Berwyn Free Library Initiative is in full swing!

The Berwyn Free Library Initiative was organized with the purpose of increasing access to books and literacy programs in Berwyn. Since April, Lead Organizer of the initiative Robert Pabon and crew have been working tirelessly to increase literacy throughout Berwyn by organizing a book drive and installing Berwyn’s first free libraries in the 5th ward. Their goal is to install 20 new free libraries in Berwyn by 2020 with hopes to increase access to books for everyone in the community and promote a culture of reading and learning in Berwyn. Rob said, “In order to create collective impact all stakeholders and promoters of literacy need to work together strategically toward a common goal.” The Berwyn Free Library Initiative is already off to a great start in reaching this goal.

On Saturday, May 26 the Berwyn Free Library Initiative installed seven new free libraries throughout Berwyn’s 5th ward during Service Day in collaboration with the 5th Ward Alderman Cesar Santoy, Berwyn Public Library, North Berwyn Park District, Chick-fil-A Youth Leadership Academy and Youth Crossroads. During Service Day, youth volunteers from the Chick-Fil-a Youth Leadership Academy and Youth Crossroads participated in service and community building activities, including organizing and packing the books donated at the book drive and community canvassing in the 5th ward.

Find an exciting new book to read at these newly installed libraries in the 5th ward:

  • Hett Park (Highland/19th) – This specific library was worked on by SAALT (Morton West HS) and the Youth Leadership Academy (Chick-Fil-A)
  • 1338 Cuyler Ave
  • 1432 Cuyler Ave
  • 1534 Lombard Ave
  • 2101 Ridgeland Ave
  • 2324 Harvey Ave
  • 2339 Elmwood Ave

The initiative is far from over. They will begin the second phase of the project this fall. The goal of phase 2 will be to install 6 more libraries between Roosevelt and 18th & Harlem and Ridgeland. If you would like to get involved in the initiative, please contact or follow Berwyn Free Library Initiative on Facebook.

If you missed the chance to donate books at their first book drive, you can coordinate a drop off by reaching out to or make smaller donations at the free library locations listed above. The Berwyn Free Library Initiative also plans to organize annual book drives with the support of Alderman Cesar Santoy.

About Berwyn Free Library Initiative 

Free libraries are community driven book banks that allow community members to share books. You can take books and leave books at a library, which is a great way to gain access to new books and donate old books that you would like to share with others. If you take a book we ask that you bring back a book. However, we also want people to feel comfortable with just taking a book if they don’t have many books to give back. It is a priority to ensure that 25 percent of books in each library are children and youth friendly and another 25 percent are in Spanish for our community members who only speak and read in Spanish.

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