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Established by Dolly Parton, the Imagination Library mails free books to children ages 5 and younger

Children in Estacada will soon have the opportunity to have a book delivered to their home once a month at no cost.

The Friends of the Estacada Public Library and the Estacada Community Foundation have partnered to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the community.

Established in 1995 by country singer Dolly Parton, the Imagination Library mails free books to children ages 5 and younger in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Since its inception, the program has connected more than 90 million books to children in more than 2,000 communities.

According to a brochure for the program, "Dolly launched the Imagination Library to honor her father who was smart and hardworking, but never learned to read or write. The program is meant to give children from all walks of life, both in the United States and around the world, a chance that Dolly's father never had."

In Clackamas County, the Imagination Library is available in Sandy, Wilsonville and Canby.

David Bugni of the Friends of the Estacada Public Library noted that program coordinators hope to complement the literary resources that are already in town.

"It will help from a pre kindergarten standpoint. Before the school district sees the kid hopefully they will have taken advantage of the program," he said. "We want to work with the schools, homeschool groups and churches to get the word out."

Bugni added that the program will be valuable in many ways.

"They can be read to by parents and as they get older, hopefully start reading on their own," he said. "It's a win-win. For the school district, kids will be better prepared for kindergarten. For the preschool programs, it augments what they're doing."

Literature from the Imagination Library outlines numerous benefits of early literacy. A child's first three years sees 90 percent of their physical brain development, and when children enter kindergarten ready for school, there is an 82 percent chance that they will master basic skills by age 11, compared to a 45 percent chance for their counterparts who are unprepared.

There will be a launch party for the Imagination Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m Jan. 26 at the library, 825 N.W. Wade St.

"They can learn more (about the program) and sign up if they're interested," Bugni said.

Bugni estimated that participants will begin receiving books in February or March.

He said the most beneficial part of the program will be "to give the kids this added enrichment."

"They may encounter books and authors they might not have seen otherwise," he added.

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