Imagination Library: don’t miss out on registering your child for free books

Christine Duggleby reads to kids

Christine Duggleby reads an Imagination Library book to daughter Ellorie and son Conall at the Colwood Activity Centre.

Since its start in August 2010, military families at CFB Esquimalt have signed up 329 newborns for the MFRC’s Imagination Library.  

PO1 Jeremy Duggleby and his wife Christine’s son Conall has received over two dozen books from this program through the first two years of his life.

“We know that reading is important,” says Christine, who describes her family as already having a love for reading. “A book is a gateway to imagination.”

Conall is not the only child enjoying the books in the Duggleby house. His four-year-old sister Ellorie enjoys the monthly treat as well, often paraphrasing the stories to her younger sibling.  

“My kids love feeling they are getting something special in the mail each month,” says Christine. “For them to have a new book is fantastic. It gives them a glimpse into a new world. It opens them to new authors and stories we might not gravitate towards.”

She believes the books available through the Imagination Library act as “springboards” for growth in each of her children. She says it “helps facilitate dialogue” with their children and aids in their problem solving. It also spurs their curiosity. When they read the children a story of how Spot went to the library, they want to go to the library and check out more books featuring Spot.    

Andrea Callaghan also sees the benefits of the program for her family.

“We love the Imagination Library,” she says. “My oldest daughter associates receiving a book in the mail to reading with her father. This is great when he is home, but when he is away she stacks the books and looks forward to reading them with him when he gets back. She loves it.”

“I have to admit that receiving the books helps keep me in line when it comes to reading to the girls,” says Callaghan. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of the importance of reading to your kids – the books are a great reminder.”

The Imagination Library provides children a free, high-quality age-appropriate book each month from birth to the age of five.  

“It is important to read regularly with small children to help with their development,” says Linda Scott, program manager at the MFRC. “It’s a fantastic family activity. The kids learn new skills and it sets them up for success in dealing with the stresses of the military lifestyle.”  

Families with babies born to serving regular force members and class B/C reservists at CFB Esquimalt are eligible to register.  Families can register after the baby is born by showing military identification and the baby’s health card or birth certificate at the Esquimalt MFRC of babies born in 2013 have until Jan. 31, 2014, to register.

An initial donation from the “The Homecoming” statue committee in 2010 made this program possible. Future donations ensure that the program can continue to run in future years.   

If you are interested in supporting programs like the Imagination Library, please call the MFRC at 250-363-2640 or donate online at

-Jon Chabun, MFRC

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