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Thu, Oct. 17

Free books for Prescott children available through ‘Imagination Library’

Children flock to someone dressed as “Biscuit,” from the children’s book “Biscuit,” during the launch event for the Prescott Area Imagination Library at the Prescott Public Library Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Max Efrein/Courier)

Children flock to someone dressed as “Biscuit,” from the children’s book “Biscuit,” during the launch event for the Prescott Area Imagination Library at the Prescott Public Library Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Max Efrein/Courier)

Family Storytime was extra special on Saturday at the Prescott Public Library as it marked the launch of the Prescott Area Imagination Library.

Three years in the making, the program is a part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a nonprofit organization that assists communities throughout the country provide free monthly high-quality, age-appropriate books to children younger than 5.

Clearly excited about the new program, parents and their children first listened to Youth Services Librarian Peggy Armstrong read from two popular children’s books before following train tracks made of tape to a room where they could sign up for their monthly books.

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Children and their parents follow train tracks made of tape to a room in the Prescott Public Library where they can sign up for the Prescott Area Imagination Library Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Max Efrein/Courier)

“The first one that everyone receives is ‘The Little Engine That Could,’ hence the railroad theme today,” said Martha Baden, Prescott Library’s manager of public services.

One of the first families to register were the Froms.

“I’d heard about [the program] before, but knew it wasn’t available in this area, so I was very excited to hear it was coming here,” Kate From said. “I’m excited for my kids to go check the mail and find a book in there for them.”

The effort to bring the program to Prescott involved the assistance of multiple entities, including the Read-On Prescott Steering Committee, Friends of the Prescott Public Library and three local Rotary clubs — Sunup Rotary, Frontier Rotary and Prescott Rotary.

“We had some very passionate Rotary Club members who made it happen,” Baden said. “They secured the funding.”

Each of the clubs contributed $2,000, which was then matched by the Rotary District 5495, for a total contribution of $12,000.

That money is expected to provide a healthy start to the program, but additional money will need to be raised moving forward, Baden said.

“We hope it will be ongoing,” she said. “We especially want to grow it.”

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Prescott Library Youth Services Librarian Peggy Armstrong hosts an activity for children and their parents during Family Storytime at the Prescott Public Library Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Max Efrein/Courier)

At the moment, the program is available only to children with Prescott ZIP codes of 86301, 86303 and 86305. Based on Prescott’s most recent U.S. Census figures, Baden said that currently amounts to about 1,750 children.

To register for the program, one may do so online at https://imaginationlibrary.com/usa/affiliate/AZPRESCOTT or in person at the library, 215 E. Goodwin St., Prescott.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the program can either contact Toni Johnson at 928-777-1504 or submit an online donation at www.prescottlibrary.info/pail.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at mefrein@prescottaz.com or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105.

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