Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides free books to Wareham’s youngsters
Free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program might be just what Wareham families need as the coronavirus keeps people in their homes for the holidays.
Fortunately, everything about the program is coronavirus safe. All parents in Wareham need to do is sign their children up for the program, and a free book will be mailed directly to their home each month until the month of the child’s fifth birthday. It takes a few months to get mailing arranged to send a child a book each month, so children can only be signed up until they are 4 and a half years old.
Currently, the local chapter of the Imagination Library, which is funded by the Friends of the Wareham Free Library, supports sending books to 225 children each month.
Priscilla Porter, who runs the Wareham Imagination Library, said the program helps young children start a collection of books and is a great way for families to bond.
“Parents read to their children, so it brings that family connection of reading to your children,” she said. “Reading — it’s so important. It helps them further on when they’re at school.”
The program was designed to run from birth until the month of a child’s fifth birthday, at which point the child would be heading to kindergarten and would have access to more books at school, Porter said.
Kelly Churbuck, who has had three children enrolled in the program, said the Imagination Library has allowed her kids to experience different worlds, even during an isolated time.
“My kids absolutely love getting books in the mail every month through the Imagination Library program,” Churbuck said. “Dolly sends out really incredible books: books celebrating diversity, traditions, self acceptance and inclusion, books that take place in a multitude of settings and with many different relationship dynamics explored.”
Porter also pointed out that the program is incredibly accessible because it is free.
“There are families that would love to read to their children, but they can’t afford the books,” Porter said. “This way, it costs them nothing because the Friends raise the money.”
Porter said the Friends of the Wareham Free Library just conducted its major fundraiser for the Imagination Library program. Each year, the Friends are responsible for raising $25 per child enrolled in the program, Porter said.
Anyone interested in donating can sponsor one or more children for $25 each for one year. The Friends ask that checks be made payable to Friends of the WFL, with “Imagination Library” in the memo line, and be mailed to Friends of the Wareham Free Library, P.O Box 735, Wareham, MA 02571.
The $25 covers mailing costs for the children who receive books, and that is all the local chapters are responsible for paying, Porter said. The books are all donated by Dolly Parton’s charity, the Dollywood Foundation.
Porter said the recent fundraiser was very successful and said the Friends will enroll any child who is interested and eligible.
“We will take on any child that wants to (join),” Porter said. “If we have to raise more money, we’ll raise more money to accommodate more kids.”
There are enrollment forms in the Onset Bay Association office in Onset, on the table in front of the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall and at the Wareham Free Library. Parents can also access the form to register online at https://imaginationlibrary.com/usa/affiliate/MAWAREHAM/.
Porter said she hopes parents continue to enroll more children.
“What better gift is there for a child than the gift of books?” she said.