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    The Great Books Foundation
    35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 400
    Chicago, IL 60601-2105

    800.222.5870 (toll free)
    312.332.5870 (outside of the US)
    312.407.0224 (fax)


    Our customer service department is ready to take your order, answer your questions, or solve a problem.

    Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., central time.

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Participation for All

Without citizens who can read and think critically, democracy is threatened and our freedoms—personal, social, and political—are subject to dissolution.

Who We Are

The Great Books Foundation is an independent nonprofit educational organization that works toward a sustainable and just democracy. We create reading and discussion programs for students and adults with the conviction that literacy and critical thinking help develop reflective and well-informed citizens. We believe that civil and open discussion of the world’s enduring literature promotes empathy, understanding, and community, and that by working to develop reading and thinking skills, we advance the ultimate promise of democracy—participation for all.

What We Do

We inspire people of all ages to become more knowledgeable, reflective, and engaged citizens.

  • We build communities of lifelong learners who explore contemporary and perennial issues through reading and discussion.
  • We teach K–12 students how to think critically—sparking a passion for literature and ideas through the discussion of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction.
  • We provide instruction for teachers, parents, and adult volunteers in Shared Inquiry™, a method of learning developed by Great Books that promotes close reading, careful questioning, active listening, and the respectful exchange of ideas.
  • We create partnerships with educational and community organizations to advance reading and discussion as a means for exploring shared concerns and common ground.


The Great Books Foundation is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Through Shared Inquiry™ discussions of enduring literature, we advance social and civic engagement and help people of all ages think critically about their own lives and the world we share.

The Great Books Foundation Financial Report

Great Books Foundation public financial statements are available on request.