Thanks to the generosity of local individuals, the Friends of the Roseburg Public Library’s recent fundraiser garnered more than $2,800 for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Community support is critical to the success of this early literacy project, which mails registered youth from birth to fifth birthday one free, age-appropriate, new book every month.

As the local affiliate, the Friends of the Roseburg Public Library manages the entire project, from registrations to finances. Imagination Library covers many of the program costs but requires the affiliate fund $25 per child per year.

The Friends partnered with Imagination Library’s Facebook fundraiser in December, which generated about $1,300 in online donations. At the same time, the Friends’ display ad in The News-Review resulted in $1,550 in cash and check donations.

Contributions were added to those received from the following granting organizations: Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation, Mercy Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation (Anonymous Fund, Ben Serafin Fund, Jerome S. and Barbara Bischoff Library Subfund and Olsrud Family Fund), The Ford Family Foundation, Umpqua Bank and Umpqua Health Alliance.

The project seeks to positively affect outcomes related to school readiness and long-term academic and life success. Children who demonstrate early literacy proficiency are well prepared to meet third-grade reading level expectations and graduate on time.

In addition, books help create a home environment that supports literacy, which builds a foundation for learners to develop the early language and social-emotional skills needed to understand, evaluate and utilize information and services key to making positive life choices. Early access to reading material sets the stage for a lifelong love of reading and learning.

Our service area covers children who live in the following zip codes: 97443, 97447, 97470, 97471, 97494 and 97495. Those who live outside the area should contact their local public library; there are Imagination Library service areas throughout Douglas County and the state. In fact, Imagination Library has affiliates in every state and five countries.

Anyone can register a child in the service area; however, a parent’s phone number or email address is required. The first book is mailed eight to 10 weeks after registration. To get started, visit imaginationlibrary.com.

Nearly 1,000 local children currently receive books every month, and 175 have graduated upon reaching their fifth birthday. About 3,000 children are eligible.

The program is designed to continue in perpetuity, and the Friends group always welcomes donations. Checks made out to Friends of the Roseburg Public Library may be mailed to PO Box 1921, Roseburg, OR 97470. All contributions go directly to getting books in our youngest learners’ hands.

Thank you for supporting early literacy!

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

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