SDHC Gives 1,300 Books to South Dakota Schools, Libraries

Providing Reading Material to South Dakotans

During an ongoing pandemic and a frigid South Dakota winter, the South Dakota Humanities Council is providing extra ways to get reading material into the hands of people who would enjoy it.

SDHC is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to "celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state." By offering weekly book giveaways on Facebook and mailing books to libraries, senior living facilities, and other organizations, SDHC offers South Dakotans opportunities to celebrate literature and consider the humanities' importance.

"We have been doing a weekly book giveaway called 'Free Book Friday' on Facebook for many years," said SDHC Executive Director Ann Volin. "When the pandemic began, we doubled up on those offerings. In recent months, we realized an opportunity to give another life to our surplus books."

Books: Making a Difference

After sending an inquiry to libraries in early February, SDHC staff has been busy filling requests from librarians around the state and shipping nearly 1,300 books. Most of the titles are former One Book selections that are no longer needed for the program, which offers the annual selection on loan for book clubs and other organizations. The surplus has been a boon for public libraries and school libraries.

Books make librarians happy.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity to share books from Young Readers One Book SD!" said Kathleen Bergeson, librarian at Stewart Elementary School in Yankton. "Every third grader received Tatanka, and every third-grade classroom has a set of Bink and Gollie. During this crazy year, books in hand that connect us make all the difference. You are making such a difference! And I appreciate that effort so much!"

Donald F. Montileaux's Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People was the 2019 Young Readers One Book; the 2020 Young Readers One Book was Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee's Bink & Gollie: Three for One, a special edition printed exclusively by Candlewick Press for elementary students in South Dakota.

"Receiving the free books from SDHC will allow us to provide a great selection of books to our students and community," said Dr. Natalie Anderson, President of Lower Brule Community College. "The books will be used for our monthly book club, library event giveaway items, or to broaden our offerings at the library for patrons. Thank you again, SDHC, for your generosity!"

In 2021, SDHC has given away books to schools, libraries and other organizations, including Touchmark All Saints, an assisted living facility in Sioux Falls that allows residents to check out the books.

Encouraging Reading and Virtual Book Clubs

While helping librarians keep their shelves filled, SDHC continues to offer convenient ways for readers to get their hands on books and discuss them in book clubs. Bibliophiles can "like" the SDHC Facebook page to participate in "Free Book Friday," or they can borrow an entire box of books for their book clubs for just $25.

Under normal circumstances, the Book Club to Go program provides books and an optional discussion leader for just $50.Now, to accommodate virtual book clubs, readers can check out a set of books from our Lending Library, including the 2021 One Book South Dakota The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin, for the reduced fee of $25 to cover postage. SDHC also has scholars who are available to facilitate virtual discussions.

While the One Book program offers South Dakotans a chance to read and discuss themes of a carefully selected common read, the Book Club to Go program provides a variety of literature across several genres. Click the links below for more information.

Learn More

Want to learn more about reading and personal exploration opportunities through the South Dakota Humanities Council, which also offers an annual statewide South Dakota Festival of Books? Subscribe to our e-newsletter below.