Family creates library to remember teen who died of brain cancer

By Daniel Charland

Witness Correspondent

DUBUQUE — On April 28,  seventeen-year-old Isabella Auer passed away from terminal brain cancer. Now, her family has created a lending library in her name using memorial funds and donations. When asked what the inspiration was for creating this library, Isabella’s mother, Misty Auer, said,

“I wanted to do something to honor her memory and was inspired to create a unique library full of books which are often not available in public libraries. This came from my memories of Isabella’s love of reading and, in particular, her love of meaningful wholesome literature filled with characters who are true role models. She always wished these books would have been available at the local library.  Instead, many times families have to buy these books if they want to read them.”


Isabella Auer, an avid reader, is seen with books. She died in April. (Contributed photo)Run out of the Auer’s own house, the library will house mostly chapter books for a variety of ages from Catholic publishers. The targeted age range of each book will vary, leaving parents responsible to do their own research in terms of what is appropriate for their child. All of the books are wholesome, but some may contain topics not suitable for young readers. According to Misty Auer, the library will also cover a wide array of genres and subjects, but all featuring characters who are heroes and heroines of virtue.

“We have every book Bethlehem Books has in print and many books recommended by Mother of Divine Grace Homeschool,” said Auer.  “We have the full set of Vision Saint Books from Ignatius Press.  I plan to continue to build the library using homeschool book lists and classics. It will be a Catholic library, but there are plenty of books that are not specifically Catholic for those who may come from a different background.”

The library contains some rare publications as well. Representatives of Bethlehem Books, after learning about what was being done with these books, donated an additional 14 out of print titles.

Several Catholic families who are already friends with the Auers are excited about the new availability of books for their children. One such excited mother is Kelly Puls, who said, “What a blessing to have the Auer family share so many wonderful books for all of us to enjoy. Isabella has touched each of our lives in such a beautiful way. We are grateful to enjoy these books in her memory. In a world filled with so much technology and secularism, we are grateful to have these virtuous, hands on adventures that will help inspire us and our children without compromising our values. May God Bless them for sharing this generous gift.”

For anyone interested in viewing the list of available books, it is accessible at To check them out, email Misty Auer at

Cover image: The books seen above are part of a lending library started in honor of Isabella Auer, a Catholic teenager from Dubuque who recently died of brain cancer. Since Auer was dedicated to her faith and loved literature, her family has decided to stock the library with books from Catholic publishers and others that feature many characters of virtue. (Contributed photo)