Drumheller Public Library will celebrate its centennial in 2023 and is fundraising to initiate a local program of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as part of this celebration.
Country music legend Dolly Parton started the Imagination Library in 1995 to support early literacy for children between the ages of birth and five years; a Canadian branch launched in 2006.
“We’ve been tossing around ideas for a few years now, but I proposed last year that bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Drumheller would be a great fit with the centennial,” Director of Library Services Emily Hollingshead told the Mail.
She first learned about the Imagination Library while completing her practicum at the Wood Buffalo Regional Library in Fort McMurray, and she says it has only been in the last several years that municipal libraries have gotten on board with the program.
Currently, many of the Imagination Library programs offered in Alberta are run by organizations such as local Rotary Clubs and other community associations.
Ms. Hollingshead says the Town of Drumheller Library Board and the Drumheller Library Special Projects Committee were both very enthusiastic and excited about the program when it was presented, though both had several questions.
Although there is no cost to parents to sign their children up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, there is a cost to the organization initiating the program.
Based on data from the 2021 Census, which was recently made available, the library has set a fundraising goal of $20,000, which equates to about $3.80 per book, per child; while the fundraising for the Drumheller program is still in its infancy, the library has already begun receiving donations.
“The society just told us this week that they’re prepared to commit $1,000 per year for the five years we’re hoping to run this,” Ms. Hollingshead says.
This commitment is on top of some $2,000 that has already been raised.
With other community organizations fundraising for various causes, Ms. Hollingshead shares the library has partnered with the Midland Community Hall Association for an upcoming silent auction to help support both fundraisers without straining the pockets of local residents and businesses looking to support these causes.
To start, the program will be limited to children living within the Drumheller Valley and, depending on its success, Ms. Hollingshead says the library would potentially be interested in expanding the program to children living in the surrounding rural communities in the future.
She is hopeful they can reach the fundraising goal in time for books to start arriving in January 2023.
Parents and guardians can reach out to the Drumheller Public Library for more information, and Ms. Hollingshead adds a sign-up sheet will be made available to better determine local interest in the program.
Visit https://imaginationlibrary.com/ca/ for more information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail