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Musical evening with Ellen Whyte Trio to fund children's book mailing program

Community members who would like to help create young readers can help raise funds on Oct. 18 to launch a program for mailing books to kids.

COURTESY PHOTO - The Ellen Whyte Trio, including Gene Houck and JP Garau, is set to play an Oct. 18 benefit concert for the Oregon City Library Foundation."An Evening with Ellen, Gene and Jean," the Ellen Whyte Trio, will be the first step towards implementation of the Oregon City Library Foundation's partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a new program for families and children in the Oregon City Library's service area that also extends to some unincorporated areas of Beavercreek and Redland. Thanks to funds from the Imagination Library, as well as future grants and community contributions, books will be mailed to young children in the OC Library service area.

"It is an ambitious, bold undertaking that will encourage parents to read to their children, resulting in improved childhood literacy and school preparedness in our community," said Karen Martini, executive director of the Oregon City Library Foundation. "The program will help the library achieve one of its strategic priorities to create young readers."

Each mailing costs $2.10, so each kid enrolled in the project would receive 12 books a year, resulting in an approximately $25 annual cost to the foundation. Potentially this program could eventually serve almost 2,000 children a year, depending on how many register, Martini said, registration brochures will be available later this month at the library.

"The OC Library Foundation is providing seed money for the project which could ultimately require more than $40,000 a year to sustain," Martini said. "A big undertaking, for sure, but we are fully committed and know that this program could transform the face of childhood literacy in our community."

Guests at the Oct. 18 event will learn more about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and how they can invest in its Oregon City chapter. Families in the library service area will be able to register children from birth to 5 years old to receive one free book a month in the mail.

"Reading to children in their preschool years provides the biggest boost towards a successful education they will ever get," Martini said, citing the Dolly Parton Imagination Library's brochure. "There is no charge for the books and they are theirs to keep!"

The kick-off event from 6-9 p.m. is Friday, Oct. 18, at the Pioneer Community Center, kitty-corner from the library in Oregon City. There is no cost to attend, however, donations will be encouraged and accepted.

Program launch

WHAT: Learn more about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in Oregon City while enjoying hors d'oeuvres, wine, beer, cider and dessert. Grammy nominated Ellen Whyte, and her musical collaborators Gene Houck and Jean Pierre Garau, will perform 90 minutes of bluesy, jazzy, contemporary and eclectic selections suitable for listening and/or dancing.

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18,

WHERE: Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St., Oregon City

COST: Free to attend, donations encouraged

EVENT REGISTRATION REQUIRED: oclibraryfoundation.org or 503-544-3442


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