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11,000 and counting…

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Warren County an option during pandemic

Photo submitted to Times Observer Pictured is Jen Madigan, Jefferson DeFrees Family Center Daycare Director and local program coordinator for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The books shown are a sample of the books registered children receive once a month. All books are high-quality and age-appropriate.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Warren County has mailed 11,445 books since its inception.

The Library mailed its first 15 books in July 2018. Going beyond the 10,000 book milestone and reaching 36% of the eligible children of Warren County is “pretty exciting for us,” according to Melinda Johnson, Executive Director of Jefferson DeFrees Family Center. “When a dream takes off, you just don’t know how far it will go. This is an amazing opportunity for the children and families of Warren County, especially right now while the Warren County Public Libraries are closed and our options for getting actual paper books in our hands are limited.”

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book-gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they turn five, no matter a family’s income. Books are completely free to registered families residing in a Warren County zip code. Families can register online at https://imaginationlibrary.com/usa/affiliate/PAWARREN/, or by calling the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center at 723-6350.

Due to the volume of books mailed, The Dollywood Foundation is able to give a reduced rate on the book cost. The reduced book cost, combined with the cost of shipping, totals about $2.25 per book mailed.

In April, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Warren County mailed 807 books. While the books are mailed to families free of charge to them, the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center receives a monthly invoice for the books and shipping charges. The Imagination Library has been made possible by community donor support through individuals, foundations, and service organizations.

“We are always welcoming new donors and support,” said Jen Madigan, program coordinator. “We have some folks that have set up monthly payments that come direct to us from their bank; $30 a month mails 12 books. That $30 gift opens up worlds of magic and wonder.

“In addition to the magic and wonder, it opens up family-bonding time,” said Madigan. “The first five years of a child’s life are some of the most important and most formative years of their life.”

Donations can be mailed to the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center at 207 Second Avenue Warren, PA 16365. Donations can also be made through the donate link on the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center website at www.jdfamilycenter.org.

If you have questions regarding the program, contact the local program coordinator, Jen Madigan, via email at jmadigan@jdfamilycenter.org or by phone at 723-6350.

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