LOUISIANA – Through the efforts of a group of locals, young children in and around Louisiana will be able to get a free book each month through a program started by the iconic country star Dolly Parton.

The books from Parton’s Imagination Library will go to a maximum of 75 children under five years old in the 63353 zip code in the first year.

Participation in the program was made possible by a $2,000 spotlight grant from the Elks National Foundation. Mona Brown and Tina Chidster, of Elks Lodge No. 791.

So far, four families have turned in filled out forms, according to Sue Deines of Friends of the Library. She added that they expect to have about 10 filled out as of a kick-off event planned for Aug. 25.

That event will take place from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and children will go home with a book and another small gift.

A $30 a person home tour and light lunch in December will raise additional money to support the program.

The registration form can be found online by following the prompts at imaginationlibrary.com/bos/united-states/registration_files/IL_registration_form_US.pdf. Forms can also be found at the library, or by contacting Jeremy Booth, a kindergarten teacher at Louisiana Elementary.

The books will probably start going out in early 2020, Deines estimated.

The first year of the program will be funded by the Elks grant, with the possibility of additional grants going forward. Fundraising associated with the project will got to support the program into the future, Deines said.

Deines emphasized the importance of picking the right books for young children as they grow up — an art she said Imagination Library has down to a science.

“The books are phenomenal. They’re just really, really great,” Deines said.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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