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The Imagination Library gets grant to expand to all of Lane County

The Potter family reading a book from the Imagination Library.
Madison Wilson
Eugene Public Library Foundation
The Potter family reading a book from the Imagination Library.

In the New Year, the Imagination Library created by Dolly Parton will expand to serve all of Lane County.

The Imagination Library sends free books to children up to 5-years-old to help with early literacy. Reed Davaz McGowan is Executive Director of the Eugene Public Library Foundation, which administers the program.

“During Covid times it’s been such a challenge—how do you engage in programming?” Davaz McGowan asked. “Or how do you get resources? And this is one that really does deliver directly to homes each month and since it’s free, there’s a very low obstacle to participation.”

A Eugene child enjoying her book.
Madison Wilson
Eugene Public Library Foundation
Lena enjoying her book.

The Northwest Community Credit Union supported this expansion with a $250 thousand contribution over 5 years.

Davaz McGowan said there are many affiliates covering areas of Lane County (such as the McKenzie Education Foundation, Lowell/Fall Creek Education Foundation, Springfield Young Readers, Eugene Public Library Foundation, and United Way). This grant will enable the program to reach areas in the county that are currently unserved.

“The children that have participated really do have an early boost on early childhood literacy development and kindergarten preparedness,” Davaz McGowan said. “One of the things that the American Medical Association suggests is that 15 minutes a day of reading can have a really tremendous impact.”

While the books come from Dollywood Foundation in Tennessee, local donors fund each program.

Cost of the program is $25.00/year per child for free monthly books or $125 for the full 5 years.

Children are eligible from birth to their 5th birthday to participate.

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.