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Books From Borders Donated To Chicago Schools

Books From Borders Donated To Chicago Schools


These days hearing about a book store closing (another one, Serendipity Books in Berkeley, is gone as of early this month) has become near-commonplace news. This past summer, mega-bookstore Borders announced that it was closing its doors forever and immediately began to liquidate its stock and shut the doors of stores throughout the country.

But, as GOOD magazine reports, there is, amazingly, a bit of silver lining to the end of Borders. Hilco Trading LLC, the company managing its liquidation, has bought over $130,000 of “academic quality” books and is donating them to the Chicago Public School system. Over 8,000 books — science, math, poetry, travel, hobbies, Chicago history, business, computers, careers, politics, law and more — will find their way to Chicago public school students.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has recognized the company for its donation, says Business Wire. Said Jeff Hecktman, the company’s CEO:

“Our company has enjoyed great success over the years, largely due to the incredibly intelligent people who manage it. We believe that education, above all other factors, is the foundation of commercial success and so we have decided to do what we can to help ensure American children receive the best education possible. The book donation was only our first step in a continuing commitment to align our corporate resources with the needs of public education.”

While it would have been preferable for Borders to have somehow stayed open — the stores were valued not only for the books they sold but, thanks to their cafés and large spaces, served as de facto meeting places for readers of all ages — it’s good to think that some of all those millions of books once owned by Borders will be going to students.

Even in an e-reader age, the thought of throwing away books still smacks of the sacrilegious. It arouses haunting images of books being burned for the powerful ideas contained in them and of so-called “barbarians at the gate.” At a university I used to teach at, someone once left a box of old books in the hallway with a sign above them that said “Garbage.” One of my colleagues — an English professor whose office was indeed lined in books, dusty and yellowing and pages curling — hurriedly took down the sign and replaced it with another that said “Free.”

It’s a lesson powerfully taught to us again and again by books themselves: Just one word can make a cosmic difference.


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6:50PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Wonderful lining!

3:22AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Wonderful! I LOVE BOOKS and I'm GLAD they go to a good home!!

10:51PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

A silver lining indeed. What a wonderful way to perhaps engender a love of books in some young readers. Who knows what inspiration this gift might create. And how much pleasure might be gained.

11:12PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Good move, Borders! Thank you for thinking of the school children.

9:31PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

What a good use for those books! Thank you, Borders.

7:31PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Good for Borders. I always loved shopping in that store. I could lost in their for hours, not to mention dollars. I will miss them. B&N isn't the same.

6:27PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Thanks for the good news. Im sure many people will benifit from the books.

6:02PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

I miss the Borders by us. I loved taking my son there for the weekly storytime they had for little ones. It is good to know that the books weren't destroyed, but handed over to schoolchildren.

5:55PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Thumbs up to Hilco Trading! How about doing it for more cities as well?

2:35PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

So sorry so see them go, and for the employees to lose their jobs, but glad they could do something good with what they had left.

I'll never forget you, Borders, probably because I worked in two of your stores years ago. I love bookstores, and Borders was one of the best.

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