North Lawndale pop-up bookstore lets young people pay what they can

ByPoinesha Barnes WLS logo
Monday, September 13, 2021
'Pay what you can' pop-up bookstore opens in North Lawndale
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A new pop-up bookstore lets young people in the North Lawndale neighborhood can pay whatever they want - or whatever they can - for a book.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new pop-up bookstore set up shop Monday afternoon in North Lawndale. Young people in the neighborhood can pay whatever they want - or whatever they can - for a book.

The strength of North Lawndale is on full display right now as the community bands together in support of its youth.

"We really need to work on increasing the amount of people who are reading at grade level," said Chelsea Ridley, project director, North Lawndale Reads.

Chelsea Ridley is the director for North Lawndale Reads, an initiative aimed at helping kids learn to read at a younger age. Chicago-based non-profit Open books sponsors the initiative by supporting a pop-up book shop at the corner of Central Park Avenue and Douglas Boulevard. And the best part? Pay what you can-or take a book for free.

"We have a ton of books that represent the demographics of this neighborhood," Ridley said. "So that Black children can see themselves in their books."

The pop-up bookstore was once a vacant lot, but now it's part of a bigger goal: to bridge the reading gap for kids.

"It's not gonna be summer for ever, we're gonna be stuck in the house again this winter. So come and come and get some books, cozy up on your couch and get reading!" Ridley said.

The pop-up bookstore has only been open for a about week and organizers are already looking to create a permanent location in the neighborhood.

For now, you can visit the pop-up bookstore on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.