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. Carrie Wolfgang

    I have a unique used book shop in western NY. I am sending out some used books, classics, and non-fiction via media mail tomorrow. Best good wishes for a wonderful book drive that may further build your community. Great idea!

  2. Carolynn Parker

    The Amazon wish list is empty. I hope that is a good sign. I would be happy to send some, please add to your list. Thanks!

  3. Vantine

    Is there a way to send you Amazon gift cards so that you can use the funds to buy books as you sort through what’s being sent to you?

  4. scrapsoflove

    I just snagged the last two books off the wish list! I’ll keep checking back!

    Do you have a list posted somewhere that shows what books have already been purchased? I have a bunch of gently used books here that I would love to donate, but would hate for you to get overwhelmed with tons of copies of the same books!

    Are you going to have a preschool/elementary school section, as well as middle school and high school? That way I will know what sort of ages/types of books to look for while I am out and about.

  5. Anony Mous

    Your Amazon Wish List is currently empty. Has nothing been posted there yet, or have orders already reduced the outstanding items to zero?

  6. Stephanie Whittle

    Do you have the Michael Vey series? Would used copies be ok from Amazon? I’ve had good luck with the items I buy matching the description.

  7. Tiffany

    Can you post a list of the books that you are receiving? As an avid reader, I am often donating books to the Goodwill and would be happy to send some down. A well loved classic is East of Eden. Not sure if you already have this or others I could send?

  8. Joni West

    I can’t find a response as to whether gently used book are O.K. Are they? I have a variety of excellent ones that I would be happy to donate.

  9. Jennifer

    I have several friends at Barnes & Noble Reno. I know that’s two hours away, but when I worked there as a cashier, we got customers from all over that side of the mountains. Check with them about doing a book drive, or some sort of fund raiser. Also, contact Grassroots Books, as they do a lot of warehouse sales and promote community events, and Sundance Books and Music.

    Also forwarding to my BN buddies and other friends… Good luck!

  10. Patricia Crew

    Will you be updating your wish list?
    What about plays, theater, poetry?
    Still in need of movies? What genera?
    Children’s books? If so what is your demographic?
    What is your current needs?

  11. ladeington

    Reblogged this on A Bumpy Ride and commented:
    My daughters will grow up very lucky to have access to a lot of education, cultural & educational resources. They will also be brought up to believe in action for others, kindness and compassion. Some books will soon be on their way.

  12. janipace

    I suspect your Amazon wish list has been fufilled! I went there to choose something and it’s empty! Will you be adding more soon? thanks! I would love to donate to this!

  13. C.C. Miranda

    I am a professional artist who is going to be moving my studio in the next few months. I will go through my massive art history book collection (as well as my fiction books) and send you a package soon.

  14. roughwighting

    What a great idea – and a great way to find wonderful books for your library! I would gladly send you a copy of my romantic suspense, The Right Wrong Man. A page turner, PG13. If this fits what you’d like, I’ll send in July.

  15. Janet Hilbun

    I tried to find your Amazon account but couldn’t locate it. I teach children’s and YA literature and have lots of books, especially fiction. I would be glad to send you a box if you want it.

  16. janet baldwin

    What an amazing idea. I am a bookseller and often find young adult books which I don’t sell. I will start collecting them and make shipments as I find them. I am an ex-elementary teacher so I am aware of what you need. My childhood was not easy and books saved my life. I can’t wait to help.

  17. Suzanne

    I would suggest looking into Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for children under 5 years old in the community. If you can find some sponsorship they will help with sending one book a month to all children who sign up (ages 0-5).

  18. Kate Shelly

    So is a copy of Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark,” a book I wish I’d read in high school but fortunately came across in college

  19. Ben Rivera

    Hmm… I have gently used science fiction and fantasy novels that I’ve been giving away for years… still have something like a hundred or so surplus — Are these acceptable? My local library turns these away for donation, as they are oversupplied. For that matter — my local library regularly sells off their excess, every month, in a book sales event for about a quarter each. Are these types acceptable?

  20. Suzanne Conboy-Hill

    Just about to pop one in the post – it may be a bit adult for some of your students but you’ll be the judge of what’s appropriate. It’s a collection of short stories and poems by six different authors and each one has a voice file you can access by scanning a QR code, which means struggling readers can have private assistance via a smart device to help them get over tricky words. All the authors are women. If it isn’t suitable, please pass it on to a good home 🙂

  21. Jocelyn

    I am a homeschool mom with a limited income, but I can not resist a cause like this. Books have been my escape and lifeline throughout my life. They are so vital to a young person’s growth! I spent a fantasy trilogy that was one of my favorites when I was a young teen and still love now.

  22. michelle botwinick

    Regarding your request for DVD’s-regular or blu-ray? Regarding books-do you prefer paperback or hardcover? Libraries were everything to me as a teen and I want to contribute the books that impacted me, the books I still re-read, the books that opened worlds. I can’t imagine how many duplicates you’ll receive if everyone does that!

  23. Kevin

    The Amazon list was a bit barren today, so I used Barnes and Noble to send three of my favorites your way — World War Z (on a local school’s summer reading list), Ex-Heroes (superheroes vs. zombies — very fun, quick read) and the first volume of the new Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan).

    July aside, will this be something you can receive on periodically?

  24. DiAnne Ebejer

    Out of town now but soon as I get home in a couple weeks I would be thrilled to send some books. I have some very good ones rolling around in my head right now as I am choo chooing down the train tracks in northern Califormia.

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