The front of Open Books' new headquarters in North Lawndale. Credit: Trey Arline/ Block Club Chicago

NORTH LAWNDALE — Literacy nonprofit Open Books has moved its headquarters to the West Side to serve the needs of North Lawndale neighbors.

The organization is now calling 3812 W. 16th St. home, part of the Dr. King Legacy Apartments.

Open Books planned to move to North Lawndale as early as three years ago, after previously holding pop-up shops in the neighborhood as part of its North Lawndale Reads program and the Lawndale Pop-Up Spot.

Open Books received a $100,000 grant from Impact Grants Chicago to expand its North Lawndale Reads program on the West Side to include more educational opportunities for children and open a pay-what-you-want bookstore and community space.

“The potential for us to bring meaningful programming to North Lawndale is immense,” Open Books said in a statement. “We have hoped to create a space for adult readers to host a book club in Lawndale for a few years now and are thrilled that this new space has provided an opportunity to do it.”

Open Books also operates bookstores in Logan Square, Pilsen and the West Loop. Co-founder and Community Engagement Director Chelsea Ridley previously said moving to North Lawndale will expand book access on the West Side in predominantly Black and Brown areas such as Austin, Little Village, Englewood, Gage Park and Back of the Yards.

The group will add marketing staff and more teachers for its reading programs and bilingual services, according to Ridley.

Ridley said encouraging children in the neighborhood to read is important to growth and social mobility, as the ratio of children to books in lower-income communities is 300 to 1.

Access to books is harder to come by in poorer neighborhoods, with nearly two-thirds of low-income homes lacking a book for children to read, according to a study by Scholastic.

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