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Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Helps Area Children Recieve Free Books


Mary Richardson, chair of the Grove Rotary Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library committee, presented a progress report on the Delaware County program during a Rotary meeting Wednesday, March 1. She reported that more than 420 children under age five in the county have been registered so far to receive a free book each month through the program. Richardson urged parents or guardians of children up to five years old to register on-line or by completing a form available at local public libraries in the county.

More than 420 children under five years old have been registered so far in Delaware County to receive a free book each month through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in partnership with the Grove Rotary Club.  The free books are offered to all children under five in the county, regardless of family income.

Mary Richardson, chair of the Grove Rotary Imagination Library committee, announced the latest numbers in a program overview at the club’s meeting on Wednesday, March 1.  She said the Imagination Library can play an important role in improving childhood literacy, noting that nearly 41 percent of Oklahoma kindergarteners were determined at risk for reading difficulties at the beginning of 2019-2020.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was launched in 1995 by The Dollywood Foundation, providing free books to children in Parton’s home area of Sevier County, Tennessee.  The goal of the program is to inspire a love of books and reading among children.

Pauline Hale, chair of the Grove Rotary Education/Scholarship Committee, said, “Grove Rotarians are totally committed to education and we’re proud of our programs that foster learning.  Most importantly, we believe that learning to read and to love books very early makes a huge difference.”

Among Grove Rotary’s education programs are the scholarship program for students bound for college or vocational education, the volunteer reading program in Grove’s Early Childhood Center, the Choices Program designed to inspire students to make good choices, and various grants for school programs, among others.

 Richardson added that this program is “a great fit for us and fills a clear need in our community.  We can’t wait to get these books in the hands of children throughout Delaware County.”

Children must be registered by a parent or guardian in order to receive the books.  There is no charge to register or receive the books.  Age-appropriate books are mailed directly to the homes of registered children each month.

 Parents or guardians may register their children on-line by filling out a brief form at www.imaginationlibrary.com.  They also may register by completing a printed registration form available at various public locations, such as public libraries.  Completed paper registration forms may be mailed to Grove Rotary Club, P.O. Box 452286, Grove, OK. 74345.

Registered children will begin receiving books at their home addresses about eight to 10 weeks after their forms are received.  The first book distributed is always the children’s classic “The Little Engine That Could.”

Richardson said, “We highly recommend that parents/guardians read with their children and, most importantly, have fun together.”

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world.  The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland.  This is achieved through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and local community partners like Grove Rotary Club.

The Imagination Library mails more than two million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to enrolled children from birth to age five.  Parton envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to “Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.”

The program has been widely researched and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills.  Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  For more information, please visit imaginationlibrary.com.

Contact:  Mary Richardson, 918-786-0150

                Pauline Hale, 918-261-1539


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