Many thanks to Claire Parrish of the Rice Lake Public Library for writing this guest blog post!
Last fall, RLPL was approached by the Rice Lake School District about starting the Imagination Library program here in Rice Lake. The representative from the district had the idea that since the district, RLPL, and Lakeview Medical Center were already working on Reach Out and Read, now would be a great time to get off the ground with Imagination Library. We thought, why not?! Combining our efforts for both projects has created a strong community partnership between three staples in our community and has put more books into the hands of young kiddos, so it’s really been a win-win for everyone involved.
If you’re unfamiliar with the two programs, Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit where medical providers give out books at wellness visits from infancy to when the child starts school. The trained doctors also encourage families to read aloud every day and provide additional early literacy tips to caregivers. In Rice Lake, we are going a step further by providing any siblings who are older than five free books at those wellness visits and setting up a little free library in the waiting room at the clinic.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that sends books every MONTH to a child from birth to five, no matter the family’s financial background. Family’s simply need to register their child, if the program is available in their area, and books will start arriving in about 8 weeks. The financial side of things is covered by a local agency and parents never have to worry about cost. The books are selected by Imagination Library staff, and are age appropriate and high quality books. Dolly Parton is my hero!