Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Rutland Free Library joins Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Inspiring a love of learning by gifting books to young children free of charge

RUTLAND—Beginning immediately, children birth to age five living in Rutland City, Rutland Town, Mendon, Tinmouth and Ira can receive a free specially chosen book monthly, thanks to a new collaboration between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Rutland Free Library.

“We’re so excited to offer this program to local families!” said Joan Gamble, strategic change consultant and the local champion for the program. “At the start of the year, I read about Brandon offering this program and thought we should bring the program to Rutland. After confirming with local childhood education experts that there is a critical unmet need in the community, I approached the Rutland Free Library to see if they’d be interested in being the primary partner to implement the program.”

Randal Smathers, the director of Rutland Free Library said, “It was a no-brainer. I had heard of the program over the years and wanted to offer it but we didn’t have the funding. When Joan approached us saying she’d volunteer to coordinate the launch of the program and the related outreach and fundraising, I was thrilled.”

“If you have a child under 5, I encourage you to sign them up so they can start receiving free age-appropriate books addressed to them each month,” said Catherine Picon, local parent and Rutland Free Library board member. “My family personally benefitted from the program when we lived in Idaho and Texas. Our bookshelves still have the books my kids received and remind me of the excitement that filled our home each month as they opened the mailbox to find a new one just for them! I know that as books start flooding homes in our community, hearts will be warmed, minds will be engaged and dreams will begin.”

The Rutland Free Library is now in the process of getting the word out to families in the five towns, and will be introducing the program at the Rutland Town, Mendon, Tinmouth, and Ira town meetings.

Volunteers are reaching out to all organizations that interact with families, including the RRMC birthing center, local pediatricians, the Rutland County Parent Child Center, etc. “We’re particularly targeting at-risk children, but would like all families to sign up their young children to create a shared experience across all socio-economic backgrounds,” said Gamble.

Families in the five towns can register online at or paper registration forms are available at

For more information about the local Imagination Library program launch, or to support the program, contact Joan Gamble at [email protected]

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