Quesnel children will soon benefit from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. (Contributed image)

Quesnel children will soon benefit from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. (Contributed image)

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to nurture young Quesnel minds

Parents can enroll children to receive free books in the mail

Legendary country singer and songwriter Dolly Parton will be enriching the lives of local children through books.

The Quesnel & District Community Arts Council has teamed up with the Literacy Quesnel Society and Cariboo Regional District Library-Quesnel Branch to make the “9 to 5” singer’s Imagination Library available to tots under the age of five living in Quesnel or surrounding area.

Each month registered kids will receive a high-quality book free of charge at their home from Parton’s gifting program after the Arts Council and Literacy Quesnel donated $10,000 to cover mailing costs. One book costs $3.55 per month to ship from Toronto, Ont.

April is here! Is your child looking forward to receiving their next #ImaginationLibrary book in the mail?

Posted by Dolly Parton's Imagination Library on Thursday, April 1, 2021

“We’re really excited to be bringing this to Quesnel,” said Arts Council executive director Dina Unrau.

“Especially for low-income people who don’t always have access to a library for their children, it just comes right to their door.”

The three groups had been working on bringing the Imagination Library since last October after Unrau said she saw an advertisement for it on Facebook and shared it with their president Cathy Heinzelman who had reached out to the Literacy Quesnel Society.

From there, a series of meetings had followed, and a committee was formed.

“We’re starting off looking at registering 100 children for now,” Unrau said, noting they are hoping to secure further grants and donations to keep the Imagination Library accessible into the foreseeable future.

“We had to sign a five-year contract with the Dollywood Foundation.”

Read More: QUIZ: How much do you know about literacy and the freedom to read?

Parton launched her Imagination Library in 1995. Books were first distributed to children living in Sevier County, Tennessee, where Parton was raised.

The program has expanded over the years across the United States and eventually to countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

“I’m hoping it catches on everywhere,” Unrau said, encouraging other B.C. communities and organizations to get involved.

North Cariboo parents can register their child by contacting the Quesnel & District Community Arts Council, Literacy Quesnel Society or Cariboo Regional District Library-Quesnel Branch.

(Note: The program ends once a child attains the age of five years.)

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