A Future with Books

October 10, 2023

Read at Home and Chinle Planting Hope:  Family Literacy and Community Building on the Navajo Nation and Beyond to Alaska

Glenwood Springs, Colorado Noon Rotary Chapter — Update

Imagine this.  The nearest public library is over 100 miles away.  Internet services are unreliable and not available to many families.  No bookstores. Nearly half of Navajo families do not have running water and many still do not have electricity.

And then imagine your grandmother living alone, taking care of herself, her home, her sheep, but because of the pandemic it is still difficult to get gas for her truck so she can haul water for herself and her livestock.

This is the situation not in some far away foreign country but right here in the United States.

A number of Rotary Chapters in Colorado are working together to support grass-root efforts to bring books and children’s high quality magazines to kids on a regular basis through subscriptions and a Bookmobile. Rotary out of Durango are teaching local Navajo how to install solar light panels so children and families can read together in the evening, do homework, or the parents can continue with creating silver jewelry and weaving rugs.  Both are important sources of income.

Chinle bookmobile volunteer

Volunteer prepares for a day opening the Chinle Planting Hope bookmobile. In just a couple days, over 200 children signed up for bookmobile library cards. [photo: Debbie Wilde]

Chinle Bookmobile

Native illustrator Jonathan Nelson and his mother stand in front of the bookmobile displaying Jonathan’s art work. [photo: Debbie Wilde]

Rotarians have worked side by side with community members to transform shipping containers into a thrift store, catalog over 10,000 books for a lending library, create a bicycle shop where riders can request a bike and helmet and learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance. Volunteers regularly bring baskets of food to elders who live remotely.


A new addition is a Little Free Library located next to the Thrift Store for easy access and easy re-stocking. Interesting to note that in 2009 Rotarian Todd Boll was renovating his home when he suddenly had a fun idea. His mother had been a teacher. He loved to read. He hammered together left-over pieces of wood and made a little schoolhouse, filled it with books, put it on a post in front of his yard and added a sign: FREE BOOKS. That was the beginning of the Little Free Library program. Today these little free libraries are found around the globe — inside jails, refugee camps, north of the Arctic Circle in Finland, and soon — the Navajo Nation.

Keep in mind how important this work is. Exposure to good books is basic to success in school and success in life.  Learn more at www.littlefreelibrary.org


For more information or to make a donation, contact Nancy Bo Flood [email protected] or Debbie Wilde at debbiewilde@debbiewilde.com.

Art by Jonathan Nelson

Readers everywhere recognize how involved she is in this book. (Jonathan Nelson, artist, detail from the Bookmobile)

Art by Jonathan Nelson

Look at that stack of books! (Jonathan Nelson, artist, detail from the Bookmobile)

Nancy Bo Flood

As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have loved stories. I strongly believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following my passion – writing for children. Learn more...