Dolly Parton Imagination Library Prince Albert hits important milestone

Facebook photo. Baby Keman enjoys one of the books he received through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

A program aimed at getting age-appropriate reading materials into young children across the city has hit an important milestone.

Last week the Prince Albert chapter of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library announced it had enrolled the first 200 children into the program — or about ten per cent of their targeted population.

 The program has only operated in Prince Albert for a few months. It gifts a free book to registered children each month through the mail, free of charge. Children receive books from birth to age five.

“It’s an important milestone that we’ve hit. Word is getting out in the community,” said Estelle Hjertaas, one of the program’s volunteer organizers. 

“We’ve had a number of people send us pictures of their kids with the book saying that they really enjoy them.”

The goal is for the program to reach every child in Prince Albert, which would mean free books for 2,500 kids.

Most programs, she added, only reach about 60 per cent of their targeted audience. Prince Albert’s program is still growing, but more people sign up each day.

So far, the program has enjoyed support from local groups such as the Optimist Club and the Kinsmen. They have enough donations to cover their current enrolment numbers, but they’re always looking for more support as more families sign onto the program.

“It’s not a very expensive program, per child. But if you have a lot of children, those costs go up quite significantly.”

Hjertaas added that, at this time, the program is only open to postal codes within the City of Prince Albert. Some have inquired from surrounding communities like Albertville, but the program doesn’t reach that far yet.

“We’d love to get to the point where we could expand,” Hjertaas said. “If people want to come on board and help us with fundraising, maybe that’s something we could look at faster.”

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