In early 2001, we began the vision to create a community read program to bring residents from all corners of Deschutes County together through reading, discussing, listening, and sharing experiences through one book. The library was not able to finance the project, so we raised the financing and support from local sponsors and regional grantors to make it happen. And, make it happen we did!
We launched the “A Novel Idea…Read Together” community read program in 2003 due to the incredible support of local sponsors who have supported us for more than a decade, such as the Echo Foundation, the Roundhouse Foundation, the E.H. & M.E. Bowerman Advised Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Bend Research/Lonza, the Starview Foundation, the Pacific Power Foundation, and thousands of individual donors along the way.
We created life-long friendships with authors whose generosity set the stage for our success. The authors we worked with have graced us with their knowledge and kindness, always willing to do a little extra to make the program more special for our participants. Things felt simpler when we first started where a phone call to David James Duncan and Khaled Hosseini sealed the deal. Today, we work with publishing houses and agents to solidify author visits and details.
We partnered with more than 400 local, regional, and statewide organizations and individuals to bring our programs to life with enriching presentations, cooking demonstrations, dance circles, fly fishing lessons, civil discourse, history tutorials, and so much more. Local bookstore owners partnered with us to select and sell the books. ...
We read more than 600 books and had the amazing assistance of community readers over the years. Our community readers and selection committee members spent hundreds of hours to carefully pore over books to find just the right book at just the right time for our County residents to explore together.
We expanded our staff and are very lucky to have an incredible team working behind-the-scenes to make A Novel Idea what we feel is the best community read project in the Northwest. Liz Goodrich brings two decades of experience and passion to the project and her leadership has made all the difference. Paige Ferro and Laurel Westendorf have been creating programs that inspire, enrich, and delight our communities and work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. Our communications team led by the extraordinary Tina Davis includes Ann Hettinger, Dana O’Connell, and Michael Rivera, and they produce the materials such as the Reader’s Guide, videos, bookmarks, magnets, and other promotions for A Novel Idea. Suzy Olsen and our Foundation Board members make sure we continue to have funding for this project through grants, sponsors, and donors. And, volunteers supported our efforts along the way.