Kris Wiley new mug

Kris Wiley

Children newborn through 4 years old in the greater Roseburg, Glide and Idleyld Park areas soon will have the opportunity to receive free books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

Launch parties are scheduled for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Roseburg Public Library and 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Glide Elementary School gym. Each event will include storytime, craft and snacks.

Parents and caregivers will be able to register their young children for Imagination Library, and there will be a Dolly Parton life-size cutout set up for photo opportunities. In addition, library staff and staff from the Douglas Education Service District’s Early Learning Hub will be on hand to talk about services and register attendees for library cards.

Imagination Library is an international program that mails one new, age-appropriate, free book every month to children from birth until they reach age 5.

The benefits of getting books into children’s hands are well documented. For example, according to a 2008 National Early Literacy Panel Report, research shows children can learn reading and writing in their earliest years. Introducing our youngest learners to sounds, words and pictures makes them better prepared for formal instruction and leads to greater educational success.

Storytime also provides opportunities for family bonding.

Our Imagination Library program is made possible by Friends of the Roseburg Public Library, and we are able to serve residents of the following zip codes: 97443, 97447, 97470, 97471, 97494 and 97495. I encourage residents outside of those areas to contact their local libraries; Imagination Library is available through several affiliates in Douglas County.

Imagination Library provides program management support and books at no cost. The local affiliate is responsible for funding the mailing costs to our participants, and that is $25 per year per child. In return, the child receives 12 high-quality books that he or she can keep.

Because we are starting with a limited budget, registrations will be possible only at the launch parties. Our goal is to eventually allow online registrations and we will assess our funding regularly to determine when that will be feasible.

Initial funding is provided by The Ford Family Foundation, and we have other grant requests pending. Support from foundations is fantastic; however, it will not sustain the program in perpetuity. And that’s why we need your help.

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to Friends of the Roseburg Public Library to support this early literacy opportunity for our youngest children. Checks made payable to Friends of the Roseburg Public Library may be mailed to PO Box 1921, Roseburg, OR 97470 or dropped off at the library. In addition, cash will be accepted at the library and launch parties.

Imagination Library is an amazing program that will help set up our children for a bright future. With your help, we can position our youth for extraordinary success.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached at 541-492-7051 or kwiley@cityofroseburg.org.

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