Moosonee is set to launch Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library February 9. The project funds books for kids under five years old with the support of the Dollywood Foundation, the Invest in Kids organization and local Moosonee sponsors.
Children in the community will be able to register for the program and receive one free book per month until they turn five.
Moosonee moms Connie Hergott and Theresa Crown were inspired to bring the library to town to encourage a love of reading in their own children and others in the community. The need for such a program is especially great in Moosonee, as there is no local public library or bookstore in the rural town, which is only accessible by train or plane.
The legendary singer and actress Dolly Parton founded the Imagination Library in the U.S. in 1996 through her Dollywood Foundation.
“It is always wonderful to see a community come together around helping their children,” Parton said. “Growing up, The Little Engine That Could was one of my very favourite books and I’m hopeful that it will mean a lot to kids in Moosonee. It sounds like the train is the main way that things get to their town, and I am excited that every month the train will be bringing children a new book to inspire and delight them.”
Parton originally started the first Imagination Library in her home town of Sevierville, Tennessee. She wanted to do something about the low graduation rate there. After first trying to help kids at the secondary and then the primary school levels, she realized that it was ideal to reach kids even before they went to school.
It is their early memories of sharing a book with parents, which give kids a positive association with books for life, explains Canada’s Regional Director of the Imagination Library, Catriona Sturton.
Hergott and Crown worked hard to get local funding from various donors in Moosonee, including Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services, Northern College, Moosonee Transportation Limited and Moosonee Lions, among many others in the community.
Currently the Imagination Library is in over 700 communities in the U.S. and since its launch in Canada in 2006 is already in 12 communities.
Sturton also encourages any interested communities to start the Imagination Library in their area. “You can make a difference in your community. You can help start something wonderful for the children where you live,” she says. Sturton is ready to visit any interested communities to share her fundraising expertise.
For further information, contact The Imagination Library at I -877-583-KIDS, ext. 293, or visit the following websites: www.investinkids.ca/imaginationlibrary or www.imaginationlibrary.com.