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. Alex

    Hi! I’m a transgender writer who wrote a novel about the realities of the California Gold Rush and the destruction of the vibrant world that existed before it. There is violence in the book, so I’m wondering if it’s appropriate to send? It’s basically an alternate, social justice perspective on the time. Let me know!

  2. CeliaHayes

    I’ll send a copy of my one YA adventure – Lone Star Sons – it’s a kind of revamping of the Lone Ranger, but historically correct, and aimed very much at teen boys.

  3. Heather

    Just sent you an order from Amazon, and my kids (teen girls) and I will trawl our shelves at home to see if we can find anything else to send you.

  4. Jenna McCann

    I teach in a rural town of 500 that does not have a public library. Several people have started ‘Little Libraries’ as a way to help get books to kids. Good luck with your project. I will send a box with books for your kids to enjoy.

  5. adriennefoster

    I love the Sierras and am saddened to learn that the region’s school libraries are under such financial distress. Where is our lottery money going?

    I am sending you one book from your Amazon wish list and am including several items of my choice as well. I’m going for hardbacks where I have the choice, since library books get so much wear and tear. I’m also including some dustjacket protecters so those won’t have to be tossed.

    BTW, were you aware one of your wish list items is for a Kindle book?

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      Yes I am aware that there are some kindles in there. Someone graciously donated kindles. The school district just got rid of the only art teacher left too. I’ll be working with the arts council to make sure the Artists in the Schools program keeps going.

      1. nem

        Lots of great free Kindle material! Lots of public domain stuff: Jane Austen, The Constitution… and often the occasional freebies from independent authors. But you probably knew that already!
        Have shared on fb, tweeted, and have a stack of great YA to send for starters.
        I can’t imagine how many kids’ lives you are changing. As someone whose life was saved, quite literally, by a small-town library, thank you.

  6. Bethany Telles

    I am an author (not too far from you, actually!), but don’t have books on hand to donate right now. HOWEVER, I have tweeted this and posted this everywhere I could. Our Kidlit community will stop at NOTHING to help you guys! We believe in this and in you guys! Hang tight, help is coming!!

  7. Eryn reeder

    Just sent two books via amazon. Kindred by octavia butler and A lesson before dying by ernest gains. Both books greatly impacted me. Please feel free to exchange if they have already been added to the library.

  8. kellyzem

    Did you get the Narnia set yet? I have two sets and can send you one. I’m also changing schools for the first time in nine years and am an English teacher. I have so many books at my house at the moment. Name a few more titles/authors, and I will see what I can do. Do you have any of Rick Riordan’s (The Lightning Thief) books? This is so sad. Everyone should have access to current books.

  9. Alida Miller

    This is amazing! What you are doing is amazing. I am a just-retired teacher who tried desperately to get my local school media center to take some of my fabulous classroom books that had been purchased with my own funds. Ironically, for me, but also in view of your situation, the media specialist said she couldn’t take any of my books, because the media center was going in a new direction: to a “learning commons” and she would have to get rid of about 1/3 of the media center books to facilitate making space for it.

  10. judeyblu

    I’ll send a selection- likely next month so will use the alternate address.
    I’m also going to share on my Facebook Things I Know About Bookselling and blog page.
    Things I Know About Bookselling.com
    I hope we can keep the steady flow of books coming your way!

    1. Maya Geryk

      Love your Things I Know About Bookselling page! I’m a former Borders employee (’93-’01) who hasn’t sold a book in many years but never lost the love of it–this is being shared broadly in my network of Borders-connected friends.

  11. stellans

    Saw this shared on Facebook in a book group I belong to – I think you’ll be receiving quite a few book packages soon (and I can guarantee one from NC!). Best of luck to your reborn library!

  12. tamaralowery

    I have a horror adventure series, however my target audience is NOT YA. If you think parents wouldn’t have conniptions about the violence and trigger topics touched on, I would be happy to send copies of the five titles currently available. (There are two more in the works for the current story arc.) You can find info on the books on my blog site. Please look them over and let me know what you think. http://talowery.wordpress.com


    If you all have internet access, you have access to an unbelievable number of books, online, free…some via Amazon.com where you can download a free kindle reader and various books also free (a lot of classics). There is also the Gutenburg project where you can get books to download or simply read online…Some states have access to online public libraries where they can “check out” books like they would from a regular library but from the comfort of home online…and it is returned the same way with never an overdue book.

    I do understand that some people like myself are still old-school and enjoy holding a book in their hands. Good luck and God bless.

  14. Holly

    I work with EDC publishing and we will match any funds or donations you do get 50% to buy our books. Have $250 get $325 in books with free shipping.Books with diversity, baby books through teen books.

  15. Jessica

    I’d love to help. When I clicked on your Amazon link, it said there was nothing on the wish list. Please send me the list.

  16. Emery C. Walters

    Sent you a box priority mail of mostly nonfiction. I work at a used book store so… anything old or weird or the like. Also we end up throwing out many young kids’ books, the paper-covered ones especially, pre-K and lower grades I can grab. Let me know via email or FB. Included two of my own ‘easier’ books.

  17. Amber

    Sent an email would love to donate books 🙂 this is a great cause and saddens me that kids who love to read and want books dont have any!! I hope gently used ones are ok!!

  18. Davina Stuart (@BookladyDavina)

    Will be going through our household book collection and finding some good ones to send your way. I’m a former librarian/library director and hearing about this just pains me. Will send you anything we can spare and I can get in a couple of flat rate boxes (coming from Alaska…)

  19. Cat-Gerlach

    A box of books sent from Amazon is on its way to you (actually they told me it’ll come in 3 shipments). I added a message to the gifts (actually the message is split over several gifts because Amazon only allows a few lines per gift, so I had to split the message, but the elements are numbered. You’ll have to piece them together as the boxes come in). I’m Katharina Gerlach, a bilingual author from Germany, and I studied forestry back when, so I could visualize the town you’re living in very well. Hugs and greetings from over the pond to every kid in your school.

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      Katharina, Hello and thank you! I lived in Germany as a kid and spent a good deal of time in the base library as well as the local German library. Also when I think of ultimate libraries I always think of Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire.

  20. Jessica

    You should look into grant programs. My mother was a school librarian and was awarded a $20,000 grant to buy new books. She had to submit and write the proposal. There are courses that teach how to write grant proposals. Just a thought.

  21. Felecia

    Reblogged this on ALifeSanctified and commented:
    Come on guys. You don’t even need to send a new book (or books) just take from your own over-flowing (I’m sure) bookshelf, a book in good condition, and send to enlighten and enliven these kids. (Please note the change of address if you send in July). Thanks!!!

  22. Jamie Levine

    Do you have any interest in old college textbooks, I’m an occupational therapist and have at least a dozen science and health care books, but don’t want to send unless you think you can use them. Thanks!

  23. PTLPerrin

    Reblogged this on PTL Perrin Writes… and commented:
    Can you imagine a world without reading? What difference can just one book make? I’m reblogging this because one book, your book, a book you have sitting on your shelf at home, can make a world of difference to one child. I’m sending a few. How about you?

  24. PTLPerrin

    I’m sending a book from your Amazon wish list. I’ve written a young adult science fiction novel, TERRA’S CALL. It’s the first in the TETRASPHERE series, and, so far, a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards contest. The contest is ongoing at this point. It’s the first in a series, and I’ll send the next one when it’s published, if you’re interested. I also have a non-fiction book, REFLECTIONS OF A MISFIT. You can read about it on Amazon, and, if you like, I’ll send a copy of that one, too.

  25. Robin

    Have you contacted James Patterson? I know he has a book program and may be willing to help. I know I could not survive without books.

  26. Erin

    I’m a former teacher and would love to donate a variety of books! Most have a name written on the bottom or inside… would you take those?

  27. Maya Geryk

    In the absence of a wish list (although so happy it’s been emptied!), sent a copy of The Latehomecoming by Kao Kalia Yang, which I loved.

  28. Beth McKinley

    I just sent you four copies of “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” It was my favorite book when I was young; I read it probably 10 or 20 times. It is based on a true story, and has a strong female Native American heroine. I have spoken to other women: it makes avid readers out of girls, because it is a “can’t put it down” novel about a strong kick-ass girl.

  29. Melissa

    Contact Reading Heart on Facebook. I guarantee they can help you. They are a nonprofit organization that collects and gives out books to those who need them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s