Youths in Clallam County of ages 5 and younger can get a free book in the mail each month through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Funded through United Way of Clallam County and with support from the North Olympic Library Foundation, the North Olympic Library System has opened registration for Imagination Library at www.nols.org/imagination-library.
Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world, NOLS representatives said, mailing age-appropriate books each month to registered children from birth to age throughout the United States. Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics, library officials noted this week.
“We have been talking about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for a few years,” said Noah Glaude, North Olympic Library System director.
“Research clearly shows that reading to kids prepares them for school; having access to books at home can make a huge difference later on. This summer, during the pandemic, we asked local childcare providers and Head Start programs how we could help support them and the response we heard over and over again, was that their families wanted access to books. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, launching this program seemed even more important.”
Christy Smith, the CEO of United Way, agreed.
“It was really apparent early on that there was a need in the community,” Smith said. “When the library approached us about the idea, I was really excited about the possibility of bringing the program to our community. Reading and supporting early literacy in the community has been a key part of what we offer.”
The Untied Way provided $16,000 in seed funding and the North Olympic Library Foundation provided an additional $6,500.
“We have a great start to the program,” Smith said. “However, costs for the program are ongoing.”
Smith said books offered through the program cost about $2.10 each and that for $25 a year, supporters can provide a year’s worth of books for a child.
“The program will take community support to continue,” Smith said.
To help support the program, visit www.unitedwayclallam.org or contact United Way of Clallam County directly at 360-457-3011.