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Imagination Library to set milestone

By Staff | Mar 22, 2019

Submitted photo Harper Leier (left) reads a book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to her sister, Clara.

A local affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library recently announced what they called “an exciting milestone” for March.

“There will be over 10,000 books we hit this month that have gone out to Rugby school district children,” said Susan Schmaltz of the Rugby Public School District Imagination Library affiliate.

Schmaltz told the Tribune the program mails books to children from birth through their fifth birthday.

The children receive the books free of charge.

Schmaltz explained the program: “(The children) get one book a month, to their name, to their door, and then of course, the minute they get this book in the mailbox, they run to mommy, and they say, ‘Mommy, please read this!'”

“The books are all picked by Dolly Parton, who started the whole thing in Sevier County (Tennessee), because her county was one of the poorest counties in America,” Schmaltz added.

“When she grew up, she had a Bible, and I think one other book,” Schmaltz recalled. “And her parents and grandparents never read to her. And she realized people couldn’t read. So, she gave back in her county.”

According to the Imagination Library’s website, the nonprofit sends more than one million books per month to children throughout the world.

A press release written by the Rugby Imagination Library affiliate said the organization has affiliates in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

“Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends more than one million books per month around the world, inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More,” the statement read.

“If you look up her website, it just blows your mind what she’s done,” Schmaltz noted. “It’s so unbelievable what her vision was, and her humbleness is unbelievable.”

Schmaltz said the joy of reading to children might sometimes be lost in today’s hectic pace.

“As people get less connected, we want more people out there talking about what’s available here,” she said of the library.

Schmaltz said parents, grandparents and others who know young children who would enjoy receiving a book a month at no cost may visit www.imaginationlibrary.com.

“It takes less than three minutes (to sign up online for books),” Schmaltz said. “I’m very non-techie, and I register a child in less than two minutes. I put my phone number on every book; people can just call, too.”

Additionally, Peggy Harmel, who helps to register families for the program may be called at 776-5201. Schmaltz said she is available to answer questions at 776-6023.

Those wishing to donate money to the program may visit the website or contact Schmaltz or Harmel as well.

Schmaltz described the books as high-quality favorites with titles such as, “The Little Engine That Could” and “Llama Llama, Red Pajamas”.

“This is kind of exciting,” she continued.

“If you think of a child who gets that book – they’re going to say, ‘Read to me.’ “

Smiling, Schmaltz added, “How much easier is it to say ‘yes’ to ‘read to me’ than to say ‘yes’ to a snack?”

“Think about the power there is in these books,” she continued. “The books are in their name; they’re in their house; and the other thing that’s really neat? They don’t have to say, ‘That’s my sister’s book.’ There’s three children in the house, and they may get the same books, but each one has their own book.”

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