A gift every month from Dolly Parton for Cowra kids

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, and Central West Libraries Manager, Roslyn Cousins were joined by Councillors, Cowra Family and Childcare Nurses, Cowra Library staff and volunteers to celebrate the official launch of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program in Cowra.
Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, and Central West Libraries Manager, Roslyn Cousins were joined by Councillors, Cowra Family and Childcare Nurses, Cowra Library staff and volunteers to celebrate the official launch of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program in Cowra.

Cowra Council is delighted to announce the launch of an innovative book gifting project, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program. The program is set to improve the literacy levels of young children in the Cowra Shire.

Every newborn child in the Cowra Shire Local Government Area, registered in the program, will receive a free age-appropriate book every month through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library from birth to the age of five.

"This is a project which deserves widespread support from across the community because it will deliver positive outcomes at individual, family and community levels,' said Cowra Mayor, Cr Bill West said.

Initiated by Dolly Parton over 20-years ago, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has seen over 160 million books delivered to children in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Designed to connect parents and children through a love of reading, the library project has a proven track record of improving literacy rates and launching children on a lifelong journey of reading, learning and discovery.

Launched in NSW in January 2022, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is partnering with the NSW Government to enrich children's early literacy skills under the $8 million program as part of the Brighter Beginnings initiative.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that is it wonderful to see the Cowra Shire along with 24 other local government areas, including Junee, getting involved in the program in partnership with the NSW Government.

"Every child deserves a bright start in life and I strongly encourage all eligible families in the Cowra Shire to take advantage of this innovative program and enrol today," Ms Cooke said.

"Books are hugely beneficial to young children in a number of ways. They support the development of their foundational literacy skills whilst also educating, and allowing their creative and imaginative sides to shine through.

So far this program has gifted more than 700 books to children, with another 500 books going out in the coming weeks. More than 1,200 children are currently enrolled in the program," Ms Cooke added.

All children born in 2022 and living within the Cowra Shire LGA will be eligible to access the program, irrespective of where they are born. Parents and carers will only have to complete a short registration form online at imaginationlibrary.com/au/affiliate/BBCOWRA/, or pick up a form from the Cowra Library or the Child and Family Health Nurses at Cowra Hospital.

The charity organisation, United Way Australia will work with Cowra Library and Cowra Council to administer the project.

For more information about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library or for further enquiries contact Cowra Library at cowra@cwl.nsw.gov.au or call 02 6340 2180.

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