Dolly Parton makes reading more than 9 to 5 in Mile Zero

By: Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
Books for newborns and kids up to age five can be found at the Dawson Creek Public Library, delivered to homes across the South Peace through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library book gifting program.
Head Librarian Pamela Morris says the program breaks down barriers and promotes strong literacy skills, with books being sent out by mail each month.
“It’s early literacy for the kids. Some parents aren’t big readers, some parents don’t have a ton of books in the house,” said Morris, noting all parents need to do is sign their address up for the program. “This removes the barriers, it’s delivered every month to their house with their name on it.”
The Imagination Library was started a few years ago by the Sunrise Rotary Club, but has since been handed over to the Public Library.
“So many parents come through here and tell us how much they love the program, It’s a great way for kids to be exposed to books, and a great opportunity for parents to sit down to read and have that quality time.”
550 children are registered in the South Peace, with 78 of them in the rural communities Progress, Rolla, Groundbirch, Arras and Tomslake.
“It’s not just kids in city limits,” she added, noting a grant request has been sent to the Peace River Regional District.
Administration costs for the program are handled by the Dolly Parton foundation, while local communities cover the costs of the books and shipping.
It costs roughly $2,000 a month to run the program or just under $24,000 a year – with several companies stepping up to support the program. The donations will keep it funded until next March.