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Jackson County kids to benefit from Dolly Parton’s book program

Starting this month, children ages 5 and younger in Jackson County will be eligible to receive free books, thanks to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and a partnership between Jackson County Library Services and United Rotary Clubs of Southern Oregon.

The Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to children’s homes until they reach age 5, or school age. This new partnership ensures all children in Jackson County can have a broad selection of books at home, according to JCLS.

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly Parton started the Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county. Today, her program mails more than 1 million free books each month to children worldwide, no matter their family’s income.

With over 12,000 children in Jackson County eligible, it will take a village to reach and enroll everyone in the program, JCLS said.

Parents and caregivers can check their local library branch schedule for storytime events and visit their library to register their children for the Imagination Library. Enrollments also can be completed online at dollypartonimaginationlibrary.org.

“Our vision is that through Jackson County Libraries, individuals reach their potential and communities thrive. This work starts with our very youngest library patrons,” JCLS Area Manager for Outreach and Programs Carrie Turney Ross said in a press release. “Early literacy programs like the Imagination Library lead to a lifelong love of reading and increased literacy rates in our schools and communities. JCLS is thrilled to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the children of Jackson County through the support of our partners and generous sponsors.”

Jackson County was one of only three counties in Oregon that did not have the program available for children. The Imagination Library of Jackson County is made possible with support from AllCare, the Ford Foundation and private donors who helped launch this program. It costs $26 per child per year, with absolutely no cost to families receiving the books. If you wish to donate and ensure this program’s future, please go to jacksoncountyDPIL.com.

For more information, please contact your local library branch. For branch locations, hours and contact information, see jcls.org.