Local children benefit from international book distribution

Madalynn Wilson
Young readers 10-month-old Kiptyn (left) and three-year-old Lennyn (right) Klein pose with some of the books they've gotten from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

A local bank has been helping area children learn to read though an international book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland. In Pratt County, 97 children are currently signed up with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, two of them being three-year-old Lennyn and ten-month-old Kiptyn Klein. Their mom, Justine Klein, signed them up for the program only a week after they were born.
Klein discovered the program when she worked for the First National Bank, which turned into Legacy Bank in September 2018. The program gifts enrolled children with a book every month until they age out.
“I love reading books from my childhood to my kids and wanted each of them to have their own little library to keep with them through the years,” Klein said, “I love that the books they receive through the program go along with their age as they grow.”
The First National Bank became an affiliate with the Dolly Parton Book Fund in 1999, just four years after the program launched in Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee. When Legacy Bank took over in September of 2018, they continued the program. Since starting 20 years ago, the bank has graduated about 800 children.
“You can register anytime from birth to age five and we have a registration form here at the bank you can fill out,” said Amanda Meiklejohn, Legacy Bank financial advisor.
Those with children who would like to join may go to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library website (imaginationlibrary.com) and print out the form to fill out and give to Meiklejohn, at the bank, who will mail it in for the program. There are no specific requirements or limit to how many children can register in Pratt County. Addresses can be updated when members move so they will continue to receive books until age five.
“We absolutely love it and would most definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone who can get their hands on it,” Klein said.