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- Imagination Library
What is Imagination Library?
In 1996, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort to benefit the children of her home county in east Tennessee. Dolly wanted to foster a love of reading among her county's preschool children and their families. She wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she wanted to insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family's income.
To achieve these goals, Dolly decided to mail a brand new, age appropriate book each month to every child under 5 in Sevier County. With the arrival of every child's first book, the classic The Little Engine That Could, every child could now experience the joy of finding their very own book in their mail box. These moments continue each month until the child turns 5, and in their very last month in the program they receive Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come.
At the end of 2010, there were 1,300 communities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom offering the Imagination Library. Approximately 7.1 million books were mailed to preschool children in 2010.
Heart of Missouri United Way, through a special partnership with Daniel Boone Regional Library initiated the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in Columbia in May 2008. In Columbia, 3,400 children, or 80% of the eligible children participate in the Imagination Library Program.
Is it effective?
Countless studies document the relationship between early literacy and school performance. By providing the children of our community with twelve quality, age-appropriate books each year, we seek to:
- increase children's access to books,
- encourage parents to read more often to their children,
- support children in the development of a love for reading, and
- better prepare children to begin school.
Imagination Library Really Works!
A recent study of Imagination Library graduates in South Carolina reveals that 81.3% of parents read to their children more frequently, 95.9% feel their children's love of reading is enhanced, 59.1% of parents feel their children would have access to fewer books without the program, and 93.3% feel their children are better prepared for school because of Imagination Library! (United Way of the Piedmont, SC).
Columbia's Imagination Library is open to all children in Columbia born in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012.
If your child was born at Boone Hospital Center or Women's & Children's Hospital in Columbia you will more than likely have received the first Imagination Library book, The Little Engine That Could, when you left the hospital, along with the enrollment form.
If your child meets the birth year requirements and was not born in Columbia, or you did not receive an enrollment form from the hospital, please complete the form online or download the file and return it when completed.
Once you register your child for the Imagination Library, whether by mail or online, it will take up to eight weeks for their books to begin arriving. The age appropriate titles are selected by a blue ribbon panel of experts and offer outstanding themes and stories for your child. View the book themes.
We need your support...
Ideally, we would like to reach 100% of our children. We cannot make significant steps toward that goal without your help! "Imagination Library was designed to help children dream more, learn more, care more and be more, and it is really working," says Dolly Parton. Just $30 is needed to sponsor one child for one year. With your support, we can help every young child find the spark of their own imagination through reading books.
Donate to Imagination Library or Print Donation Form
Register Your Child with Heart of Missouri United Way's Imagination Library
Change of Address Form
Visit Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Homepage