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10 million free books delivered to children

10 million free books delivered to children
Nashville – The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are celebrating a significant milestone: more than 10 million free books have been delivered to Tennessee children in all 95 counties since the program began in 2004, developing their vocabulary, school readiness and a love of learning.
The milestone comes on the heels of the announcement that Tennessee is one of just two states awarded funding in the first round of President Obama’s Race to the Top competition, recognizing our state’s forward thinking in education reform and changing the way the nation views Tennessee’s commitment to education. 
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a part of that commitment, giving all Tennessee children access to free books and encouraging a lifetime of learning.
“Over the past seven years, we’ve focused on those things we can do to best prepare our children for success in the classroom, including the availability of pre-K and expanding the Imagination Library across all 95 counties to instill in children a love of reading right from the start,” said Governor Phil Bredesen.
Parton, who first created the program says, “I am one of the biggest dreamers that has ever lived, but I can honestly say I never dreamed that we would give 10 million books to Tennessee’s children .. ”
Created in 1996 as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate, high-quality book every month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to the family, regardless of income. Just $24 annually provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child. This cost is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in every Tennessee county, and a state budgetary allocation administered by the GBBF. Currently, more than 214,000 Tennessee children under the age of five (57 percent) in all 95 counties are receiving an age appropriate, high quality book delivered each month to their home. More than 170,000 children have graduated from the program since 2004.
The books are selected from a blue ribbon panel each year to insure quality and age appropriateness for all ages including The Little Engine that Could, Spot Goes to the Farm, The Snowy Day, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!.
The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation® was established in 2004 by Governor Bredesen and currently serves Imagination Library organizers in all 95 counties of Tennessee by providing fund-raising, public relations, and other support. To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-99-BOOKS.
WCP 6.22.10