29 May 2024

Local community steps up to secure support for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program

Much-loved community initiative, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, is set to continue providing free access to books for children across the Narrabri region after securing funding support from the local community and businesses, including Whitehaven Coal.

The free book gifting program is dedicated to inspiring children to love reading from a young age. Each month, enrolled children from birth to age five receive a high-quality, age-appropriate book in the mail, free of charge. Since its inception in Narrabri in 2022, 271 children in the Shire have benefited from the program.

“Early literacy lays the foundation for lifelong success; that’s why we champion initiatives like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,” said Darren Swain, Whitehaven’s General Manager Community Engagement.

“This early exposure helps develop crucial language skills, sparks curiosity, and sets the stage for a lifetime of educational achievement.”

The Narrabri program initially received funding from the NSW Government; however, recently, the Narrabri Shire Council announced that funding for new enrolments would cease from 1 July 2024, prompting a swift response from local authorities to ensure the program’s ongoing sustainability.

Council began discussions with the community and local businesses in early March 2024 and within just a month, the necessary funds had been secured for the next fiscal year.

Council expressed its gratitude and enthusiasm for the overwhelming support, emphasising the importance of the program to the local community.

“This is a huge result as this program affects the lives of our youth, ensuring they have the best opportunities possible,” said a Council spokesperson.

“It is so great to see community and businesses supporting a project that makes a tangible difference to young people’s lives. This truly is a game changer in so many ways.

“We are not just talking about education; we are talking about our future.”

The Council has declared that securing support for this program will be an ongoing effort and has called on the entire community to rally behind it.

For further information or to find out how you can help support this Library Program, contact the Narrabri Shire’s Libraries Coordinator on (02) 6799 6866

More information about Narrabri Shire’s involvement with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library can be found here.

Whitehaven’s support for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is part of the company’s commitment to delivering tangible benefits for regional communities, with a particular focus on education and health. For more information about the $4.35 million Whitehaven contributed to community causes and initiatives in FY23, check out its Community Investment Report 2023.


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