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Library Update

Well there’s good news and bad news on the library front. I’m not too worried about it and I think we will al persevere just fine.

Indian Valley Academy and Greenville High School and the districts that run them have decided to dissolve their partnership. My editor did a brief editorial on it: Schools head toward divorce.

It seems that the partnership dissolving also means that our beloved Library Project might also face a precarious future.  I have rounded up library volunteers again and can report the following.

Next year Greenville High School–with its less than 70 students will be at the Plumas Unified School District property alone.  The Charter school simply could not afford the rent (which went up to 5 times the amount paid in previous years this wear). Indian Valley Academy will be in two locations: A sixth through eighth grade about a block away from the current location with the high school going to nearby Taylorsville.

Which means my library volunteers and I will be making not one but THREE libraries all connected to each other. Because of duplicate donations this looks very promising. There are some books donated that went specifically with various programs—like GHS ‘s culinary program and IVA’s drama program. Those books will be centered where the programs are both located but with access for any kid in the valley.

Whew. Lots of work cut out for us but we are up for it. Indian Valley Academy has a wonderful new (and much cheaper) space to rent in Taylorsville the cheaper rent means more money for programs! We foresee about 100 students at this location (they also take classes at the local community college).  The IVA junior high likewise has a great room for us to set up in and a good chunk of students as well (Im counting at least 50). We have much material thanks to all of you readers! Enough to go around.

One exciting thing I will post about soon (writing an article for it) is Indian Valley Academy’s sister school Great Lakes High School in Uganda. Nine students from Plumas County just went to Uganda for 3 weeks on a project based learning trip to start three projects that are off to a terrific start. Their library was even worse of than ours was so we’re getting in touch with those in charge of the library there to tell us what they need. Stay tuned.

Thank you so much for all you’ve done for us and please know that we are still in transition, still sending thank you notes, still processing this great generosity.

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Just. One. Book. Live with Students!

So SCHOOL STARTED.

And of course we aren’t quite done with what we set out to do–bureaucracy and the craziness of school starting impeded some progress. Not to mention having to butt heads with less than enthusiastic maintenance dudes and non-visionaries. BUT THIS IS NOT A GRIPE! This is a celebration.

I quietly shelve and organize. We have two students doing a library elective who are doing the same.  I hear amazing things in the library when I go there now. And sad things when you stop to think.

Like a student who said, “Are we allowed to touch them this year?”

and the one who said, “but, I don’t have any money. What’s the cheapest one you have?”

and the one who said, “Wow. It’s the same old room but now it looks amazing.”

That’s what I’m talking about.

img_8779So here’s our front desk at the moment…no designated computer yet but we’re being old school until we can afford what we need.

img_8780Here’s something that’s not happened very often in our school district. A display coinciding with Hispanic Heritage month…..

img_8782We’re waiting on a thorough cleaning here before we put down the nice rug we were given and the bean bag chairs back. This is the junior high lounge.You folks who sent manga and comics—it’s been THE BIGGEST HIT.

I promise photos of students. Each time I go to snap a pic I get a don’t take my photo! Ah…teens.

IMG_7448Take a moment to look at what it looked like before you all decided to help us. Yeah. You guys did an amazing thing. I for one will never forget the generosity of this summer. Nor will these students. I’ve started doing a thing where if I hear students talking in the library I place a book with an interesting premise in front of them and see how long it takes before the book gets picked up. Seconds. It takes seconds.

Since Sept 6 when we opened we’ve checked out about 65 books, dvds, and cds  to students and faculty.  Considering the two schools have only 200 students combined that’s some great reach.

THANK YOU!’

Oh and on a side note. Whoever sent the soundtrack to Hamilton? I LOVE YOU. That’s the first thing that I checked out.

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Just. One. Book. Curiosities.

Greetings. I THINK I’ve responded to all emails. There’s a chance I haven’t. There’s 30K words of my new book due to my writing group on Sunday so naturally I’m blogging with you all instead.

THANK YOU! You all are one generous bunch of mammals! You are from every English speaking country on the planet at this point. You care about books and young adults and care that no one who wants to read is left without books to read.

Many of you have posted suggestions that we are looking into. I’ve passed on your links, your grant suggestions, etc. to the people who can best deal with them. I am learning to delegate authority and put myself out of work. Yay!

Green Bay is lovely by the way. JUNE is a good month for Green Bay. Mild not too humid. And these people love craft beer and cheese with such abandon it’s rather fun to watch. Back in California I’m sure someone would have told me not to sample 20 kinds of cheese NOT so in Wisconsin. I digress.

Word has spread like summer fire and students are coming to the library in the summer to help out. We have a team of kids coming in Monday to help clean off the dust, pack up trophies from the glory days and scrub the grime from the room as well as knock out all the recycling.

Everyone rather be reading. I have a feeling this library will morph into one the parents and staff use as well.

Since I get so many repeat questions, I thought I’d reiterate here.

Yes we take used and paperback provide they look/feel newish.

Yes we are 7th-12th grade. Not collecting in particular for younger grades.

There are a few books we have multiple copies of which will be great for class sets: Book Thief, House on Mango Street, and Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Ya’ll LOVE those books.

Yes we have a donation plan coming into place for sharing duplicates with other area libraries.

Address wise—the school building will be closed for vacation July 1-15. Please send books to  PO Box 585 Greenville, CA 95947 during this time. If you need a street address email me.

Thank you!

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Just. One. Book. It’s Starting.

Enthusiasm has taken hold. I’m gone for the rest of the week in the lovely town of Green Bay, WI. visiting my dad– the other person in my family who gave me a love of books. My dad got that from my grandma who used to drop my dad and his brother off at the library for hours on end. Some of my favorite books over the years came from my dad. No rhyme or reason, just every now and then a book he thought a young person should read–and as I’m older now he still does it. Some of my favorite non-fiction comes from him. He came from a family that while, uneducated in its humble beginnings in New York, used libraries. His mother didn’t graduate from high school; my father has a PhD as well as a medical degree. We call him ‘double-doctor.’

I still look to him for book recommendations. And Packers gear. And cheese. Go Packers.

Meanwhile focus in Greenville say packages are still arriving. More kids who are in town for the summer are showing up to help discard old debris, make recycling runs, and the exciting part—opening boxes. One student yesterday remarked to Sue Weber, “I don’t even want to go to classes next year. Can I just sit in here and read?” Book contraband.

Last night when I finally got to talking with my son, he’d asked his friends on FB if there were books they wanted to have in the library.  Every recommendation my son and his friends threw at me I got to answer with, “Yup. Have it. It’s coming.” His friends were amazed. He was amazed.

My daughter revised the summer plans for when we get back. “Okay so, in the morning we work the library; in the afternoons, we go to the pool.” Yes, indeed. Sounds like a sweet summer plan.

Both the Washington Post and Feather River Publishing (the newspaper I work for) have asked me to do stories on the library project.  Yay! And we have teachers working on a donorchoose.org campaign as we realize we will need a designated computer for the library–something we don’t have now. The former Greenville High School library was never digitized.

Also we have a name now for the new library. Since it is for both schools and since the community is so intrinsically involved (and we envision them using the library too) we’ve named it the Indian Valley Collective Library.

Hope you’re having a good day. I know we are.

Green Bay!

 

 

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Just. One. Book. Thoughts from the Airport

Greetings from the Sacramento Airport 5:35 am.

That’s mountain life. If you need to go somewhere, you have to leave the night before to get there. So I’m at the Sacramento Airport waiting on a flight for Minneapolis to go to Green Bay to visit my dad and his lovely wife and…pick up my tween and teen. They just got into social media range as they’ve been cabin camping in the North Woods of Wisconsin. Wait. Mom did what? Started a library?!

My daughter starts 7th grade in the fall; the son starts 9th grade. Because of you? They’ll get to experience a well-stocked library (other than their mom’s office which is arguably a bit poetry/drama/women and early 20th century focused. Now they will have variety to chose from as will their classmates.

Yesterday, before going “off the mountain” to the flatland below, I checked in at the post office (who called me saying they were drowning in boxes) and the library. The director/principal of Indian Valley Academy, Sue Weber was there along with a few community volunteers, and students.  Pam Lyman, the IVA office manager had put a call out to students in town and not off visiting grandparents or at camp to come down and see what was happening–and to help with the breaking down boxes for recycling and making lists of who to thank for boxes with addresses.

The 2016 Silver Buckle Rodeo Queen, Hannah Lambach, stopped by for me to interview her for the local paper. She’s 16 and a Greenville High School student. Her words, “You mean we will finally be able to check out a book?!” She stood there amazed. Then went and got her truck to back up to the building and haul the recycling to Evergreen Market which employs students. The store owners Centella and Ken Tucker are volunteering to pick up boxes while I’m gone and bring them to the library. Ken told Hannah to have the students who work for him help unload the recycling. Hannah promised to come back and tell others to come help.

IMG_7821  These were the bags from Saturday’s UPS haul. That’s not counting the Fed Ex afternoon bags, or the post office which had 5 rolling carts of boxes.

IMG_7824Sue (on the left there) instructed Jazmin how to orderly open and sort. Jazmin was sort of dazed for the first few minutes. “These books are for us?!” As I was unloading the UPS bags Jazmin opened a box and stared at the book inside. You could tell she wanted to pick it up and go to a corner and start reading.

“It’s impossible to open the boxes and not want to read everything,” I said. “Oh yes,” she said.

Then more students started to arrive to help as I was leaving. I was nervous about my trip to Wisconsin for a few days, but one of the things I love about Greenville is that when there’s a project, everyone is all in–doesn’t matter whose idea it was, or what your affiliation is. If there’s something that needs to be done, someone is there to help. Weber wants the students active in this. There’s a whole lot of thank you cards to write.

This attitude is why I like this little hamlet of a town. Despite it sometimes not quite being in the 21st century, despite the Internet going out in the middle of the day, despite the crumbling sidewalks rolling up at 5 pm (hey they have a grant from the state to fix our potholes and highway and sidewalks!), it’s a great place to teach kindness and breathe fresh air. It’s a place where there is always something that needs to be done and there are people willing to show others how to do those things.

Many of us are not from here. I’d say maybe half the town is originally from somewhere else California. We all found our way here from one place or another. I lived in San Francisco in my 20s and early 30s and have become one of the SF economically exiled. I had a hard time visualizing raising a family in a studio apartment for 2K a month, so I moved up here so I could stay home with my kids when they were babies and have them grow up near their grandmas ( my moms live 5 miles away). The moms aren’t from here either but good friends of theirs were. Mom 2 found this place in the 60s when she was the then Methodist minister’s wife. She lived in the parsonage which became the thriftstore and never lost ties to the area and its people. That’s how we are up here now.

Housecleaning:

I’ll work on an Amazon list (thank you for making all those items on the list enter our library) from the Minneapolis airport.

We accept gently used.

It’s a 7th-12th grade library. Some kids a little behind , some a little ahead.

If we get duplicates we have two other area libraries that we think could use help—they weren’t in dire straits like us but nor did they have a lot of new books either.

Okay. My plane is boarding. Have a lovely day.

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Just. One. Book. Friday Morning 8 am

I am not ignoring you.

I am however 1) on deadline and 2) overwhelmed.

Like who starts a book campaign when so many people to work on it are out of town? Next week will be simpler when people are back.

So first off—thank you , thank you, thank you! You book lovers are amazing and you’re purchasing things off our Amazon wish list as fast as I can list them which is not very fast considering I live in a forest where the Internet parties like it’s 1995.

I will get to everyone and quickly as I can. I like correspondence. Just a few things I gathered from the emails I ‘ve gone through:

  1. Please read the updates! I think I’ve answered most questions people are asking there.
  2. I’m listing mostly non-fiction now.
  3. Building a CD collection — so many kids are musically illiterate and that was my favorite part of school as a kid was listening to LPs on headphones! Got a recommendation? Let me know.
  4. Building a DVD collection. We’re in the mountains –not everyone has TV set up and you can’t watch TV without cable. We do a good deal of swapping around here so kid appropriate DVDs are welcome. The nearest movie theatre has one screen and plays one movie a week. It’s quaint and fun but limited. I’m from Los Angeles so I take my films seriously. 🙂 Ask my kids. They aren’t allowed to get up until after the credits.

We are looking into Donor Chose. Thank you for the suggestions. You all are amazing and the kids who aren’t at camps or their grandparents are popping their heads into the library room stunned.

This afternoon our committee crew is meeting. I will take a photo then.

And now….deadline! Talk to you soon.

Update: My trusty MacBook Air, which I’ve written on for going on six years, just bid me a hasty farewell. That was my computer access. It will be at least a month before I can afford a new one. Have patience with me as I navigate this blog and your comments via my phone. Your questions will get answered–it just might not be as quickly as I hoped.

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Just. One. Book. (Your Questions Answered)

Hi. I don’t know how many writers have been reading this but you know how sometimes you write yourself into a corner on a project and you think I need to get up and move around some and think about what’s going to happen next. Where is this character going? Is she really going to do what I think she’s going to do?

So if you are like me, you get up and fold laundry or take a walk in the campground (I literally live right next to the campground in our town which means when I say I live in a forest, I totally mean I live in a forest).So that’s where I’ve been on my new book project. And while it’s non-fiction this time around there’s many places it could go so I fold laundry, clean out the kids rooms, write an article for the local paper, or speak with you all and add books/films/cds to round out what I hear is coming or that we have at the library. And all and all this system I set up for myself this week was so smooth that I was thinking to myself —look at you managing all this. The house is clean. Articles are written!  New chapter worked on! You even made killer breakfast burritos for the husband.  And then I log into my email and amazon and think OH MY GOODNESS! 200 people emailed me while I slept and the Amazon wish list which I culled from wants and needs of teachers and students and my own idea of what a library should have has gone from 700 items to 5.  Holy shit.

So now I feel inadequate. THANK YOU for making me feel inadequate and humbled by the great power of a collective voice of people who want to see more books in the hands of children and young adults. YOU are seriously rocking our world right now in the most positive way possible.

I realize that this morning before taking my car in for servicing I could 1) try and answer every single email and get a list back up or 2) I could write this blog post and try to include as much as possible to address concerns and questions.

So I’m doing the latter.

  1. We do accept lightly used books. I’m totally down for that and I don’t think any of the students mind.
  2. We do have people on my wee small committee looking into all your great suggestions regarding places that do grants. THANK YOU for the heads up and referrals.
  3. We are accepting classroom sets but are scrambling to figure out what next year looks like at the same time so please, hold that thought!
  4. We aren’t accepting old National Geographics as that’s the one thing we already have plenty of which I think was the last local donation made a few years back along with bodice ripper books. Since the kids didn’t have much in the way that was targeted to their age group, we really want YA fiction and literary classics over adult romance.
  5. YES! I know that the Amazon Wish List is down. You all were so much faster than me. Thank you for your generosity. I will (after work today) add to the list with the teachers lists and recommendations others have been giving me.

If you’ve been on the Amazon Wish List you may have thought my lists were a bit whacky. They –in a large part– reflect what our programs are as well as our interests. In a small town you get to know the kids and their interests. Am I a little concerned about my own son’s fascination with The Walking Dead? Sure but he also love’s the Howard Zinn books so. What’s more I birthed a next generation Nick Cave/Leonard Cohen fan so I’m good.

I thought you might want more details of what we do well. So here it is:

  1. As with many small towns—the schools’ extracurricular programs reflect available resources (people) who teach or volunteer teach/support/coach activities.
  2. Indian Valley Academy is a progressive school that focuses on 21st century skills and channeling student interests and abilities whether they are academically inclined or not.We have kids who have not succeeded in a traditional academic setting but we’ve channeled their interests to make things happen for them. We have kids who were bored in the traditional setting and need a place that doesn’t place boundaries on them. So our dyslexic student who loves to build things gets an opportunity to both catch up on his reading and build his inventions at the same time. Our programs include a chess team, a maker design class, a philanthropy group, a theater program, a wonderfully fun choir named “Puberty’s High Note”, film/video production, and traditional classes.
  3. Greenville High School is a traditional school and also has some programs that are top-notch given our puny size and strength. It has a strong band program with a teacher who has been with us 39 years and a culinary arts program that manages to win competitions through out the state. The schools are integrated for sports and in particular a rodeo program–four students i fact just competed on the state level in rodeo. With the help of the Sierra Institute and Feather River College’s Outdoor Rec Program, our students have been able to go on hiking and water based field trips. In the 6th grade all area tweens go on a series of field trips from the top of the Feather River watershed to where it ends in the San Francisco Bay to give them a better understanding of water and its importance.  Yeah, not the kind of field trips I got growing up in Los Angeles.

What we don’t have as the other posts have indicated–is a strong grounding in the written word.  What we don’t have is a better appreciation of diversity. You are helping to provide that. You are giving these kids access to other worlds outside our great but narrow focus. You are providing your own perspective and in doing so opens up our minds and hearts.

SO THANK YOU FROM A GRATEFUL & OVERWHELMED LIBRARY ORGANIZER. THANK YOU FOR HELPING US OPEN UP THE WORLD FOR OUR KIDS. Stay tuned. There will be an updated list.

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Just. One. Book. Part 4 THE WISH LIST

Hi Everyone wishing to donate. I thought you should see some of our sixth graders who are heading to 7th grade in the fall. This was ‘graduation’ day on Thursday held at the Greenville park on Hot Springs Road.

Okay I went around and asked for requests for what one would want to see in the library from teachers and community members around here. Many of you I have emailed back and forth with and I have an idea of some of the books that are coming by donation without a list. This is by no means exhaustive. Just a start. I know there are holes.

I have simple behind grade level books (6th grade) to freshmen college level.

This is just a preliminary list and most of the time I was thinking things like— oh I remember reading that or what did Green Apple books in SF say was good for teens? Etc. It’s not an end list; it’s a beginning one and not all teachers have weighed in yet.

I want to expand the science section in particular. I asked poets and writers about the poetry.

I will make a film section, but as film and poetry are my things I love, I get bogged in detail. Can only really do one at a time. Okay so here’s the list on Amazon you are welcome to refer people to it. And it’s under my husband’s name: Julian Wells.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/giftlist/2ZIQ8N3ROWEVV/ref=topnav_lists_3

Thank you so much for being part of this journey to recreate a library in our school.

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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.

IMG_7452

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