Mission & History

WCF Mission and History

Mission Statement

Women & Children First believes in the transformative power of literature. As intersectional trans-inclusive feminists, we believe books are tools for liberation. Since 1979, we have celebrated and amplified underrepresented voices. In order for feminism to remain relevant, it must be forever evolving. In our bookstore:

  • We thoughtfully curate our selection of books. 
  • We offer a welcoming space for learning, dialogue, and reflection.
  • We host author events, and we facilitate community conversations, book groups, and storytimes.
  • We strive toward a feminist, equitable workplace. 
  • We partner with and support schools and mission-aligned organizations through programming, monetary contributions, and in-kind donations.
  • We are leaders in the localism movement and we champion independent businesses.

We hope to realize our dream of an inclusive feminist future.

History

Women & Children First opened in a modest storefront in 1979, owned by Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon, who met as graduate students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over the years we've been located in several locations on Chicago's northside. In 1990, we moved to our current location in the Andersonville neighborhood. 

We are one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country, stocking more than 30,000 books by and about women, children's books, and the best LGBTQIA+ literature. Anything we don't have in stock we can usually get in a few days, even if it's a title outside our specialty. We also carry cards, magazines, journals, posters, calendars, buttons, flags, and more.

In 2014, our co-founders sold the bookstore to two of their staffers, Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck. The change in ownership kept the store “in the family” and renewed the strength and vitality of our mission. We strive to offer a place where everyone can find  books reflecting their lives and interests in an atmosphere in which they are respected and valued.

Women's Voices Fund

About the Fund

The Women’s Voices Fund was established in November, 2005, to help support feminist programming at Women & Children First. The Women’s Voices Fund will ensure that events featuring women writers, fostering discussion of feminist issues and culture, and nurturing children’s delight in books will continue to play a vital role in Chicago’s intellectual, literary, and political life.

WVF Mission

The Women’s Voices Fund, a project of Women & Children First Bookstore and a grantee of the Crossroads Fund, raises money to help sustain and develop an ongoing program series focused on women’s lives, ideas, and work. Women & Children First, a unique resource in the Chicago community and the only venue to offer regular programming with such a focus, has provided the sole financial support for this series for over 25 years. Outside support through the Women’s Voices Fund is crucial to guaranteeing that a wide and diverse range of women’s voices and the best voices in children’s literature continue to be heard. 

How to Donate

Contributions are most appreciated. You can contribute in one of the following ways:

Crossroads Fund supports grassroots groups working for racial, social, and economic justice in the Chicago area.