Bredesen Promotes Imagination Library Week in Tennessee

Thursday, September 17, 2009 | 11:53 am

Program Celebrates 57 Percent Enrollment; Dollar General Stores Assist with Registration Events

NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen is urging communities across the state to celebrate the benefits of books for young children during the fourth annual Imagination Library Week in Tennessee. Bredesen proclaimed Sept. 13-19 as Imagination Library Week, which is full of events aimed at boosting enrollment and community investment across the state.
 
“Now that almost 60 percent of all eligible children in Tennessee is registered in this important pre-kindergarten literacy program, I recognize there are still many more families with young children left to reach," said Gov. Bredesen. "Imagination Library Week is an opportunity to generate greater awareness for the program, and the importance of reading to children regularly as preparation for formal education. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of volunteers in all 95 counties, strong partners like public libraries, and the generosity of our donors, we are working toward instilling a love of books and reading –at the earliest possible age– in all Tennessee children."
 
This year, Imagination Library Week is brought to you by the generous support of Dollar General Corp., a statewide sponsor of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn., with a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education initiatives. Tennessee’s Dollar General locations will support county Imagination Libraries during the celebration week by: allowing volunteers to man informational tables at stores, encouraging customers with young children to enroll; and stocking enrollment brochures in key areas of visibility inside stores. Tennessee is home to over 400 Dollar General retail locations in all 95 counties. 
 
From sign-up drives at public libraries and Dollar General stores, to fall fests, stroller-thons and golf outings, volunteers in nearly every Tennessee county have organized local activities for Imagination Library Week 2009. 
 
Created in 1996 by Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate, high-quality book every single month to registered children from birth until age five – at no cost to the family and regardless of income. A blue-ribbon committee of early childhood education experts selects the books for the Imagination Library, which includes such beloved classics as The Little Engine That Could®, The Snowy Day, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!
 
“We’ve all worked together to make something really special happen here in Tennessee,” said Dolly Parton. “It’s still the only state where every single child has an opportunity to participate in the Imagination Library. The people who help with this program are really the ones who should get the honor. There’s a lot of great people out there working, and the Governor and I just want to thank them for helping to make this all possible.”
 
The cost of delivering 12 hardback books to one child is $28 annually, split evenly between each county’s non-profit sponsoring organization and a state budgetary allocation administered by the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation®. Meaning, Imagination Library county sponsoring organizations must raise $14 per child, per year.
 
Any child in Tennessee under age five can be registered for the Imagination Library. Fifty-seven percent of the state’s total eligible population –more than 212,000 children– is currently registered in the program and received a free book in September. A core mission of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is to enroll any and all eligible children in the program. As public awareness for the Imagination Library continues to build, the Foundation assists dedicated volunteers with fundraising efforts to cover half the cost of monthly book orders.
 
To learn more about the Imagination Library program in your county, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org or call toll-free, 1-877-99-BOOKS.