“Stillwater area children will have free books delivered to their doorsteps every month thanks to three Minnesota sisters.
Laurann Kirschner, Katie Bang and Nickie Ferguson have created Bridge to Books that they hope will boost child literacy. The program has enrolled more than 300 families, and expects thousands more.
The idea comes from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The famed singer launched a books for children program in 1995, in efforts to benefit children in East Tennessee. It has since expanded globally and has gifted more than 161 million free books as of June 30.
Kirschner was studying in Nashville when she heard about the program. After she moved back to Minnesota, Kirschner tried to sign up her nephews but discovered that it wasn’t available here.
She recruited her two older sisters and they started the nonprofit Bridge to Books. Their goal was to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the Stillwater area.
“We were raised knowing that if we wanted to see some type of change that maybe with a little courage and a lot of teamwork you can make it happen,” Kirschner said.
“We were fortunate enough to grow up with books in our home and I have memories of being read to,” Bang said.
HOW DOES IT WORK
The Bridge to Books program will serve families in the Stillwater school district. It is geared for children up to age 5.
Parents can simply go to the Bridge to Books website to enroll. There is no charge.
The organization will then send out one book per month for enrolled children without asking questions and free of charge as long as they are within the school district.
The books are chosen by a panel of childhood literacy experts. Past books have included “The Little Engine That Could” and “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.”
“I appreciate how careful and intentional the Imagination Library is when they select the books; it’s really remarkable,” Bang said….”