Back in 2009, Mayana Lifchitz and her father, Yosef, started “Books 4 Cause” after seeing textbooks get thrown away after one year of use. They’ve since collected thousands of books that have been donated to 110 libraries in Africa. But they decided to work closer to home after the pandemic hit the U.S.
The father of five and his daughter started a free library in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago, filling it with 1,000 books. Anyone can come and take any books they want, all at no charge. Books 4 Cause hopes to open more free libraries on the South and West sides of Chicago and help to fill empty storefronts left vacant after the pandemic.
“What reading does is provide education,” Yosef explains. “That education lengthens lives.” And Mayana adds, “You can really turn someone’s life around just by giving them a free book.”