It is a licensed 501 ©(3) non-profit, but it began as an email.

The originator of the email is Jon Ireland, and he currently lives in Virginia in the Washington, D.C. area.

The email was to his niece Erica Spencer and another niece Rachel Jones. In the email, Jon explained that he had started the nonprofit called My First Bookshelf, and he wanted it to target children in Penobscot County, Maine, because that is where he grew up.

WQCB Brewer Maine logo
Get our free mobile app

Both nieces were asked to become board members and co-founders. Both nieces are teachers, and both said the same thing.

Yes, of course.

Uncle Jon has supported both nieces’ classrooms in many ways over the years.

Last week, the website for My First Bookshelf went live. Click to view the promotional video.

And almost right away, they had their first donations start to come in.

My First Bookshelf has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Dolly’s organization estimates that most groups have about 400 children sign up in the first year.

My First Bookshelf has signed up about 1,000 children and they are just getting started. They are trying to reach families so they are aware of the program and can sign up their children. And they are fundraising because Imagination mails the books, but My First Bookshelf pays for the books.

Getty Images
Getty Images

How does it work?

Parents simply sign their children aged 0 to 5 up online and within 8 to 10 weeks they will begin receiving free, high quality children’s books in the mail.

There are two goals.

To sign up as many children as possible in Penobscot County because many families struggle to provide books for their children.

And also, to raise funds to pay for those books.

If you hadn’t heard of My First Bookshelf before, now you have.

Want to sign up for your 0-5 year old? Here's the link.

And if you can assist with a financial donation, you can do that here.

Price of Dr. Seuss Books Through Roof Amid Controversy
Getty Images

Any adult who reads for information and entertainment will most likely have great memories of their parents reading to them as toddlers. That's where that love for reading started. Let’s keep that going forward.

LOOK: Baby boomer baby names that have gone out of style

Using info from the Social Security Administration's baby name database, Stacker compiled a list of baby boomer baby names that have declined in popularity.

More From WQCB Brewer Maine