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. Patricia Linsenmann

    As a fellow lover of books, reading, and life, I applaud you for speaking for these children. I would be honored to join your cause. Are you in need of younger level reading books as well?

  2. Mindy joy rose

    Nearly every library on Long Island (New York) has a yearly sale to make room for new books, cds, dvds etc. Some are culturally out of date but most would still enhance any home, school or public library. Let me know if you would like a list and I would be glad to get that for you.

    Good luck!

  3. Michelle

    I’m so excited to read this today, as I just very grudgingly cleaned out my bins of books! I will now go back through and box up a bunch for y’all ! I feel so much better now that I am sharing them with you. Good luck! I am going to pass this on to all I know!

  4. Noel Lee

    Three questions:

    1. Are paperbacks OK?
    2. What about Kindle books — are they OK to send?
    3. Do you also want children’s books?

      1. iritgud

        Hi! My middle grade series, Ameri-Scares, features characters ages 12-13. Each novel (there are five so far) is set in a different state in the Union and the story is based on or inspired by a folktale, legend, or actual historic event set in that state. The stories are scary but not terrifying (I was a 7th grade teacher for many years.) Anyway, I was wondering if these books sound too young? I could send one each of the first five novels (set in California, New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois). Thanks for letting me know! Here is a link if you want to check them out first: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Ameri-Scares

        -Elizabeth Massie

  5. Brian Wilkerson

    How serendipitous; I’m just about to finish the print version the first book in my Journey to Chaos series. When I literally get my hands on the finished product, I’ll send a copy to this address.

  6. AC

    Hi Margaret,
    I’m a professor of philosophy and have some extra copies of some classics of philosophy (e.g., Hume, Kant). I’ve also got a box of introduction to philosophy textbooks. These books may or may not be fun, depending on who you talk to. 🙂 Do you think either of these types of texts would be of use to your students?

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      YES. I’m actually building Plato’s Cave in the corner of the library as an homage to my favorite bookstore which had the same before it closed down. I think many of your books could fit there. You know, we are kind of a small but mighty school.

      1. AC

        Great! I’m glad they’ll have a good home. I’ll send them out this week.

        We’re actually discussing the Allegory of the Cave in my summer class this week. I’ve seen videos and drawings but never a life-sized replica–I’d love to see a picture when it’s finished.

        And small but mighty is a great way to be.

  7. Gene Laskosski

    I’m a college teacher, retired.. I gave to Kiwanis 26 bags of books CD-ROM my attic, but. there are more to be culled out. I can send them.

  8. luludevault

    If you leave contact information for your local bookstore, I will happily order from them. I would much rather support a local independent business than Amazon! As you’ve noticed, when local businesses close, people suffer.

  9. LaNita Jones

    I own a small Christian Bookstore and have books that simply are not moving. ..adults and children. Would love to donate if these are acceptable. Will wait to ship until I hear from you.

  10. Marlene Kubick

    Our library has Book Sales quite often……one day coming up June 24th. If you can give me a short list of specific books I will see what we can do.

  11. Keith Langley

    Just sent two of my favorite works of fiction – American Gods and Bridge of Birds – and a fun popular science intro to genetics, Genome by Matt Ridley. Amazon was not real firm about the shipping date so I sent them to the July address to be safe.

  12. Liz

    I’m sure you know, but just in case, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation targets education as their primary giving. Give it a try!

  13. Barbara Holt

    The Amazon Wish list is empty. You need to put a list of books you would like to have on the Amazon Wish list for people to purchase. Add as many as you like! Then people can choose from your list. It’s a great way to get books! If you would like some suggestions here are a few great young adult reads:
    1. A Long Way From Chicago (Peck)
    2. A Year Down Yonder (Peck)
    3. Out of the Dust (Hesse)
    4. The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 (Curtis)
    5. Granny Torelli Makes Soup (Creech)
    6. Walk Two Moons (Creech)
    7. Flipped (Van Draanen)
    8. The Giver (Lowry)
    9. Gathering Blue (Lowry)
    10. The Messenger (Lowry)
    11. Son (Lowry)

    (Those 4 books are a series.)

    12. The Pictures of Hollis Woods (Giff)
    13. The Higher Power of Lucky (Patron)
    14. Esperanza Rising (Ryan)
    15. Fairest (Meyer)
    16. Freak the Mighty (Philbrick)
    17. The Graveyard Book (Gaiman)
    18. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Bradley)
    19. Between Shades of Gray (Sepetys)
    20. Salt to the Sea (Sepetys)
    21. Wildwood Dancing (Marillier)
    22. Wonder (Palacio)
    23. Inside Out and Back Again (Lai)
    24. Whistling Past the Graveyard (Crandall)
    25. Out of my Mind (Draper)

    Of course there are thousands of wonderful books but these are a few good ones. Good luck!

  14. Teresa H.

    Could you possibly write letters or email some of the larger cities school systems to get the books that they are turning over for new books? Or even city libraries in larger cities as they change out their materials quite frequently.

  15. Born To Organize

    I’m a Little Free Library steward in San Jose, California. A fellow steward shared your post with our group. I’m excited to get involved, and will be heading to your Amazon Wishlist next. Thank you for making a difference in the world. Alys

  16. Marjorie Gore

    You should check out Better World Books, they donate books to librarys and non-profit organizations. Would a gift card to them useful? Their books are very reasonably priced.

  17. Janet Knowlton

    I wanted to find out if you would consider a Marin County drop-off so those of us that have many great books could drop them off. I bet it would be easy to find a volunteer to take a load of books to the school.

  18. Veronica

    I have a few copies of my self published book for YA readers I could send along? Not sure if it’s what you’re looking for. Also, I’ll scrounge around my bookshelves and see what I have left. It’s not much but I might find something that you guys will enjoy. 🙂

  19. Kathy Austin

    I will send any that I can find in my collection, which I am attempting to cull. Also, there is a website called betterworldbooks.com, which uses proceeds from their sales to fund literacy programs and donate books. I don’t know what their criteria are, but it might be worth a look to see if they would help you.

  20. annettemori0859

    Before I donated tons of books to the public library here I would have had some to give, now I can certainly offer Locked Inside which I’ve been told could crossover as young adult. It does have a little bit of swearing and a few relatively tame sex scenes. Of course it is a lesbian romance, so not sure if that is what they are looking for.

  21. lynn laakso

    I am the Young adult and Graphic Novel librarian at our library and just weeded both on Friday-I would be happy to send a donation to you guys(just have to clear it with our director first).

  22. DeAnna C.

    Thank you for letting us know how we can help! I just bought & am having mailed to you a hardcover copy of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS. It’s the most influential book I’ve read in a long time and I wish I could have read it as a teen.

  23. genepurdum

    Sent you the following via Amazon from your wish list:
    Over the Edge of the World
    Guess What Came to Dinner
    Boating for Beginners
    Los Angeles A to Z
    Luis Valdez Early Workd
    The Fate of Their Country
    The Physiology Coloring Book
    The Microbiology Coloring Book
    The Stone Gods
    The Battle of the Sun

  24. annadelc

    I do a book drive every year in Sept for elementary schools in taylorsville or close by and usually get close to 300 books donated. I have in my possession about 100 books For reading fun… I would love to donated them to Greenville High School/Indian Valley Academy but how do I get them there? Anyone passing through this town who could help delivering them?

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