Photo courtesy of imaginationlibrary.com

The Informer first brought news of the Imagination Library in October 2019. In an article found here. Now the program is up and running in Adams County.

Children newborn through 5 years old in Adams County will now have the opportunity to receive free books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

Dolly’s Parton’s Imagination Library is an international program that mails one new, age-appropriate, free book every month to children from birth until they reach the age of 5.

“If you can read, then you can teach yourself anything,” said Dean Hoskins of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

The organization was founded by Dolly Parton in the mid-1990s, Hoskins said. It originated in rural eastern Tennessee where Parton grew up in poverty. Her mother could read, but Parton’s father was illiterate. Parton founded the Imagination Library with dreams of every child from her home state getting the opportunity to learn to read.

The program was so well-received that the Dollywood Foundation found a way to make it replicable in all 50 states and in five foreign countries. The program went statewide in Tennessee in 2004, and North Carolina did the same thing last year. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library ships about 1.2 million books around the world each month from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine approved a $5 million grant for the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library in July.

In a social media post, Adams County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ Superintendent Liz Lafferty said, “It is a very big day in Adams County! The Imagination Library is officially launched. Follow the link to the on-line registration of your child, grandchild, foster child, etc. Ages 0-5. You can also stop in to any of the Adams County Public Libraries and register.”

The Adams County Public Library, Leadership Adams, the Adams County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library all worked together on the project.  

According to Lafferty, the state government will pay for half of the cost of the books and shipping, and then local affiliates will raise money for the other half. So far, 54 of Ohio’s 88 counties have created a local partnership for the program.

Currently, there are over 700,000 children under the age of five in the state of Ohio, but less than 100,000 of those children are currently enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Parents can register their children online at https://ohioimaginationlibrary.com/enroll. According to the website, 59 children are already registered.

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