New to 2022 you can now sponsor a child to receive the gift of books through the OTEC Member Foundation! This is a great opportunity for members to be able to sign up children for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in other areas of the United States that live outside of Baker, Grant, Harney or Union counties. The cost is $25 a year and the child will receive 1 book each month until their 5th birthday. *All sponsorship money must be collected in advance before finalization.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child and signing them up, please contact us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 541-524-2847.
The Imagination Library began in 1995 in Dolly’s hometown of Locust Ridge in Sevier County, Tennessee. The program provides age-appropriate books every month to children up to age 5. Books are mailed directly to the home, and are addressed to the child.
Aletha Bonebrake, OTEC Board of Director and chairwoman of the Baker County Library Foundation in Baker City, says that whether a parent reads to a child or not, when the book comes into the home in the child’s name, the child will begin using their imagination to tell the story, even if it’s just from the pictures. Aletha heard about the Imagination Library program after meeting Jan Rippey, who brought the Imagination Library to Wilsonville. The Imagination Library is run by the Dollywood Foundation, which partners with local nonprofits or school districts. The partnering entity is responsible for registering local children and providing stable funding to pay for the books, which is $25 a child a year. There is no cost to families. All children are eligible, regardless of family income.
The James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation offered to pay 50 percent of the cost for new Imagination Library programs started by June 2018 in rural Oregon counties with a population of fewer than 100,000. After several meetings, an idea for funding surfaced: the OTEC scholarship fund, which is funded by unclaimed capital credits. OTEC’s scholarship committee and the board of directors approved the cooperative becoming a major funding sponsor for at least five years. With this funding in motion, the Imagination Library became a reality for Eastern Oregon counties.
Collectively, Harney, Union, Baker and Grant counties are the 18th location in Oregon to use the Dolly Parton program. According to officials with the Dollywood Foundation, OTEC is the first electric cooperative in the nation to take a leading role in bringing the Imagination Library to its citizens.