Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

August 7, 2012

Imagination Library looking for children, supporters

CROSSVILLE — In 1996 the Dolly Parton Foundation started the Imagination Library for children in her native Sevier County, Tennessee. Her vision was to foster a love of reading among preschool children and their families. She wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create.

In May 2005, Cumberland County became the 56th county in Tennessee to adopt the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Administered through the Cumberland County Art Circle Public Library, the Imagination Library provides one free, age appropriate book each month to Cumberland County children from birth through the age of five. This program for preschool children has proven to be such a valuable tool in promoting literacy that the state of Tennessee created the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation to provide support in establishing an Imagination Library in every county of the state. The state pays 50 percent of the cost of the Cumberland County Imagination Library and the remaining cost of the program is provided by the local community.

As Cumberland County Imagination Library enters its seventh year, volunteers are hopeful that the community will continue to embrace Dolly Parton’s vision and support our efforts to register more kids in the program and raise funds to support the program. The total cost of Cumberland County Imagination Library is only $30 per child, per year, which includes 12 books, postage, shipping and handling. There are no administrative or overhead costs. According to the Children’s Literacy Initiative, 85 percent of juveniles who appear in court and 75 percent of unemployed adults are illiterate. Children who are exposed to books and reading during their preschool years enter kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of approximately 20,000 words versus 3,000 words for those who don’t have this exposure.

The Cumberland County Imagination Library will be sharing information on the program at the Fairfield Glade Village Green Mall, 126 Stonehenge Drive, Aug. 16-18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. The public is encouraged to stop by, learn about the program and consider choosing to contribute to this worthy and successful program. 

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