COUNTRY legend Dolly Parton is set to help young bookworms in Melrose during the first chapter of their lives.

The US singer-songwriter and actress, who turns 78 this week, launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library many years ago.

The book-gifting programme is devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children in the US and across the world.

The superstar’s Dollywood Foundation works with local partners who help bring the Imagination Library to communities across the UK.

And each month age-appropriate books are specially wrapped and addressed to the child, and are delivered at no cost to the family, every month from birth to their fifth birthday.

Melrose Imagination Library is a brand new organisation, keen to utilise the Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation Imagination Library to gift a book to children in the area.

The project aims to fill the gap left by Live Borders' former ‘Bookbug’ sessions, which no longer operate.

The new organisation has submitted a funding bid for £2,204 to Eildon Neighbourhood Support Fund to cover the first year of expenses, with funding in future years to come from local fundraising events and other funders.

Members of Eildon Area Partnership will be recommended to approve the application when they meet on Thursday, January 25.

A report to the committee says: “The panel is supportive of this project as it is directly encouraging and improving the comprehension skills of young people.

“The project will help to fill a gap in service provision, previously covered by Live Borders’ free, weekly ‘Bookbug’ storytelling and singing sessions, which are no longer taking place, without the need to attend a library at a specific time.

“The panel notes the expertise of the volunteers involved in the Melrose Imagination Library and the initial work that has been undertaken to develop working relationships with the Dollywood Foundation and Borders Community Action.

“The panel encourages Melrose Imagination Library to link in with the community engagement and funding officer at Live Borders. The panel recommends to fund this project in full, to the value of £2,204.”