Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County United Way will be hosting a special celebration of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library’s 250,000th book this Saturday at the Missoula Public Library.

KGVO News spoke with Jacinda Morigeau, Communication Manager with Missoula County about the event.

The Program Sends Books to Kids from Birth to Age Five

“We're going to get together with some of our participants and their families,” said Morigeau. “So the little young readers and their parents, they're going to join us this Saturday. We're going to do some crafts, mainly making some bookmarks that they can take home. We're going to have a few Dolly (Parton) lookalikes who will come join us and read their favorite children's book, and then we're also going to screen a little bit of the documentary, ‘The Library that Dolly Built’, so it's just going to be a little bit of everything.”

Reading a Book is so Much Better than Staring at a Screen

Morigeau focused on the importance of getting the very young started reading as soon as possible, with books, especially for them.

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“All books are centered and we’re just trying to recognize that the young readers are getting their books,” she said. “We just want to celebrate Dolly Parton and everything that she's been able to do for literacy in America and especially in our local two counties, Missoula and Mineral counties.”

Morigeau said the number of children who have participated in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program is impressive.

“We have almost 5,000 current students, and then we have about the same amount of graduates, and that's what Dolly Parton uses as her term for when a child turns five, and the last book they get is, ‘I'm going to kindergarten’, and it’s so cute. It's just their send-off from birth to five. And they're just getting ready to launch themselves into their new education career.”

For parents or grandparents who want to sign up their children or grandchildren in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, Morigeau provided the following information.

The Books are Addressed to the Child so They are Getting Mail just for Them

“On our United Way website, there's a spot under our education initiative where you can sign up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library,” she said. “It's based on your address. So parents will go in there put in their address and their contact information and they'll be able to get their kiddo signed up. It's one book every month and something special that Dolly wanted to make sure of is that the book is actually addressed to the child so that as they grow and then once they start recognizing their name, they see that that piece of mail that book that gift from Dolly is especially for them.”

The celebration of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library’s 250,000th book will be this Saturday, December 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. She began the project in 2015.

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