-the-ground work of building libraries in schools of all levels. Recently, we’ve sent books to help build the following libraries:

  • Kalkfontein Primary School, Botswana
  • Karakubis Primary School, Botswana
  • Kole Primary School, Botswana
  • New Kanagas Library, Botswana
  • Moeing College, Botswana
  • Mathiba 1 Memorial School, Botswana
  • Luoro Primary School, Kenya
  • Malawi Exploits University, Malawi

Each of these different libraries have different needs, depending on the school’s level and focus. Malawi Exploits University’s business library needs very different books from the Kalkfontein Primary School! Our process for collecting, sorting, and sending books requires time and care.

First, we collect books. These come from book donations! People donate books to our locations in Skokie and Chicago through drop-off or local pickup, and we also run book drives for book donations across the country. These book donations come from Philadelphia, New York City, Madison, St. Louis– all across the East Coast and Midwest.

Next, we sort the books to make sure we are only sending good condition, high wuality books in line with what certain schools or communities request. Sometimes they have to do with a particular topic or theme, like nature, history, science, etc. For example, right now we are working with the ALP to build a library for a school in Tanzania that specifically requested children’s books about animals.

We also make sure to sort the books by reading level.

After the books have been collected and sorted, we carefully box them up and load them onto pallets. The pallets are shipped to New Orleans, where they are then grouped with other book drives from around the country and put onto a shipping container.

Once they’ve been shipped to their destination, the ALP works with local partners to receive them at the nearest port city to their destination. For landlocked countries, this can be quite difficult! The ALP has partners all over the continent which help with customs and distribution. Often, books are sent to communities with limited road access, and are transported by community members for miles on foot.

Finally, the books are unpacked and set up into libraries!

We are always glad to help communities grow!

Party this Sunday at the Free Library–You’re Invited!

Books4Cause signed a year-long lease on our Avondale spot, which means we are officially here to stay! To celebrate our more permanent status, we will be throwing a family-friendly party this Sunday, 6/13, from 12:30 pm – 5 pm. We will have free coffee from Slurping Turtle Cafe, live music from Michael’s Music Machine, and, of course, thousands of free books for you to browse.

Signing the lease also means we’ll be redecorating some parts of the space, so be sure to come by and check it out.
We are glad to become more integrated into the Avondale community and look forward to continuing in our mission of finding books new homes and promoting educational development throughout Chicago.

With the new weekend hours, we will be open from 12 pm – 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday for book donation drop-off and free book distribution.

Library Now Open 7 Days a Week

The Avondale library will now be open on weekends, meaning you’ll be able to browse our shelves and drop off book donations seven days a week! Our hours be 12 pm – 6 pm, every day. That’s even more time to pick up free books and drop off your book, CD, DVD, and vinyl donations!

The newest member of our team, Sarah, is a Logan Square resident who will be working in the library every Saturday and Sunday. We are very excited to introduce her knowledge of books, love of music, and passion for community building to our space.

Stop by to say hi, bring your old books, and pick up some new ones!

Poetry Day at the Avondale Library!

Celebrate National Poetry Day tomorrow, April 29th, with Books4Cause at the Avondale Library! We have a full table of poetry books for kids, young adults, and adults alike, so we’ve got something for everyone. We also will have fun giveaways, including mystery Pocket Poems! These are poems by local Chicago poets, packaged in cute envelopes. Some of them have other special prizes inside, including gift cards to Moonlight Vulture, and hand-made greeting cards made by our lovely volunteer Magdalena Arguelles! Click here to check out her beautiful work.

We hope to see you tomorrow for National Poetry Day! As always, all of our books are free. Stop by and celebrate with us!

Monthly Book Pickups: NYC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, & Milwaukee

We are now offering monthly book pickup dates for Philadelphia, St. Louis, New York City, and Milwaukee. Our book pickup service is an easy and convenient way to donate books. You don’t need to worry about bringing books to a donation drop-off site; we will come to your home and office and pick them up for you! Our pickup is contactless, COVID-safe, and easy to set up.

To sign up for book pickup services in NYC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, as well as for local Chicago book pickups, go to the “Arrange a Pickup” drop-down menu on the home page of our website and select your city. You can view the upcoming pickup dates and select whichever works best for your schedule. Then fill out the rest of the information, and we’ll include you in the schedule for our next round of pickups! It’s an easy, efficient way to donate larger quantities of books without the hassle of moving them to another location.

We accept all types of book donations, provided that they are in good condition. We also accept CD, DVD, vinyl, audiobook, and electronics donations. Most books go either to the African Library Project or our free library in Chicago, providing educational opportunities and sharing the joy of reading with people across the globe. For more information on what types of materials we accept, and where the donated materials go, visit the FAQ page.

If you have any questions, you can contact us! You can also email us at, or give us a call at our toll-free number, 800-570-3698.

Thanks to our lovely volunteers!

We want to give a big shoutout to the wonderful people who have been coming in to give us a hand!

Thank you Davy, who helped us prep 5 boxes of books to go out on our shelves. Volunteers help us keep things running smoothly and make sure we are able to constantly refresh our stock with new arrivals! We appreciate you!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us, contact us through this form to get started.

Books4Cause is hiring for 2021

If you love books, we have got the perfect job for you! We are in search of a committed, passionate, and hard-working individual to work at our Avondale library. Job responsibilities will include: keeping the library organized, stocked, and clean, managing donation intake, helping visitors track down specific books and providing recommendations, engaging with community members and local events, coordinating volunteer opportunities, and completing various marketing and social media tasks. This job does require minor physical exertion (moving heavy boxes of books, taking the book cart in and outside daily). Spanish-language proficiency is a bonus. 

Required hours are Mon-Fri, 12-6, with optional Saturday hours. If interested, please call us at (800) 570-3698 or email us at to set up a virtual interview.

Happy Holidays from Books4Cause and BCMA

This year, we are delighted to be partnering with the Belmont-Cragin Mutual Aid organization to give over 300 families free books and DVDs at their holiday pop-up event. Books4Cause will be providing 1300 books and 2 boxes of DVDs to distribute! We are excited to be partnering with a local organization to help out our community during the holidays and spread some joy.


For more information on how to get involved with the BCMA, please visit their Facebook group and learn more about their wonderful programs.