Seward Rotary and Seward Kiwanis sponsor Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Seward
Move over area libraries, there is a new library in the area and it is a fun one, as you never have to return the books! The national Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program for Seward County officially held their “Launch Party” on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at the Seward Memorial Library Upstairs meeting room.  The event was co-sponsored by the official sponsors of the local, area program-The Seward Rotary Club and the Seward Kiwanis Club. The event, like the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, was free and open to all. Families were encouraged to attend and sign their young children-ages 0-5, who are not in school. There were refreshments, door prize raffles and activities for the children.  The door prizes included signed children’s books by Ted Koozer and Dolly Parton’s very own line of cake mixes! 
At the event, Project Co-Chair-Dr. Dylan Tuet of the Seward Kiwanis welcomed those in attendance and announced that even though this is the official “Kick-Off” Launce Party, there are 166 children that have signed up for the program in the last month, since it has been on line.  He also said that five of those sign-ups were not members long, as they are now “aged out of the program” since they are starting school in the fall.  Every student’s first book is “The Little Engine That Could” and then the books are based on the student’s age.
“Every child in Seward County, who qualifies-ages 0-5, will be mailed a free book each month.  The books will be selected, based on their age and there is no charge to the students.  The Seward Rotary Club, Seward Kiwanis and other groups, families and businesses have donated to pay the annual $27.00 fee per student,” said Seward Kiwanian-Dr. Dylan Teut.  “Ms Dolly Parton pays for all of the books,   and our committee funds the fees to mail the books monthly-which is still a major expense per child.”
“We are really grateful that the Seward Rotary Club and the Seward Kiwanis Club stepped up and took on this major commitment, promoting child literacy in the Seward Community,” commented former Senator and Rotarian Mark Kolterman.  Every child deserves to have their own collection of books, as it hopefully instills a love for reading with that child. We are anxious to see this program grow and very pleased with the level of participation right from when the website opened for registration.”
In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA.  Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families.  The new program gave each child a specially selected book each month.  By mailing high quality, age appropriate books directly to their homes, Dolly wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create.  Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income. 
“This is a major funding effort for both of our local service clubs, but we have observed the success in other areas of the US and know it will only be a benefit to our area-making our students stronger,” commented Rotarian Ken Schmieding-who also serves as a local Seward County Commissioner.  “Our local Seward Rotary Club is honored to be a major sponsor in this program.  Anytime you can share a new book with a child, it is a win situation and we will be sharing one book a month with each child that signs up for the program and lives in Seward County!”
“As a joint effort of the Seward Rotary Club and the Seward Kiwanis Club on April 17th, 2024, the program launched on line and within a week, over 100 children, ages 0-5 were registered and will begin receiving a free book each month- and it is now at 166 students.  We have the potential to serve over 1000 children annually but we will just need to wait and see for the response.   You can visit to learn more and to sign up your children that live in Seward County –ages 0-5 who are not in school. There are also sign-up forms on the counter in the Seward Memorial Library,” commented Seward Rotary President Ben Spirk.
“Besides the obvious benefits of a child with a new book that is their own, it is essential to recognize these books will help play a crucial role in elevating the literacy rates within our community, preparing children for school and reducing the need for remediation,” noted Seward Rotarian Clark Kolterman.  “It will help increase graduation rates and help build a nurtured and more skilled workforce in the future.  There are significant positive effects on health and parent-child relationships, because of reading and the availability of books.  This is a wonderful program and I am thrilled we are involved and support it.  I understand Lancaster County just signed up for the program too!  That is like “Sister Libraries!” 
“Dollywood Foundation pays for each book and donations from the Seward Rotary, Seward Kiwanis and other donors from Seward County cove the shipping expenses ($2.20 per month per child).  For $27.00, you can fund the shipping and expenses for one child for a year,” commented Kiwanian C.J. Novak.  “Five children will receive a year’s worth of books for $135.00 and ten children will be getting a book a month for the donation of $270.00.  We certainly hope that other groups and individuals step up and help with this literacy effort.”
“This program, as many know, does not just happen. It involves much planning and organization and funding.  While the Rotary and Kiwanis are kicking off the program, they are also turning to the community to assist in the effort,” noted Gerry Meyer, a member of the Seward Kiwanis Club.  “Please consider a donation, which is really an investment in our youth. The gift can be made on line or to either service club, the Rotary Club or Kiwanis Club.  Our youth are certainly worth the donation request and by donating, even more become involved in child literacy.  Please consider a gift to the program today.” 
For more information on the local program contact Dr. Dylan Teut of Seward Kiwanis at or Clark Kolterman of Seward Rotary at  Visit to learn more about the program and register online.  Donations are also being accepted and can sent to or set up a recurring donation.  Be sure to indicate you want the donation to go to the Seward County Imagination affiliate Seward County Nebraska Affiliate Chapter.