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Imagination Library now operating in nine Australian communities

Child literacy program the Imagination Library, launched in 2013 as a pilot program, is now operating in nine communities around Australia.

The local version of the Imagination Library, which is run by not-for-profit group United Way Australia in partnership with Dolly Parton’s foundation Dollywood, Penguin Australia and Rotary, was first launched in Acacia Ridge in Queensland and Portland and Ballarat in Victoria. The program has now expanded to Noble Park, Doveton and Eumemmerring in Victoria; and North St Mary’s, Wyong and The Entrance in New South Wales. Penguin said in a statement this week that ‘more than 4000 age-appropriate quality books were delivered to 1350 children in disadvantaged communities’ in Australia in the first six months of the program. 

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the Imagination Library program aims to encourage reading habits in young children. Every child who signs up is sent a new book each month for the first five years of their life, with titles selected for the child’s age and developmental stage. The books are supplied by Penguin at a reduced price.

United Way Australia said in a statement this week that the program can be replicated by any entity that can raise the funds required. CEO Doug Taylor said: ‘We’re hoping that very quickly we get to our target of 10,000 children in the program and we’re inviting the Australian community to work with us and the Imagination Library itself.’

Dolly Parton spoke about the Imagination Library at a press conference before the first Melbourne show of her Australian tour on 11 February. ‘We’ve been working for quite a while [on the program]. Today we are launching the Imagination Library all over Australia,’ said Parton.

Parton said she started the program in 1996 in honour of her father. ‘My own father couldn’t read and write. He was the smartest person I’ve ever known [and] was so proud of me when I started the program, [but] he didn’t live long enough to see the Imagination Library do so well,’ said Parton.

For more information about the Imagination Library, click here.



Category: Local news