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Poetry Saves Us

I am a romantic at heart.

In that twisted way where you read a great book and you enjoy crying at the end because everything went to hell and the lovers don’t wind up together because one of them is dead, or married to someone else, or a war has broken out.

My students used to say, Ms. Garcia are you aware all of your books you assign have tragic endings?

Do they? Oh shit. I guess they do.

I think I got that way through poetry. It was the first thing I ever read and the first thing I ever wrote.

So as I’m starting to organize the school library and finding all the poetry books that have been checked in I’m just amazed. There is so much here. So many voices. So many observations. So many perspectives. So many sorrows. So many joys.

I want to crawl into this shelf–disappear into the shelf. Disappear into your gifts.

And I’m doing that now.

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Just. One. Book. CRAZY HAPPY JOY!

So we are pretty much AT CAPACITY.  I think we need more bookcases than books now. What a great problem to have! You guys rock. I got some wonderful personal cards and messages that I opened today. Including a friend of mine, Jenny who sent me chocolate to eat while we open packages. Because BOOKS AND CHOCOLATE are an awesome combination.

 

I want you to know so many people in our community are revitalized by this effort. We have people volunteering an hour or two a day. A steady stream of kids. But then we also have the postal people cheering us on! The Evergreen Market is helping us by taking the cardboard to recycle. People are figuring out what they can donate when. Perhaps bookshelves. Time. Ideas for programming. It’s like a thousand ideas at once.

You know what was cute today? My kids are back from Wisconsin and are working the library with three of their friends today. They were opening boxes and stacking things so the adults could record what came in and from who where we could see it. The kids would stop every once in awhile , squeal out the name of a book and thumb through and another of them would remind them that we were here to work not read yet, and the kid would say “but I’m dying to read this one!” or “I didn’t even know this was a book!” Stuff like that. So adorable.

Of course they’re all tweens and they drove me nuts too.

So remember those shelves with only encyclopedias and biographies from the 50s?

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THIS IS US TODAY!

You can’t tell from the photo but some of these are double rowed. So now begins our process of finding duplicates, of seeing if there was something teachers wanted that we overlooked. If you haven’t sent a box yet but were thinking of it, please hold off for now. We will have a great announcement in a few days for next steps.

THANK YOU  THANK YOU THANK YOU. This was successful beyond any of our imaginations.

This has been such a positive experience for all of us. In the midsts of so much divisiveness politically, in the midst of so much aggression and violence in our world–here is kindness. Here is generosity. Here is life anew. THANK YOU.

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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. 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. 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.