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April 16th & 17th, 2010
Jefferson County Library Rodriguez Annex

Diane Coplin Hammond


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in our library catalog.

Friday April 16th

The Urban Elephant
7pm in the Library Rodriguez Annex

Chimps Inc. of Tumalo
Discussion on large animals in captivity

Saturday April 17th
Writer's Workshop
Writing from Found Materials
(Limit 18 - Sign up in the Library)
9-11:30 am in the Library Rodriguez Annex

Diane Hammond Presentation
"How a Killer Whale Became An Asian Elephant"
7pm in the Library Rodriguez Annex

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           View Event Handouts  This file is in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf).
           View Event Poster  This file is in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf).

    Sponsors:     Jefferson County Library District
                       Jefferson County Cultural Coalition
                       Rotary Club of Jefferson County
                       Don and Ruth Ann Hopps

Hannah’s Dream

On the animal kingdom’s 10-point scale of adorable critters, Golden Retriever puppies regularly come in on top, while aging gray elephants rarely make it onto the list. But when it comes to lovability, Hannah, the sole elephant at Seattle’s dilapidated Max L. Biedelman Zoo, is off the charts. Rescued as a baby by the zoo’s founder while on safari in Africa, Hannah has been cared for by Samson Brown for her 41-year captivity. Theirs is an empathetic, symbiotic relationship as Samson transfers all the love deflected by the death of his only child into caring for this slightly needy, somewhat neurotic, but always affectionate creature. But Samson is aging and his health is failing, and the zoo needs a plan. Enter Neva Wilson, an energetic young zookeeper whose creative ideas for Hannah’s well-being immediately puts her afoul of Harriet Saul, the zoo’s petty, tyrannical administrator. To save Hannah’s life, Samson and Neva scheme to transfer her to an elephant sanctuary, though their plan comes with great personal risk. Irresistibly touching, delectably uplifting, Hammond’s understated yet gargantuan tale of devotion and commitment poignantly proves that love does indeed come in all shapes and sizes.


Diane Hammond biography

A native New Yorker, Diane Hammond, author of bestseller Hannah’s Dream, has been an Oregonian since 1984, when she moved to Newport, Oregon (pop. 9,000), on the central Oregon coast. Its relative isolation, constant winter storms, strong people and harsh beauty struck an immediate and lasting artistic chord, resulting in themes and settings that have resonated in her writing ever since.

Hammond was awarded an Oregon Arts Commission Literary Fellowship while also pursuing a career in public relations and communications for non-profit organizations. In that capacity she was public relations manager for the brand-new Oregon Coast Aquarium, a job that culminated in the arrival of Keiko, the killer whale star of the hit movie Free Willy. She acted as Keiko’s press secretary first for the aquarium and then for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation.

Hammond’s first novel, GOING TO BEND, was published by Random House/Doubleday in 2003, with particular acclaim in the Pacific Northwest, where the book was set. HOMESICK CREEK, her second novel, followed in 2006. Two-year stays in Tacoma, Washington and then Los Angeles ended with her return to Bend in early 2007, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter, six cats and a Pembroke Welsh corgi whose job it is to herd them all.

Her third novel, HANNAH’S DREAM, was released by Harper Perennial on September 2, 2008.

Look for SEEING STARS in bookstores beginning March 23, 2010. It tells the story of four teenage actors and the casting directors, managers, agents, coaches, directors, teachers and parents who help – and prey upon – their pursuit of fame in the frequently toxic waters of Hollywood.


The Urban Elephant

NATURE explores the unusual problems created as the struggle to give Asian elephants a home is fought worldwide. They have a history of captivity that stretches over 200 years. They participate with humans in a surprising array of professions, including tourism, construction, and performance. And their gigantic footsteps may disappear from the face of the earth.

Asian elephants are losing territory to the inevitable process of deforestation. Industrialization all over Asia has hurt the mahouts, or elephant drivers, so that the trained elephants and their riders are being driven into major cities such as Bangkok to earn a meager living receiving donations and food from curious tourists. Elephants forced into a captive life suffer emotionally, physically, and as a species. In “Safe Haven” one woman explains why created a sanctuary for retired performing elephants after giving up her own circus career.

Chimps Inc. of Tumalo

Chimps Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(C) 3-1 wildlife sanctuary dedicated to furthering chimpanzee conservation through education. It was founded by Lesley Day in 1995 in response to the multitude of captive chimpanzees desperately in need of homes.  This private sanctuary provides a place of refuge for those apes that have come from roadside zoos, entertainment industry and the private sector.  Currently there are eight resident chimpanzees and two Siberian lynx.

From Diane Hammond’s website: From 1995 to 1998 I was lucky enough to work with an ailing killer whale named Keiko—the star of the movie Free Willy—and the staff that rehabilitated him. The Keiko project had all the makings of an epic story, with heroes and villains, huge sums of money made and spent, complex issues and passionate declarations, organizational politics, and public and private struggles over control and recognition, often played out on the front pages and television sets of major media outlets around the world.

At the center of the vortex was Keiko himself, a luminous soul who burned more brightly each month as his health was restored; and the handful of men and women who spent Hours.html in an icy pool to swim with him, pet him, challenge him, play with him, teach him, and be taught by him. (Many of the staff also joined him not only for the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also spent countless evenings with him, watching action movies, wrestling and old episodes of Mayberry RFD on a donated wide-screen TV.) From Keiko’s keepers I learned the extraordinary lengths to which good people will go—often without recognition—for the sake of their animals. Keiko’s was, in the end, a love story.

When the killer whale was moved to Iceland in fall 1998, and my part in the project ended, I thought I would write about the experience, or at least about some of the issues and conflicts it raised, but the story was simply too close. So I let the idea go, and wrote Homesick Creek, instead.

Then, in 2001, I stumbled on television footage of a man named Solomon James, Jr., unshackling for the last time the Asian elephant he had taken care of for 22 years. Her name was Shirley, and he had just transported her from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hoehenwald, Tennessee. He was struggling to maintain his composure as millions of people watched their parting on television. It was clear that theirs had been a long and complex journey. Out of this remarkable moment, and informed by my experience with the Keiko project, Samson Brown and Hannah were born


Contributions to support Jefferson County Community Reads activities may be sent to:

Jefferson County Community Read
                        Attention:    Sally Beesley                                
Send to:    241 SE 7th Street
                 Madras, OR 97741

Questions:  contact Library Director at  541-475-3351
A contribution qualifies as a 501 (c) (3) deduction. Non-Profit Number : 93-0493296

Book Selection Guidelines:

1.  A book for high school age and older that would appeal to a wide range of readers.
2.  Priority for the author to be present.
3.  A book that will foster discussion among residents and bring the community together through the common bond of reading.
4.  A book that would offer opportunities for additional special events.
5.  Affordable, in paperback & audio.
6.  A book that “feels right” for our community

Mission Statement

The mission of the Jefferson County Community Read program is to provide a forum for bringing our community together through a common book with activities that encourage the full participation of our multicultural community. This is done to promote reading, to foster literacy, to help our residents have a growing understanding of our cultural diversity, and to encourage dialogue among our community members. 

A scrapbook of Community Read activities and events from each year is kept in the Office of the Library Director.

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