I wasn’t planning on sharing this project at first, but then three other book bloggers from Minnesota joined! We ended up donating over 500 books to the Red Cliff Reservation’s growing library to help create a solid YA section.

part of the pile I hauled off of my shelves

Mini story time: I didn’t read a lot in middle school because books were expensive and our rural library didn’t have a ton on their shelves. So better access to YA books is something that’s really important to me and I’m fortunate enough to be in a position now where I receive so many books I’m able to share. I’ve donated to my local library over the past few years, but they also have an awesome system where you can request books from bigger towns as well! So access to YA books in my small town is a lot better, but there are still areas in Minnesota & Wisconsin where it could be improved.

I cleared 300 books off of my shelves last October to donate to an Ojibwe reservation because I’ve spent a lot of time living and/or working with the Leech Lake, Bad River, and Red Cliff bands. I also spent most of my freshman year of college studying Ojibwe history, religion, and language in various contexts and studied with a shaman who helped me a ton when I got sick… so basically I wanted to pay it back.

The Red Cliff band opened a small library in 2015 (definitely check out this short article and this one). I remembered how the nearest big library is a couple hours away, which I was never able to visit without a car… and kids shouldn’t have to go on a huge journey to hunt down a book like some wild Pokemon.

So I reached out to a few other book bloggers in the Twin Cities area and they came through with SO many books:

Thank you to Maren from The Worn Bookmark for donating these boxes!
Thank you to Rachael of Redrchl Reads and Emily @Bookwyrmstrove!
My books (and then my aunt donated one box that’s not pictured)

 

Red Cliff’s librarian said they were thrilled to get them, there were a lot of exciting titles, and that they’re currently training volunteers to catalog everything. Here’s the old administration office they converted into their new library:

I wish I had taken more pictures with the pile I hauled off of my shelves or something so this post could be a bit more interesting, but I guess that wasn’t really the point. We just wanted to share books. And I’m so grateful to Maren, Rachel, and Emily for being so enthusiastic about this project too!! Check out their blogs!

Trouble at Fort Lapointe (American Girl History Mysteries, #7) My absolute favorite book that I donated was Trouble at Fort La Pointe, which is about an Ojibwe girl who lived pretty close to the Red Cliff area! I wish copies of this middle grade book weren’t so hard to find because I think it’s an amazing book for their library. If anyone has some copies they want to share, I’m sure they would be appreciated.

 


 

Note on a different project that got canceled: I was also working on trying to ship some books to three Syrian children in a refugee camp in Lebanon who are currently trying to teach themselves. I have the contact information and everything could work, but it is beyond expensive to ship a small box. Like $400 expensive. I did want to answer a few questions about that project here, though:

  • Can we give them money to buy books: that’s not really a possibility in their current location and with how stretched the workers are already.
  • Why am I bothering to send books to people whose priorities are not leisurely reading: ok well THAT could be a whole post on its own, but education, a chance to escape their current situation, and showing them they’re not ignored are some of the top reasons.
  • Can people send books to ship: that ended up being something I wasn’t comfortable doing because I haven’t read all of those titles. I’m mostly going off of my training from teaching English to refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia as to what kinds of materials/topics are okay for discussion, but I wouldn’t want to send something that could be insensitive or triggering.

So there’s an update for everyone who’s asked about sending books to donate. It’s awesome that you care so much about sharing your love for reading and I’ll keep you updated for future projects I’m doing!! <3

12 comments on “MN Book Blogger Project: Red Cliff Library”

  1. This is an awesome project! I have to admit, I haven’t shared with libraries nearly as much as I would like to say, given how many books have managed to find new homes away from my bookshelf. Some, I’m sure, are still with my parents; others have likely wandered off with friends or were misplaced during moves. I sold a bunch to Half Price Books a couple years ago, and given that I only got something like $15 of credit for a MASSIVE set of boxes, I found myself wishing I had just gone to a library instead. Lesson learned though! Next time I clear out books, they will ALL be going to a local library. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these awesome projects you’ve done / are working on 🙂 They are inspirational.

    • It’s always fun to share books and find them new homes!! And it’s great that you pass them on 🙂

  2. This is so great! I often wish bloggers would talk more about donating books. I know many probably do and just aren’t shouting it from the rooftops in an effort to be humble or something, but I think it sets a great example and tone for the community. We see so many posts about how Blogger X got 25 books just this week or how Blogger Y owns 5000 books that sometimes spreading the joy of reading doesn’t always seem like the focus. (Not shaming people who own tons of books. I do myself. But I think the over-arching narrative of the community can *look like* we’re all just hoarding mountains of books and sitting on top of them cackling or something while demanding ever more ARCs.) So I think this is just a nice look into the kinds of work I assume many bloggers are doing that most of us simply don’t know about.

    • Yeah I really wasn’t planning on making a post about this because the whole “shouting it from the rooftops” did feel odd, but in the end I wanted to share how several bloggers could get together and literally double the size of a library in a community that really needs it! Because you’re right — we do a ton of stuff like this and people just see packed shelfies and can assume we’re hoarding for sure.

  3. This is so cool! A lot of children don’t have access to books at home and reading at home is associated with greater school success, so I think it makes sense to give reading for fun books even if your goal is literacy or education. But, overall, I think it’s really fabulous that you’re highlighting ways that bloggers can give back. I usually donate my books to the library so they can sell them and buy more books, but I know there’s a lot more work to be done in terms of making books more accessible to all.

    • That’s awesome you donate them to your library! In some rural areas there often isn’t an opportunity for a library book sale because people don’t have the money *and* the library is so understocked to begin with, so hopefully someday these smaller libraries can do those kinds of sales too!! 😀

  4. Taking the time to scout out the biggest impact for your books like this is amazing. Little donations here and there are nice but this will probably change that library forever. Thank you for sharing!

  5. This is so cool! Thanks for helping others and doing good, and reminding us we can do the same 😊 I’m going to look into donating the books i won’t take with me when I move, but I don’t think there’ll be many I’m willing to give up 😂

  6. Here here!  Thank you, Cal faculty and grad students, for so eloquently presenting recent events, and coindmenng  the unnecessary and brutal force unleashed on students and professors last week. Truth is growing and expanding by the  hour.

  7. Mandy, your card is gorgeous. But, your post has made me cry. As you know I lost my dad last month, I'm 35 and feel cheated, I should have had them longer. But, your dad sounds just like mine, after my mam died 10 days before him he wouldn't let me visit him if I was crying. He was a mans man, rugby playing, beer drinking, welder who when he held his grand kids for the first time had a tear in his eye, and was wrapped firmly round my daughters little firHsn.guge,Bex x

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