Just. One. Book.

Just. One. Book.

I live in a town of 1200 people in the Northern Sierra Nevada –where it meets the Cascade Range near Mt. Lassen National Park and about two hours drive northwest of Reno, NV.  Two hundred of that population is students. Over the years as the population dwindled after mills closed, then –nothing except tourism and retirement have emerged as ‘industries.’ Many businesses have closed down and with it many things we take for granted—like libraries.

The local junior/senior high school has not been able to purchase new books since the 90s. Some of the “check outs” for old books are in the 1970s-1980s. There are no books by people of color in the library. Hardly any books by women are in the few book cases except your standard Austen and Lee. It’s an uninviting place. There hasn’t been a librarian for nearly a decade. And volunteers weren’t allowed. The last eight years students couldn’t even check out books.


But all that is changing now.

Greenville Junior/Senior High School and Indian Valley Academy, which share the library space have new leadership which are welcoming the idea of revamping the library. Both principals want to see the area’s students supported and reading. Like most of rural America we have no budget for such things as books, film, music , and other media and arts.

I’ve lived here 13 years. I’ve watched kids succumb to despair. Our suicide and alcohol abuse is rampant as it is in many small rural communities. 75% of our county is beautiful national forest. 44% of jobs are government jobs—mostly forest service. There used to be mills but they closed down in the 90s. So much of that other 56% is underemployed and unemployed. It’s a beautiful place to live but it’s also a scary place for the mind to atrophy. We have a median income of under 30K. At the local elementary school 2/3 of students qualify for free lunch. Getting the picture?

What we’re good at:

Because we live in a forest we do have great resources about natural resource management, forestry, conservation. We have a number of environmental organizations that help with a good deal of education and hands on learning experiences related with the great outdoors. We also have organic farms and sustainable ranches. Yay! So there’s the silver lining.

What we’re lacking is pretty much everything else.

We need racially diverse books. We need graphic novels. We need women’s studies. We need science. We need series. We need film. We need comics. We need music. We need biographies of important people. Looking for Young Adult. Classics. We want zines! Contemporary. Poetry. Everything that would make a difference in a young person’s life. Writers send us YOUR BOOK. We have many non-readers who we’d love to turn on to reading. We need a way to take this tiny area and bring it into the 21st century. We have a whole bunch of kids who don’t like to read because all they’ve ever been given is things that are either dull , dated, or dumbed down.

The students who excel are doing so because they have supportive parents at home and access to books and tablets elsewhere. But most students are without.

So here’s what I’m asking. Will you donate a book? A real book. Something literary or fun—something that speaks to your truth, their truths. Something that teaches them something about the world. Makes them feel less alone?

I’m asking for you to send a new book or film or cd to us to help us build a library we can be proud of.

We want things that will make a difference and get kids wanting to read and wanting to create. We want to engage.

We also are getting students onboard to design their new space. Students are actively reimagining and recreating their library space.

So who is with us?

Send us one book.

GHS/Indian Valley Academy

Library Project Attn: Margaret Garcia

117 Grand Street  Greenville, CA 95947

Thank you!

We now have an Amazon wish list up:  Amazon Wish List






  1. catrinaburgess

    I sent an email with this question, but realized your inbox is probably swamped. I wrote a four book YA Paranormal/Horror series. Happy to send you a copy of all four books, but wanted to check that YA Paranormal/Horror would be okay to send.

  2. Poorva

    How do you feel about used books in excellent condition? I’m a student who sadly can’t afford new books, but I would be happy to send along what I have – perhaps if you can’t use them in your library, they could be free to a good home? I grew up surrounded by books and this story just breaks my heart.

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      Ha. Right?
      So this is the story. 20 years ago the library position was probably cut into a part-time. By 12 years ago it was a woman coming in 2 hours a week until she retired. So that’s 2006. No book purchases were made beyond 2006–which at that point seems to have been 1 book a year (I found 1 book purchased per year from 2006-1998). The majority of the books look like (from the dates I find) were purchased in the 1960s-80s with a few in the 90s. The staff/faculty union would not allow anyone to come in to volunteer to keep the library going because it would be taking away a union job. I totally get that. But the job hasn’t existed in 10 years and has no signs of coming back. By and large I am a pro-union person. I was on union leadership and helped negotiate the adjunct faculty contract at Feather River College in 2015. But this is unreasonable in my opinion. So the library was shuttered. Books disappeared ( I think probably to other schools). Old ladies dropped off bodice ripper porn to disperse amongst the 1982 Worldbook encyclopedias. Now that we have two schools using the building and a new partnership between the two schools and new leadership, we are able to rise above this. I asked that they put the children first and open the library once more.

  3. lindamthorne

    I’ll send my book, Just Another Termination. I have a supply of new ones at home. It’s a mystery set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I think I can find another one to go with it (good book, famous author) that is new too that I may never get around to reading.

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      If they are about coding, building a computer, or anything hands on. But not manuals. I’m unfortunately married to an IT guy so my garage looks like an Apple computer museum (why yes, there is an Apple IIe as a plant stand).

  4. brockwoman

    Sent a Salinger from your list and a copy of Lions of Al Rassan. It’s definitely for the more advanced readers, but if you have any kids who love fantasy and/or history, it will be one of the most incredible books they will ever read.

  5. myweightinwords

    Boosted the signal out to all of my author friends. I’m currently awaiting arrival of my first book in paperback form and will be sending a copy as soon as they get here (might be a week or two).

    I’ll take a look at your wish list too, see what I can arrange!

  6. Bjo Trimble

    John and I are guests at San Diego Comic-Con, to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. The vendor room will have lots of free books and, of course, comic-books. We’ll make it a point to troll the vendor room for books, and possibly talk a publisher into sending books. Anyone else going to this or any other convention should do the same. — Bjo

  7. Anna Haugen

    I picked a couple of things off your Amazon list. Enjoy!

    If you’re looking for comic books to add to your wish list, the Ms. Marvel series is a delight. Kamala Khan, the titular Ms. Marvel, is a Pakistani-American Muslim teen with a loving family who gets superpowers and goes out to save the day. She’s a bright, brave girl, and there’s a lot of stuff about staying true to yourself and your culture even when pressured to conform to the majority culture. And (unlike many YA media) her family is loving and nurturing. I love them as an adult, but I think they would also be very age appropriate, and just the sort of thing to get kids interested in reading. Not to mention, they hook in to the current mania for superheroes.

  8. Wanda Hughes

    What would you think of Paperback Book Club as a source. I always have lots of credits on that site and would be glad to donate. I will also send books as well but I know there are a lot of people on PBS who would be very interested in sharing their credits and/or their books on their lists. I’m from your neck of the woods, having lived in Burney, CA for almost 30 years and I’m so glad to find this blog through my friend Beth Hill’s blog. Please let me know directly if you can about PBS in my email at aries18@charter.net. My list is under Wanda H. or aries18. I’ll be send a box of books as soon as I can get them boxed up. These will be gently used books but new ones will be coming in from me as well from Amazon. I hope your library grows by leaps and bounds. I had books around when I was growing up and did the same for my kids and grandkids and now I’m thrilled to be able to help with that for grandkids I don’t know yet.

    wanda(everybody’s granny)

  9. Becky

    All too often, we are told all the things that are wrong with us that we need to fix. It made a big difference in my life when I discovered the Strengths Finder books. If a football player is good at running, they practice to be a better runner, not try to put on a lot of muscle so they can tackle. If a musician is good at the flute, they practice the flute, not the piano. The strengths finder books help people discover what they’re good at – discipline, empathy, strategy, adapting, believing, developing, and more. While these are marketed as business books, they’re good for anyone who’s trying to figure out who they are and what they can do with their life. I have “Now, Discover Your Strengths” and “Strengths Finder 2.0” that I could send to you, if you think they’d be valuable to your older teens and your community.

  10. traceylyons

    Hi I’m so moved by this blog post and I shared it with my author friends on my Facebook page. I will be boxing up four of my titles, sweet historical category and I’ll see if I have any new YA’s from conference giveaways to add to the box. What a wonderful thing you’re doing!

  11. slickreads1100

    Just sent you several books recommended by teachers who teach this age group and a teen that age. They should arrive Monday and Tuesday from Amazon.com. Hope the kids enjoy them. I lived in the library as a child and teen and hope the children at your school learn to love reading as much as I do!

  12. Ruth

    I live in the UK I would love to send you some books, the books I own are all UK publications, I doubt these would be of much use to you although many are novels so could still be read. If and when there is an updated Amazon list could someone please notify me as it currently only has one item on it. I couldn’t live without reading and learning. Even my 3 year old daughter borrows 15 books a week from our local library. They are important resources that should never be squandered. I wish you all the luck in the world in this great venture.

  13. Stacy J. Garrett

    I will be sending in copies of all of my books, and I have put out the word for all of my author friends to do so as well. Good luck on building that library! There’s nothing more important than encouraging kids, teens, and young adults to read. ❤

  14. Kerry

    Look for delivery from Amazon as well – I just sent the 3 book set of The Lunar Chronicles – hardcover. Would you be interested in paperbacks as well?

  15. Brenda Vicars

    My book, Polarity in Motion (high school level), will arrive Monday (from Amazon). Hope your students enjoy it. Although the plot of the book centers around a photo prank, the underlying message and theme are about diversity and equity. I’m a former teacher–love having contact with students and would welcome hearing from students and/or teachers. Find me at on Goodreads, FB at Brenda Vicars Author, Twitter @brendavicars, http://www.brendavicars.com, and email authorbrendavicars@yahoo.com.

  16. nathaliemlromer

    I will be sending one of my books as soon as the stock I ordered arrives. And I shared this post on my WordPress site for extra visibility. It gets then also shared on my Facebook author page and on my Twitter feed. 🙂

  17. Karen

    Love that this request has receivef such a tremendous response! I work in a high school & will forward this to the staff. Will also see if our librarian can send you our magazines when we’re done wih them.

  18. Maria C.

    I can send you a box with about 30 or 40 books by Sarah Dessen, Susan Denard, Lauren Oliver and some other well known YA authors. This is such a great cause.

  19. jspinner2

    Just looked at the Amazon Wish List. That is very disappointing. There are only 10 books and most of them look like graphic novels. I’ll gladly box up a bunch of the books from my classroom library and send them. I’ll go buy books from the local library and ship them to you. If you can come up with more information and post it on this thread a lot more people will be able to help you out more productively. I got this from Facebook.

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      There were 800 books posted on it of all kinds. As teachers and students asked for things I put them on the list. So you might hit a list all when one type has been posted. Sorry. I’m the only one entering things and amazingly things are being purchased as fast as I list.

      As I mentioned in my blog update. We heard that the school district has permanently cut art from the curriculum starting this fall. With that in mind I ‘m trying to beef up the arts section. Any art biography, how to, art history or appreciation is appreciated.

      1. Amy D.

        Is there a way to see what books have already been sent via the Amazon wish list? I remember some favorites from when I was in High School (that’s when I read Dune, and also The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart, etc….). I’m so glad you are getting a great response!

      2. mebryan1952

        I bought the last item! Can’t wait for more to be posted! Such a fantastic project!

        I’m a former Children’s Librarian and Project Director. My retirement job is with the University of Chicago Oriental Institute facility in Luxor, Egypt, where I run their special library. But I have had the opportunity to be a public library consultant for a project to provide real public library service in a small library across the Nile. The people there are eating it up!

        I know your kids will benefit immensely from this worthy effort. It’s too bad it’s taken this long, but kudos and congratulations to all involved, and the best of luck!

  20. Renee Brubaker

    Like Poorvabove. I too have gently used books too. Both hard backs and paper backs. Some mystery and some romance, childrens, educational (Grey’s Anatomy and Physiology Coloring Book), and the like. Would you be able to use them?

  21. Kristen Bjork

    Can I send you a list of books that I have and could send and you let me know if you’d like to have them? I have tons!

  22. Nancy Nau Sullivan

    Thank you for doing this. I built a library in a boys’ prison where I taught. It was one of the most rewarding projects I have ever been involved in….opening worlds to kids. I will be sending at least one book….YES!

  23. Patrick B

    I’m happy to send one. The Amazon list was small when I was looking so I sent one I remember loving in High School, Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”. Any Way, hope someone will find and enjoy it. Good luck with everything your doing, it sounds like the library is about to grow quickly.

  24. 2readmom

    This is fabulous! I grew up in rural Kansas, but was lucky enough to have a great public library, as well as one in the elementary school AND high school. I didn’t realize how spoiled we were until I read your blog. Hoping to get a few things for you this summer.

  25. thumbliving

    Are used booked in excellent condition ok? My daughter (23) is cleaning out her childhood room and has loved to read forever, she’s heading off to get her PhD and trying to part with some of her collection.

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