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. Brian

        For about $14k every student could have a Kindle and almost all classic lit is available free from Amazon. Given your success so far I think you would have no trouble raising the money in a Go Fund Me campaign.

      2. wurdnurd

        Kindles (and Nooks, and iPads, and Samsungs) require electricity and, most importantly, Internet. Hard copies just need a reader, are cheaper to replace, don’t need recharging.

      3. Caradith Craven

        I am a middle school librarian in Edmond, OK. I can’t imagine not having a library for students to check out books. I just sent a box of both middle grade and young adult fiction and non-fiction books. A recently retired librarian in our district also wants to send books, so we will be sending another box next week. Thank you for caring and getting involved in an essential part of a student’s educational experience–having a vibrant/up-to-date library that encourages reading and the exchanging of ideas.

      4. Dana Nowling

        Thank you for this Margaret, I have a lot of books and am more than happy to donate them. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Keep doing what you do! – Dana Nowling (Masih)

      5. Maureen Walsh

        Although now residing in NY, I used to work at the county library in Lassen County. It is only one building in a shopping center. The entire area is full of isolated small communities and scant library services. It’s wonderful to see this coming together of people from all over to help the kids of Greenville. Margaret, have you contacted the Northern California Literacy Coalition? The library literacy program in Quincy is a member. They might also be of help.

  1. Brian Greenwood

    Just mailed out a box of books on various topics and about 5 DVDs. I’ll be sending more. So excited to help out.

  2. Christy Jefferson

    Just mailed some gently-used donations from our used book store, The Book Nest, in Deltona Library in Deltona, Florida. They went ‘media rate’ so there isn’t a note inside. I hope they will be something you can use.

  3. Michelle

    You say in the post that you want new but are you open to used books? I love buying used books from thriftbooks.com for my own collection and I would be happy to send you a few from there.

  4. Mary Woodward

    Hi! I read about your efforts through a link with Carolyn Haines, the mystery writer on Facebook. I work for Books-A-Million, a bookstore chain that operates in the south and southeast. I posted about your efforts on the companies Facebook page and they asked me to pass on this info. Write to support@booksamillion.com and submit a form for donations and they’ll see what they can do. At the store I work at in Texas, I’m already making a stack of books that I’ll be sending on after payday (with discount and bargain priced books I think I’ll be sending quite a few from all over the genres). I’m encouraging the rest of the employees to help out.

  5. Dana Fisher

    I just sent a few of my favorites, could only find them used (gently) in hard back, so hopefully your students enjoy them as much as I did…

  6. Laura McNeal

    Hi Margaret!
    A niece in South Dakota sent me a link to this post. I just mailed five books to your library–four of ours and a nice hardcover by David Levithan. Wishing you and all your readers a good summer!
    –Laura McNeal

  7. Martha Simpson

    I am a librarian in CT. Our Teen Department will be withdrawing several books in order to make room for new titles. Most are in very good condition. Do you want them?

  8. authorangelachristinaarcher

    I’m from Reno (born and raised), however, moved to Oklahoma about nine years ago. I am a historical romance author and I’ve shared your post with my YA author friends. I would send you copies of my novels, however, even though they are very clean, sweet romances (very little heat) they are still for people at least 18 years old or older. I wouldn’t allow my own daughter to read them unless she was 18. I still have shared it. I have some educational research books that I’ve purchased in order to write my novels. If you are interested in those. They range in topics from the life of a slave to the women who traveled and mined the Klondike during the gold rush.

  9. Kitty Bucholtz

    How exciting! I’m sure you’ll end up with more books than you can use since this post seems to be going viral. 🙂 Have your kids start thinking up plans to donate some of the overflow to other similar small towns! Meanwhile, I’ll send you some of my own books, books I’ve read that I probably won’t re-read, and any comics or DVDs I decide I can let go of. 😉 I also know two comic book store owners, so I’ll see if they can make any donations.

    Good luck! What a fabulous, fun, exciting project!!! In addition to getting the kids reading more, I hope they learn about giving and receiving, how small the world is, how powerful the right post on the Internet can be, and what amazing opportunities they can find and create, even in a small town. I grew up 13 miles outside a town of 2000, so I understand. Wish I were there to help!! Haha! Hugs to all of you!! 😀

  10. S Harrell

    I read the heartbreaking story and wanted to do something to support the library. I found your website and love the idea that I can support the library and a local bookseller. I used the website contact form to find out additional information. This is the text I provided for your website’s Contact Us form:
    Hi, I’d like to support the Just. One. Book. Project. I live out of state, so I won’t be visiting your awesome bookstore to make a purchase. It would be very helpful if you or someone could provide a list of books, cds, dvds etc. that would be most useful to give to this project. I checked the Amazon Wish List and found only 1 book. That can’t be right, can it? I want to support your bookstore…Thank you for your assistance. Warm Regards, S Harrell

    This is the response I received from the folks at customerservice@exquirofulfillment.com (where apparently any Contact Us form information is sent:

    HI, I apologize for the inconvenience, please note that your email has reached the fulfillment center in which we service over 300+Libraries and Bookstores. Please reach out directly to your local bookstore with your inquiry. Please advise if further assistance is required from me regarding this matter. Best Regards, Christina Jones Exquiro Customer Service

    Clearly, I thought I was reaching out to Books and Beyond, but apparently not. I’m wondering if you could assist me with my request for information.

    Thank you!
    S Harrell

  11. Nina Hansen

    In 1980, when I was a Title I Tutor in Wellington, Maine, I had several 2nd grade students who couldn’t read at all. A close friend worked on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. She and I both had our students dictate to us stories about themselves and their families. We typed them up, inserted pictures and then photocopied the books so that each child could have one. We also sent copies to each other. By the end of the year, my students had learned to read over 350 words because the reading material was relevant to them.

    If you have anyone in the community who might be interested in doing a project like that, it would probably mean a great deal to the community. You could also extend this to include taking dictation from older folks, and in this way preserve local history.

  12. Laurel Paulson-Pierce

    I will share this in Butte County….we are your neighboring county and we want to help you to get good reading material. Don’t forget that your Pumas county library branch is also a good resource. Many books and other materials can be requested through them, and through the Northstate Library Co-operative anyone with a library card can have access to almost any book in the entire north of California….15 counties…and beyond….http://nscls.org/. Good luck and happy reading.

  13. Iva L

    Hello – I don’t know what young adults read, but I want to help. Based on your request I’m sending you some books (aimed more for your teachers) on women in the Middle Ages and one of my favorites, “A History of the World in 100 Objects” by Neil MacGregor. From your Amazon list I’m sending 8 rolls of book tape – dull, but practical. Hope that all are useful.

  14. D W

    If you can come up with any budget, take a look at half.com MANY used books are available there for 75 cents, their minimum price, plus shipping. Though I expect you’ll be swamped from your request.

  15. Dorissa

    Hello! I just emailed you but wanted to follow up here. I’m shipping two cartons of books today. Best of luck to you. Thank you for helping to facilitate this project!

  16. riverwoman2015

    What a wonderful idea. I’m so glad it’s going well! I mailed you a box today. It was fun choosing some books from my bookcase that seem to fit your desires. A couple of anthologies of and about women poets. A collection of classic poems. And a couple of great books on women heroes from comics. I hope these whet some appetites.

  17. Sharon

    A reminder to book donors:
    Any book related to a scientific topic needs to be newer. Not because of condition, but because science books over 15 years old are considered factually obsolete.

  18. Jennifer Broekman

    I bought a copy of E. O. Wilson’s “Letters to a Young Scientist” (2013) for my daughter, but she has plenty of mentors and never read it. Would you like it?

  19. Kimberly Hunter

    Saw this from a fellow Gay Romance writer that you need books. I’m a Gay Romance writer as well and would be more than happy to send you a copy of the 8 books I have in print. Not all are Gay Romance, a few are het. I will also share this post with others and get the word out. Always glad to help!

  20. Cheryl

    I’ve been searching for a place that needs books for years. I finally had to start donating to a local library that is just going to sell them. I’ll be looking through my handoffs to find at least one, and perhaps more. I bet you could start a small business to hook-up many other places just like you and people will then be able to find locations to send their books too.

  21. Natasha

    Please add more titles to your Amazon list. If you end up with multiples of the same titles, Portola High School’s library is also lacking in options. I could drive to Greenville and pick up the duplicates.

  22. Elle Abbott

    I saw this post on Monday and in one day organized our entire office donating one book- good books too. The company agreed to pay the shipping. These are all great books for Greenville, I now have a stack at my desk. Where do I send these if Greenville can’t take anymore books????

    1. margaretelysiagarcia

      Hi Elle, YOu can still send them to us. We have four high schools in the county that we are now dispersing books to that we have too many of . They will go to Portola High School, Loyalton High School, Plumas Charter (High) School, and Quincy High School.

    2. ImahSillyGirl

      That’s awesome!! Believe me, there are plenty of places that need this type of resource. In our community our libraries are always accepting new books. I might also recommend a group home: halfway houses, battered women’s shelter, Group Foster Home. If you look in your phone book (lol, yes, they still make them), there are usually important numbers for your community that can likely help, and of course, Google is always your friend! You can even use your library as a resource and see if they have had anyone contacting them for help with a similar need you have graciously gone out of your way to fulfill. Good job! Your time will not be wasted. <3. Anyone else have any ideas?

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