|July 10, 2014 -
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County is on a mission: every child under the age of five in Knox County will have a personal library of 60 high-quality, age-appropriate books in their home before they enter Kindergarten. Although the program currently mails books to nearly 18,000 children every month, they aren't satisfied. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Knox County is home to more than 24,000 children under five. That means approximately 6,000 children are not taking advantage of the free books program, which is administered by Knox County Public Library.
To reach more eligible families, Imagination Library has partnered with Knox County Development Corporation (KCDC) to set up eight bookshelves filled with donated books and registration brochures in KCDC Community Rooms across Knox County. The hope is these books will make it to the hands of the more than 1,000 children who frequent the community rooms across the county.
"Early childhood literacy is a leading indicator of a child's future academic success, and this new partnership will help the Imagination Library program serve even more young people in our community," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "I appreciate KCDC's willingness to partner with the Knox County Public Library and Imagination Library on this effort, and I look forward to its success."
"We currently mail about 18,000 books, which is 69% of the eligible population, each month to children in Knox County, at no cost to their families and regardless of income. But we know we are missing some of the children. We are trying to think outside the box from our normal registration partners, and decided to partner with Knoxville's Community Development Corporation to reach additional children," said Bonny Naugher, Imagination Library Advisory Board Chair.
KCDC's Chairman, David Hutchins, emphasized the great partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County and states there are over 1,000 children living in public housing under the age of 5 years old. He expressed his belief that their early start with these books will make a tremendous difference in their lives.
Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows "reading aloud with young children is one of them most effective ways to expose them to enriched language and encourage specific early literacy skills needed to promote school readiness."
"Imagination Library aims to provide families with the resources needed to give every child an equal chance at success in school and in life. The books chosen for the Imagination Library collection teach valuable life lessons, introduce award-winning literature to young children, promote early literacy skills, and most importantly, create a love of reading from an early age," said Holly Kizer, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County Coordinator.
For more information to become a registration partner with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County, contact Holly Kizer at 865-215-8784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County:
A program of the Knox County Public Library, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County mails one free, age-appropriate book each month to all registered Knox County children from birth to age 5. Currently, more than 1.5 million books have been sent to over 40,000 children since the program began in 2005, thanks to donations from generous Knox County citizens who believe in the potential of our young children. 69% of children under age 5 in Knox County are signed up for Imagination Library, helping prepare our youngest citizens for success in school.