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Dolly Parton's Imagination Library returns to Wood Buffalo

Last Updated Oct 16, 2020 at 11:58 am MDT

PHOTO. Dolly Parton reads to toddlers at an Imagination Library event. Supplied by Dolly Parton's Imagination Libary of Wood Buffalo.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will return to the region.

Through Telus and a grant from the Canadian Red Cross and Employment and Social Development Canada, the reinstated program will provide books for the region’s children.

The program historically reached more than 1800 of the region’s kids.

Country singer and icon Dolly Parton said she’s excited to bring the Imagination Library back to children and families in Fort McMurray.

“It takes a community of visionary leaders and supporters to make this possible, and I can’t thank them enough. It is such an important time to share the gift of books and reading with as many children as we can, and I know that families in Fort McMurray will love receiving a specially selected book in the mail each month.”

Parents who enrol will receive one new book in the mail for each month of their child’s first five years.

Children may have a personal library of up to 60 books at no cost to the family.

A national committee of early childhood literacy experts will select the books vetting hundreds of children’s books each year.

Telus Chief Communications Officer, Jill Schnarr said the company has a long history of supporting Fort McMurray.

“A book has the ability to transport a child to a different world, encouraging them to use their imagination, fostering a sense of belonging, and potentially sparking a life-long passion for learning. The Imagination Library is an important initiative led by the iconic Dolly Parton, and Telus is proud to support this initiative as part of the $150 million we have committed to help Canadians throughout the health pandemic.”

Julianne North Bourque of The Rotary Club of Fort McMurray is the Community Champion for the Imagination Library of Wood Buffalo.

She said reading to children inspires and encourages a love of reading.

“One of the most important things we can do to improve childhood literacy is to give our children access to books. And one of the best ways to connect and bond with your child is through daily reading especially during this challenging time. It’s a simple but powerful idea.”

Parent Brittany Lynn Bown spoke of how her family benefited through the program.

“When I had my first child, I was only 19 and getting these books [were] so amazing, and as my son got older he got so excited to get his new book. Seven years later I have my daughter who I also wanted to receive books.”

She added she hopes the Imagination Library will continue helping children get into reading.

Imagination Library restarts in Wood Buffalo as of Nov. 1, 2020.

To enrol or donate, sign up on the Imagination Library of Wood Buffalo’s website and follow them on Facebook.