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Imagination Library inspires a lifetime of learning

Imagination Library inspires a lifetime of learning

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 5:00 pm

In 2004, the non-partisan, not-for-profit Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation® (GBBF) was created to serve as a catalyst and tangible resource to Tennesseans establishing and sustaining county Imagination Libraries.
Initially charged with conducting the Imagination Library statewide rollout, raising statewide funds, and training volunteers, Foundation staff now serve Imagination Library organizers by providing fundraising, public relations, and other support.
Since the Foundation’s launch, Tennessee’s Imagination Library has grown by leaps and bounds:
* Tennessee’s statewide Imagination Library provides a new, age-appropriate, high-quality book every month to registered children from birth to age five – at no cost to the family, regardless of income.  More than 14 million Imagination Library books have been delivered to Tennessee children since October 2004.
* Currently, nearly 51 percent of Tennessee children throughout all 95 counties are enrolled in the program.
* All of Tennessee’s 407,800 children under age five now have access to the Imagination Library.
* Nearly 261,300 Tennessee five-year-olds have already “graduated” from the Imagination Library since 2004.
Dolly Parton created the Imagination Library  in 1996 for the children in her home town of Sevierville, Tenn. The program provides a new, age-appropriate, high-quality book every month to children from birth to age five at no cost to the family, regardless of income.
* The cost of providing the program to Tennessee’s children is $24 per child, per year. This cost is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in each county, and the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation.
* A blue ribbon committee of childhood education experts selects the books for the Imagination Library, which include such beloved classics as The Little Engine That Could®, Spot Goes to the Farm, The Snowy Day, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!
* Up to 10 bilingual Imagination Library books, included throughout the birth-to-age-five enrollment period, feature Spanish and English text on the same page.
* In many communities, hospital nurses register children for the program the very day they are born. Also, local pediatricians and family physicians offer parents of their preschool patients a “prescription to read.”
To support Tennessee’s Imagination Library, the governor of Tennessee each year asks the General Assembly’s approval of a State budgetary allocation to cover half of each county’s cost of providing books every month, based on projected increases in children registered.  As half of the cost of each county’s monthly book order is covered by the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, Tennessee counties’ Imagination Library sponsoring organizations need only raise $12 per child, per year.
The Foundation raises funds from various corporations, foundations and individuals throughout the state. These funds provide full-coverage distressed county grants and are used for special projects such as purchasing full sets of Imagination Library books for each of the State’s Voluntary Pre-K for all classrooms and local Head Start centers.
To enroll your child in the free program or to learn more about the Imagination Library, call your local library or visit the Weakley County Reading Railroad on its Facebook page.
For a registration form, visit www.ceweldonlibrary.org/childrens_files/registration.pdf or call the C.E. Weldon Public Library in Martin at 587-3148. Published in The WCP 8.2.12

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