Program expanded to reach more young readers throughout
Through the Deschutes Public Library’s program “A Novel Idea,” about 9,000 people are engrossed in this year’s two selected books that the community reads together—one title for adult readers, another for teens. It is the largest program of its kind in Oregon and includes a series of thought-provoking and relevant programs around the two titles, both by Native authors. It culminates in free events with the visiting writers.
The Roundhouse Foundation is continuing a second consecutive year of support aimed at helping the library expand the program’s reach in the broader community. The funding allowed the library to buy more books for young readers and add a second event featuring the authors at the Madras Performing Arts Center in partnership with Jefferson County Library District this year. In addition to appearing in Bend on May 6 at 6 p.m., authors Diane Wilson and Christine Day will speak at Madras Performing Arts Center on May 7 at 4 p.m.
“We are happy that our additional support can fuel more family outreach and make ‘A Novel Idea’ even more inclusive, reaching a diversity of ages and engaging readers in rural areas,” said Erin Borla, executive director of The Roundhouse Foundation. “As a former assistant in the libraries of local elementary and middle schools, I’ve seen the power of what happens when families read together, so it was important to us to help foster that connection.”
The novel selected for young readers this year is I Can Make This Promise, in which Northwest author Christine Day explores the journey a young girl takes to reconnect with her heritage. The Seed Keeper, for adult readers, by Diane Wilson, follows a Dakota family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.
Liz Goodrich, programs supervisor for Deschutes Public Library, said she is excited about expanding the concept for young readers.
“Programming for ‘A Novel Idea’ 2022 has given us the opportunity to explore and understand the generational trauma, the power and the beauty of Native cultures. Roundhouse Foundation has made expanding the project possible,” she said. “The Seed Keeper and I Can Make This Promise delve into important issues and the books work so well together. We think families will be having important conversations about the resiliency, joy and heritage of Native folks.”
In addition to reading the selected books, Central Oregon libraries encourage readers to learn more about the rich history and heritage of Native cultures, including the area’s Wasco, Paiute, Warm Springs, Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin peoples. Deschutes Public Library offers further reading selections as well as suggestions for ways to support Native initiatives at the local level.
Events included in “A Novel Idea” range from a stargazing party in Sunriver to book club talks at libraries in Redmond and LaPine, and a Gardening Fair on the Sisters Library Lawn, April 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It includes sessions on how to help monarch butterflies and other pollinators in your garden, how to build a microgreens kit and a weaving demonstration using garden materials. Kelli Palmer, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation of Oregon, will demonstrate the art of cornhusk weaving and basketry.